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The gastronomy of a place, the dishes, the drinks that distinguish a spot, community or city, can be considered as an identity’s heritage.
From Toluca to the world: its culinary delights
“If you are from Toluca, you are a choricero”, the old Mexican adage would say, since if there is something to identify to those who live in such rich area, it isn’t only because of “El Nevado de Toluca” (a dormant volcano surrounded by forests) which attracts thousands of tourists every year, or because of its museum network or its famous soccer team but due to a typical dish that with other gastronomical and traditional elements which altogether give to the “Tolucos” a cultural identity.
And yes, it is about “chorizo”, a special sausage prepared and based on a local recipe from the 17th century. Chorizo is made of pork meat, dry chiles, tomatoes, green tomatoes and some other local herbs in a unique combination that allows the State of Mexico’s capital city to own a high quality product and a great inner consume, an exquisite sausage capable of competing with some of the best products in Europe such as the Spanish “morcilla” or the “kulen” from the Nordic countries.
But chorizo isn’t the only gastronomical product that enriches the local culture (there are 2 types of chorizo by the way, red and green, the last one has a unique recipe that keeps surprising to locals and foreigners as well due to its color and texture), since Toluca can value itself of having other culinary achievements such as the following ones: the “Huarache”, the “Mosquito”, and the “Alfeñique” a recipe for tipical candies with animal shapes which is eaten mostly by the end of Fall, in the context of the Mexican festivities of the “Día de Muertos” (Dead’s Day).
All of them have popular consumption and low price. Huaraches are toasted tortillas made of black and white corn and quite big. The recipe is more than 100 years old and its production came up from a neighborhood called “La Teresona” located at the bottom of a hill with the same name and which is part of the urban landscape of the city.
To the dry toast of tossed corn, a slight cover of boiled beans is added, previously flavored and pounded, followed by another cover which is kind of a salad made of nopales (an American cactus) and coriander, which is another traditional herb in the Mexican gastronomy. The dish is finally prepared after spreading cheese, onion slices, and a special sauce made of tomatoes and dry peppers.
The perfect combination for a Sunday walk or even a quite complete meal for workers and visitors of the downtown, where it is possible to find this product.
Among the typical drinks there is the Mosquito, an orange liquor produced by a local family and which has given an international recognition to the capital, since it is well known that “you can’t come to Toluca and not getting a Mosquito”.
For the historian Karen Jared Durán, Toluca, as any region of Mexico, has a local identity that get enriched with its own gastronomical richness.
“The gastronomy of a place, the dishes, the drinks that distinguish a spot, community or city, can be considered as an identity’s heritage. It is curious because normally it is more common to pay attention to traditions such as dances or some specific customs or habits of a place, but the truth is that the cuisine is also part of the form of identity for a social group, a town”, pointed out.
That’s why, if you visit Toluca and you want to touch and taste its spirit, its climate and festivities, you can’t leave without having a huarache or make a toast with a glass of mosquito.