The Palette of San Cristobal De Las Casas

As our #CulinaryTrip takes us across Mexico, we have joined forces with Roady Magazine to bring you an insight into a real road trip across the mother land. On the first of this series, we take you to Chiapas…

Famed as the cultural capital of Chiapas region in Mexico, San Cristobal de las Casas deserves every praise expressed through the lips of locals. Red tile roofs, cobblestone streets and iron balconies covered in flowers makes this city a must-visit destination for tourists seeking to discover an outstanding Mexican heritage. Cantered around stunning displays of flower-based art and local food stalls this city attracts thousands of tourists every month with its vast spectrum of colours and smells.

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The whole city seems to be striving and filled with activities to dive in. During the weekend different groups of masked entertainers stroll through the streets singing and dancing and the majority of the bustle can be found near the Central Park, where entertainment does not stop until late in the evening. Local people blend with vacationers as they fill the stools of small market eateries and enjoy the delicacies of the Mexican legacy. The food in the Chiapas region is based on vast amounts of chicken and pork prepared with local seasonings. The tendency of using small amounts of chilli peppers, as opposed to the other regions around, can be easily distinguished. Regional specialties include Tasajo (thinly sliced beef marinated in an achiote chilli sauce), chicken with mole (sauce prepared with chilli peppers, spices and chocolate) and pork with pipian (pumpkin seed sauce). Most of the market dishes are served with a side of radish, onion, coriander and lime to give you the choice of making every bite slightly more unique. Prices vary from stall to stall so enquire before you order and enjoy trying different styles of regional dishes served by the local people of San Cristobal.

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After a vast dinner the buzz moves to the textile and local souvenir stands where you can find anything from a colourful scarf to organic healing potions and if you want to learn more about the history of San Cristobal de las Casas, the stall keepers can tell you endless stories on any subject you are interested in regarding the region and its mythical legends.

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The ex-capital of Chiapas has been labelled as the treasure of Mexico and there are no better words to describe it. For those who admire Spaniard Colonial design, great ancient tales of the heritage of Central America complimented by amazing food, San Cristobal is the place to be. To read more click here.

#WahacaMusic July goes to Kentish Town

Our newest Wahaca, as we write…in Kentish Town, has a strong and rock music legacy, and not just for being in Camden, but also because it was right here where legendary punk and rock t-shirts were printed by Fifth Column:

 

 

This month, we’ve been inspired by Kentish and have injected plenty of Latin rock to our playlist. From quirky covers of Ian Dury and the Blockheads by Argentinean funk all-stars Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Blondie’s Hanging on the Telephone by Puerto Rico’s Davila 666 and Cheap Trick’s I want you to want me by no less than Gael Garcia Bernal taken from the Rudo y Cursi film, this playlist is set to give you the perfect intro into Latin rock inspired by so many British Bands.

 

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Gael Garvia Bernal playing Tato Bermudez on Rudo y Cursi

 

Don’t forget we are throwing the biggest Day of the Dead Festival the UK has ever seen with the most incredible music from both Mexico and the UK, to find out more click here.

Want to find out more? check your Wahaca app when you pop in to discover what’s playing and suggest a track on twitter with the hashtag #wahacamusic

 

Wahaca’s top picks for July

As we start the month with the most wonderful Mexican hot-wave… here are some of the best Mexican events happening across the UK and Mexico not to be missed this month.

 

1- Lucha Future at the Royal Albert Hall. July 11th.

For the first time ever at the Royal Albert Hall and for one night only, the mythical, dangerous, acrobatic and heroic world of Mexico’s masked wrestlers. Sixteen of Mexico’s finest, lead by the legendary Blue Demon Jr join battle under the Hall’s mighty dome soundtracked by Mexico’s electronic pioneers Bostich & Fussible (Nortec)

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2- Mass Guerilla Chilli Growing. All Wahacas, 8th of July.

The chillii growing season is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to grow your own serrano chillies and win great prizes. Just pick up a chilli plant from any of our restaurants on Wednesday 8th of July and become a #GuerillaChilliGrower

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3- Mole and Cactus Festival, Mexico City. July 1-5th.

Join Mexico’s restauranteurs and producers as they come together for the very first mole, a traditional sauce made from a variety of ingredients, and cactus festival the city has seen.

A variety of moles and cactus from across the country will be on show. They are set to break the World Guinness Record for the longest “enmolada”, something like a giant mole taco.

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4- The majestic Ballet Folklorico de Mexico visits the Coliseum, 22-25th of July.

Mexico’s national dance company return to London for the first time in more than twenty years for five performances only. Forty dancers and sixteen musicians present this captivating spectacle of live music and dance drawing on Mexico’s rich and varied history. The Ballet Folklórico de México has travelled to more than 60 countries and has been praised universally by the critics and audiences of millions.

