You will be met at your hotel by the guide between 8:30 and 9am and get ready to time-travel into the Tlacolula valley in a private, air conditioned vehicle. To learn about a food invented over two-thousand years ago we need to head back in time. Easy enough in Oaxaca were old ways are still current!
Our route is way off the beaten path and right into the heart of Oaxaca, First stop is about 45 minutes down the road at the quiet ruins of Yagul, not far from the caves where the oldest corn cobs on Earth were discovered.
Next, a country road takes us to a village with an old red-stone church. You’ll meet a family of traditional potters, all women, who learned from their mothers and grandmothers going back countless generations. Using techniques little changed in thousands of years they’ll show us how a comal is made, the essential clay griddle that sits over the fire and on which tortillas are cooked.
Then a drive through fields of agave to another village where you’ll visit a woman who hand-makes tlayudas for a living. Tlayudas are enormous, firm, corn tortillas unique to Oaxaca. And walk with her to the mill to make masa, the corn dough that we’ll then use for making our own tortillas over a hot comal. Harder than it looks, but flat or wrinkled, they’ll still be an excellent part of a home cooked meal with our village chef.
Nearby we’ll visit the home of a village cook and a traditional Zapotec corn farmer. She'll delight us with a fabulous meal and we'll learn from the family how they cultivate corn. We might even lend a hand, shucking, de-kernelling or contributing to the laughter. There will be time to chat and absorb this unique world, which clearly isn’t Kansas anymore!
When it’s all said and done you’ll have spent the day visiting, tasting and joyfully learning the way into the culture of Oaxaca and the heritage of Mexico, traveling beyond the standard tourist routes and, while learning about Mexico’s food of the soul, you’ll also meet the big-hearted, deeply-rooted people that are this country’s heart.