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Sunday, October 2, 2011
4th Annual Feria de Los Moles,Olvera St.,DTLA: Sunday, October 9th, 2011
A demo by the Pueblan contingency of the 4th Annual Feria de Los Moles on mole poblano soon grew tense on an overcast morning at what was supposed to be a casual backyard media-preview in Hawthorne, CA.
In the red corner, team Puebla stirred their prized mole poblano--considered the first mole of Mexico, and its greatest by chefs on both sides of the border--while talking about techniques and ingredients. The gentleman in the white corner representing Oaxaca couldn't let this continue without pointing out the differences in Oaxacan preparation, but definitely he was hinting at a Oaxacan supremacy. The red corner would have none of this, and shut him down by explaining why Oaxacan technique is flawed.
It's on:Mole a Mole!! Or, Puebla vs. Oaxaca this Sunday, October 9th, from 10AM-7PM at Olvera St.
Puebla and Oaxaca are home to the most famous of Mexico's moles, but moles are made in every state of Mexico. What all moles share in common is the use of chiles. Chiles vary from state to state, and from mole to mole. There are red, black, green, yellow, white; so many shades and styles of mole. Despite the coverage by American cookbook authors, and food television, there remains a mystery around this dish originating from pre-hispanic cookery; and Puebla and Oaxaca have been the only beneficiaries of this global interest.
Most moles aren't made with chocolate. The so called 7 moles of Oaxaca is a myth that seems to keep rearing its head. This bothered Oaxaca's Top Chef Alejandro Ruiz so much that this year he named Oaxaca's premier culinary festival, Saber del Sabor(to know the flavors):Beyond the Myth of the 7 Moles. The first lady of Mexican cuisine, Chef Patricia Quintana insists that mole not be referred to as a sauce--it's so much more.
Well, after the nerves had calmed a bit, we got to the task of enjoying some mole for breakfast. The mole poblano was looking sublime sitting there in the earthen pot. The mole has chocolate, a variety of dark chiles; in all over thirty ingredients go into this prized dish.
To enjoy mole, one must remember the dish is called mole because that's what it's all about. Their might not be anything more perfect than mole with rice. The dish is called mole poblano, not chicken with mole. Chicken and rice are just there for the assist.
Where mole poblano tends to carry a touch more heat,mole negro oaxaqueño,(black Oaxacan mole) is on the sweeter side.
The black Oaxacan mole is darker than mole poblano. This is the prize of the Oaxacan moles and also is packed with a variety of toasted components.
I have gone the past two years to this event. And the best way to learn about moles and their relatives, the pipianes(pumpkin seed based)is to taste,taste, taste!!
At the festival they serve full plates and lines get to be a bit long. My advice is to get there early and bring some friends to help you tackle all those moles.
Happy father and daughter enjoying the Feria de Los Moles 2010.
The Feria de Los Moles still is an insider's event, with a huge attendance from the local Mexican community. Us Mexicans tend to ignore the theme of food festivals and just go for something like this giant torta oaxaqueña pictured above. Tortas and clayudas will be flying out of the booths, but do not do as the locals here--it's about the mole.
Scenes from Feria de Los Moles, 2010
Olvera St. is always a pleasure to visit, especially when there is a special event. This year, it shall be a taste of Puebla and Oaxaca; let's hope they open this up to the moles from other states next year. Two of the best moles I've had this year were in a village in Michoacan, and from an L.A. based family from Guerrero, Mexico. Come out and sample away at one of Mexico's greatest gifts to world cuisine:mole.
4th Annual Feria de Los Moles
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Admission is free, bring cash to buy food and drink.
Live music and traditional dancing