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5- Catch the UK’s festival that celebrates Street Art, Upfest. Bristol, 25-27 July.

Europe’s largest, free, street art & graffiti festival, attracting over 250 artists painting 28 venues throughout Bedminster & Southville. Talented artists travel from 25 countries and across the UK to paint live on 30,000sqft of surfaces in front of 25,000 visitors.

To celebrate our arrival in Bristol City, Wahaca will be hosting an interactive wall where you’ll be able to join the fun and stencil your very own mark at the festival.

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Will Barras working on our Bristol restaurant mural.

 

And just to make your summer even more fun, don’t forget every Friday we are giving away tickets and Wahaca goodies as part of our #MexicanSummer giveaway.

 

Waterloo Food Festival is here…

Every year, Waterloo comes together for a celebration of local food, drink and businesses which make Waterloo such a vibrant area to live and work in.

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This year, Wahaca Waterloo will be taking part in the Emma Cons Food Fair on the 2nd of July, the Sustainabiluty Challenge on the 9th and very excited to announce we will be hosting some very special masterclasses at Wahaca Waterloo.

Tequila Masterclass: 7th of July 7pm £25
Join Wahaca’s tequila expert Matthias Lataille as he takes you on a journey of exploration of a drink you  may be surprised of. A selection of Olmeca tequilas, sangrita and a special surprise will make you love this delicious spirit.

Mezcal Masterclass: 21st of July 7pm £25
Passionate Mezcal expert Jon Anders will talk to you about the origins of this ancient drink, and explain what makes it different to tequila. A slection of mezcales will be served as well as a treasure from Jon’s selection  Del Maguey Crema, Alipus San Andres and Del Maguey Minero,

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Places are limited and can be booked emailing waterloo@wahaca.co.uk

Win tickets to Lucha Future at the Royal Albert Hall

Our #MexicanSummer giveaway commences with your chance to not only attend the long awaited Lucha Future show, but also an opportunity to meet and greet the wrestlers.

For the first time ever at the Royal Albert Hall and for one night only, the mythical, dangerous, acrobatic and heroic world of Mexico’s masked wrestlers. Sixteen of Mexico’s finest, lead by the legendary Blue Demon Jr join battle under the Hall’s mighty dome.

Featuring the funkiest live music from Tijuana’s Bostich & Fussible (Nortec Collective). An exhilarating, foot-stamping, air-punching journey to the centre of a life-affirming struggle where rudos fight tecnicos and where good does not always triumph over evil.

To win two ringside tickets with meet & greet included, just share with us on twitter or instagram tagging @wahaca a snap of your ideal #MexicanSummer and we will pick a winner by Thursday the 2nd of July.

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Periodistas de a Pie, helping Mexican writers find a voice

This article is an excerpt from the latest edition of Ola London. View the full issue here.

As some Mexican journalists face the spotlight for informing the nation of difficult issues,  the network Periodistas de a Pie, was formed in 2006 to train Mexican journalists how to present violence news stories safely. For the past two years they’ve have also been dedicated to assist journalists in dangerous parts of the country and to facilitate meetings between them to create their own auto-protection networks and solidarity circles, as well as to defend themselves against aggression and censorship.

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Their work, being different to what other established organisations and charities do, has been instead of relocating journalists facing danger from their towns, to help them stay in their towns and cities to keep doing their job, but creating a close knit network where they can look after one another and work on strategies to work safely and most importantly carry on doing their job.

We know how important the right of freedom of expression is for a developing country like Mexico is, so we are donating the profits from our Day of the Dead Festival to Periodistas de a Pie to continue their work across Mexico.

To find out more about Periodistas de a Pie click here and to register to be the first to hear about our Day of the Dead Festival celebrating modern Mexico and Great Britain through music, the arts and of course cuisine, register here.

Culinary Trip next stop: Baja California

This June we hosted one of Mexico’s most talented young chefs: Diego Hernandez from Corazon de Tierra in Baja California, at our Covent Garden restaurant for a super-special supper club. Bringing northern modern Mexican cuisine to the heart of London.

If you missed this unforgettable evening, we have good news for you, you can join us and enjoy the Baja specials for the next 8 weeks at Wahaca Covent Garden.

Our Baja California menu has been created and inspired by cooking with Diego Hernandez and Tommi’s recent visit to Ensenada, where the cuisine is shaped by it’s huge coastline and warm climate.

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From Octoups Tostada with peanut chilli oil, Clam, mussels and prawn arroz rojo to MSC smoked herring pescadilla to Roasted vegetable hibiscus & Peanut dressing and for pudding a Lime posset with shortbread. This new specials menu is sure to blow your mind and transport you to the beautiful coastal towns of foodie Baja.

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Diego Hernandez supper club at Wahaca Covent Garden

Last week, we were incredibly lucky to welcome another of Mexico’s most talented chefs to our Covent Garden kitchen as our #CulinaryTrip tour of Mexico’s regions hit Baja California.

