We love our Tex-Mex here in Houston! But many of us gringos have no concept of authentic Mexican cuisine, although we occupy land once part of Estados Unidos Mexicanos. While a certain orange-hued cartoon character drums up votes with his “Build a Wall” platform, the good folks at Central Market invite customers to embrace with taste during ‘Pasaporte Mexico,’ April 20 through May 3 throughout its stores across Texas.
During the two-week event, visitors to the Houston store can enjoy a “taste-tempting excursion from the Sea of Cortes to the Yucatan Peninsula” via authentic Mexican dishes, produce, in-store sampling, cooking demonstrations, live music and mucho mas!
The festival kicks off at the Westheimer location on Wednesday, April 20th from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the store’s main entrance, featuring traditional dancers and small bites. The celebration will continue Thursday, April 21st from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Noche de Fiesta, a party-style event in front of the store with samplings of Mexican food, cooking demonstrations and live music. Throughout the two-weeks customers will be able to sample and purchase products including traditional pozole, Oaxacan-style mole, nopales salads, honey, chocolates, coffee, craft beers and wines from all regions of Mexico.
I sampled some of these delicacies during a media lunch last week, and can tell you that you are in for quite a treat! I was especially impressed with the cheeses, wines and the Pan con Nopal! In addition to tasty morsels to purchase, you can attend demonstrations and classes upstairs in the Cooking School. Just look at some of the events that will be offered:
CELEBRATE WITH ANTOJITOS
Wednesday, April 20th
(For Ages 21 & Up)
Feast on the incredible diversity and riot of flavors of the food from the interior of Mexico. Margarita Carrillo Arronte will show you how easy and delicious it can be to create a very special menu of Mexican appetizers paired with Mexican wines and beers.
It’s a fiesta and the menu includes:
Sikil Pak (Tomato & Pumpkin Seed Dip) with Tortilla Chips;
Platanitos Rellenos (Stuffed Plantain Croquettes);
Basic Gorditas (Crisp Masa Rounds);
Gorditas Guanajuatenses (with Chiles & Cheese in the Dough,
topped with Potato, Lettuce & Tomatoes); and
Tlacoyos de Frijol Negro (Thick, Oval Masa Cakes with Black Beans),
de Habas (with Fava Beans) & de Requeson (with Cheese).
Instructor: Margarita Carrillo Arronte, Chef; Restaurateur; Culinary Expert; Cookbook Author: “Mexico, The Cookbook,” the definite bible of Mexican home cooking, will be for sale on the night of class and the Chef will personalize copies after class.
Class Time: 4/20/2016 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Price $65 per person
EXPLORING FOODS OF MEXICO
Saturday, April 23rd
(For Ages 18 & Up)
Join Chef Arnaldo Richard’s, best known for his true Mexican dishes at his Houston restaurant Pico’s, as he explores seven regions of Mexican dishes. Come and witness a demonstration of these and other regions as you taste a bit of Mexico masterfully paired with beer & wine:
North region: Carne Guisada a la Nortena (Beef Tips & Bacon in a Tomato Chilpotle Sauce);
South region: Huachinango Tikin Xic (Achioted Marinated Gulf Red Snapper Filet Charbroiled over Banana Leaves);
Bajio: Tortitas de Huauzontle y Queso Panela (Huauzontle & Panela Cheese Patties);
South Pacific: Ceviche Vuelve a la Vida (Return to Life Ceviche – Seafood Medley Ceviche);
North Pacific: Chilorio Sinaloense (Sinaloa Style Roasted Pulled Pork);
Gulf region: Tamales Rancheros (Veracruz Style Banana Leaf-wrapped Tamales, filled with Portabellos & Cuitlacoche); and
Central region: Pollo en Mole Poblano (Puebla Style Stewed Chicken in a Savory Mole Sauce).
About the Instructor: Arnaldo Richards is a third-generation restaurateur. Raised in Monterrey, Mexico, Arnaldo began his culinary career working in his family’s restaurants. By his 14th birthday, he’d begun cooking in restaurant kitchens, learning his grandmother’s authentic Mexican recipes. Some of those same classic recipes, with their distinct flavors, sauces and spices, are still being applied to many of Arnaldo’s signature dishes at Picos.
Class Time: 04/23/2016 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Price: $70 per person
GIFTS OF MEXICO: Chiles to Chocolate
Friday, April 29th
(For Ages 18 & Up)
In this class that explores the exquisite culinary gifts of Mexico, you’ll perfect your techniques as you make these dishes that incorporate native ingredients from Mexico. Menu includes:
Agua de Chia (Limeade Cooler with Chia Seeds);
“Mexican Flag Salad” (Spring Greens, Tomatoes, Avocados & Jicama) with Bitter Orange Vinaigrette;
Mango Mole served over Chicken (Mexico’s signature sauce with Ancho & Guajillo Chiles, Spices & Chocolate);
Yucan-Style Sieved Black Beans;
Homemade Corn Tortillas; and
Aztec Lava Cakes served with Vanilla Ice Cream
About the Instructor: Elizabeth Escobedo is a culinary instructor, food writer, and dynamic speaker, who is passionate about bringing international flavors and techniques to the modern table. With a multicultural heritage and a degree in intercultural relations, Elizabeth uses her overseas living experience to explore different cultures and historical events in her fun-filled interactive cooking classes.
Class Time: 4/29/2016 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Price: $60 per person
Free Throughout the Store:
These are just a few of the classes available. Free demonstrations throughout the store will include Wine Tasting, Hot Chocolate Making, Cheese Tasting (<–YUM) and Traditional Salsa Making. On my birthday (April 30) Central Market is celebrating El día de los Niños commonly known as Dia!– A Mexican celebration recognizing children and paying homage to their importance in society. Activities will include tortilla making, paper flower making, and an all day scavenger hunt.
Central Market hosted the first-ever Passport event with Passport Argentina in May of 2010, followed by Spain in 2011, France in 2012, Brazil in 2013, Italy in 2014 and Greece in 2015. Passport is a two-week immersion in the cuisine, traditions, wine and culture of a select region or country, taking place at all Central Market stores across Texas. The celebration includes authentic products, native chefs, wine makers and culinary trend setters, teaching hands-on classes in the CM Cooking Schools, extensive sampling and events. For more information on Pasaporte Mexico, please visit www.centralmarket.com