Most people in the United States have no clue about how truly wonderful Mexican cooking and food are. Sure, there is plenty of love for tacos, burritos and guacamole and a few other Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes, but Mexican food is so much more than that. Not many people in the United States have eaten in Rick Bayless’ authentic and authoritative Mexican restaurants or a handful of other restaurants in the United States that provide authentic glimpses into the complex world of the Mexican kitchen or visited Mexico outside of canned tourist resort destinations. Mexico is similar to Italy in terms of its agricultural richness, traditional values and regional variations, but where it differs is in many of the actual ingredients used. Mexico has an incredible resource of ingredients both native, pre-Colombian and those brought by Europeans, Africans and Asians. Many ingredients are still exclusive to Mexico or if they are grown elsewhere, aren’t quite the same. The good news is that Mexicans are beginning to fully appreciate the culinary wealth they have and people outside of the country are starting to take notice in ways they never quite had before. The inaugural Mesamerica Congress held in Mexico City from July 24-28th proved to be a coming-out party to celebrate the wide world of Mexican cooking, both at home and abroad and both traditional and modern. There was plenty to celebrate! Enrique Olvera, the chef/owner of the critically acclaimed Pujol in Mexico City was the principle organizer, though he had plenty of help and eventually enough sponsorship to bring this project to fruition. The second edition begins today under the rumblings of the nearby Popocatepetl volcano with an incredible global cast. Alas, I could not be there this year. Below are slide shows of each of the four days of this wonderful event.
This doesn’t even include all the wonderful dining available as part of or surrounding the event, including meals at Pujol, MeroToro, Contramar, Paxia and Amaranta amongst others. You can follow the 2013 edition of Mesamerica LIVE on Animal Gourmet.