If you weren’t able to make it along to our supper club, then there’s good news – We’re serving a menu of very special dishes inspired by the night and the regions cooking in our Covent Garden for the next 8 weeks, so you’ll still have a chance to grab a bite of Baja.

Wednesday night’s supper club, powered by those amazing curators of foodie adventures, Grub Club, saw Diego Hernadez, head chef of Corazon de Tierra restaurant in Ensenada, taking charge of the grills and his food was certainly worth the trip.

Diego hanging with the boss
Diego hanging with the boss

Diego’s cooking has seen him pick up multiple awards including being listed in San Peligrino’s 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America for the past 2 years, and with good reason. Starting diners off with a salad of vegetables foraged in North London, with an avocado leaf vinaigrette, before plating up sustainably caught British mackerel in a light tomato sauce with sorrel and lemon set the bar high.

Tamal Colado with Wood Pigeon and Mole Amarillo
Tamal Colado with Wood Pigeon and Mole Amarillo

Tamales are traditionally a light corn dough, hiding a delicious filling and Diego’s was most probably the finest we’ve ever tried, which is saying something, because tamales are something we’ve had no shortage of over the years! Using lightly spiced wood pigeon breast and a yellow mole sauce with sour cream and charred herb ash saw a few jaws hitting the floor.

Venison in ash with Caldillo de carne
Venison in ash with Caldillo de carne

A beautifully seared venison loin in a typical Baja style stock, followed by one of Corazon de Tierra’s signature deserts, a truffle spiked cream with spinach chlorophyll, radish, caramel panna cotta and balsamic finished the meal with just as much panache as it had started.

With a local craft ale scene on a par with beer making’s global hotspots, Baja isn’t just about the food, so in honour of this we asked our head bar man, Chris to come up with a suitably sip-able drop and his Lupulo and Elderflower beer cocktail, made with our own Brixton Brewery brew, Lupulo, and a Calle 23’s blanco tequila went down so well that it might just become a regular feature on our cocktail list soon.

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Our Culinary Trip is all about showcasing the amazing variety of Mexico’s cuisine and we hope Diego’s meal followed supper clubs with Alejandro Ruiz and Roberto Solis in doing just that. Bringing the best examples of what Mexico has to offer to Covent Garden where our adventures first began.

Over the next few months, we’ll be taking the #CulinaryTrip to Mexico City before a truly unmissable opportunity to taste the culinary stylings of the one and only Enrique Olvera, as he brings the food that’s made his restaurant, Pujol the 16th best in the world, to our Day of the Dead festival on November 7th. If you’d like to join us for Enrique’s supper club, you can pre-register your details to be first to hear about our Day of the Dead festival here: www.wahaca.co.uk/dotd15

Join Tommi at the the Fork to Fork Food Festival

Bringing together some of London’s most talented and creative chefs, restaurateurs and producers, the Fork to Fork Festival will be a day of feasting and festivity in a relaxed, family friendly environment in the heart of West London this Saturday.

A World Fete celebrating the 35 nationalities at the ARK Franklin Primary School with games and activities, a Stage showcasing local music talent, a Bar serving craft beers and of course a Pic-nic garden to feast on the most delicious food from the likes of Caravan, Gail’s, Ottolenghi, Polpo and our Wahaca Street Van, serving delicious tacos, as well as Chef demos including our very own Thomasina Miers.

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The Fork To Fork Food Festival has been set up to raise money for the Open Air Classroom project, which will pilot at ARK Franklin Primary School. The project aims to create a truly inspirational external environment for the children of ARK Franklin and the local community. To read more about this project click here.

Saturday 13th of June, 12pm to 6pm at ARK Franklin Primary Academy, Tickets are just £5 in advance and can be purchased here.

#WahacaMusic top tunes for June

Festival season is here and with it, that summer sunshine we have all longed for. To enhance your summer music enjoyment, this month’s playlist is all about summer tropical vibes.

First up comes the ever talented Mexican institution that is Julieta Venegas with the first single of the long awaited album coming out shortly. Then a Wahaca earworm from Gecko Turner who has just visited Mexico and whose new album is already one of our faves for 2015.

One of our favourite bands, Bomba Estereo with their electro-cumbia brings us their new single Somos Dos, the ultimate summer tune, along with Vinila Von Bismark and their flamenco-electro-swing, ever though there was such a thing? You heard it here first.

 

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Click here to listen to our Spotify playlist with more new tunes from Peruvian sensations Kanaku y el Tigre, Venezuela power trio Los Crema Paraiso and Mexico’s mellow pop Caloncho.

Want to find out more? check your Wahaca app when you pop in to discover what’s playing and suggest a track on twitter with the hashtag #WahacaMusic