Blanca Navidad - The 10 best Mexican Foodie Gifts of 2010
It’s that time again and I just hauled out my favorite Christmas LP – the cool jazz queen June Christy’s This Time of Year. I’m not a shopper and I think it's gauche to order gifts online. Food related presents are the best kind (except for diamonds, some would say) so I’ve put together a list of my favorite reasonably pricedregalitos for your chowhound loved ones. All are under $40 US (some well under) And all are guaranteed to pass those capricious US or European customs agents.
1. Olive oil, jam and salsa from Mónica Patiño’s Delirio - Monterrey 116 (corner Av. Alvaro Obregón), Colonia Roma
Chef Patiño’s shop does marmalades and salsas that come in cute granny-like jars. For the serious chef, her fruity olive oil, from Baja California is a must and at 145 pesos a good buy.
3. Patrice’s wacky, campy aprons, covered with skulls, Fridas or Mexi-what-have-yous will bring a smile to mom’s lips. They're around $300 pesos and are on sale at the following venues:
Mumedi Café y Librería
Francisco Madero #74, 5510-8771
Tienda de Museo de Arte Popular
Independencia corner of Revillagigedo, 5510-2201
Centro Cultural de España
Guatemala 18, 5521-1926
Museo Franz Mayer, Av. Hidalgo
Caravanserai de Thé
Orizaba 101-A y Alvaro Obregon, Roma, tel. 5511 2877
Gabinete Libros y Arte
Alvaro Obregon 101-F, Roma, tel. 5511-8599
Tienda de museo de Arte Popular, Polanco
Emilio Castellar 22 y Temostocles
El Chiribitl: Bazaar Sabado-Plaza San Jacinto, Horacio Gavito & Rogelio, San Angel
4. Dried mushrooms from Mercado San Juan
Ernesto Pugibet & Delicias, Centro
Enter the market and immediatly turn left; towards the end of the front isle is the amazing mushroom stand. Porcini - about 100 pesos per 100 grams, girolles (here called duraznillos), chanterelles and morels all come dried and pre-packaged in 100g cellophane bags. They're a fraction of what they would be in, say, France, and guaranteed to blow the mind of any chef. They should go through OK at the airport, as they are dried...
6. Lead-free Cazuelas from Fonart
(http://www.fonart.gob.mx/, Av. Patriotismo No. 691, Mixoac, and Av. Juarez 89 at the foot of the Alameda). I have a huge selection of these that I've picked up over the years. They're great on the stove or in the oven and cook just as well as Le Cruiset at a fraction of the price. Finding them is hit-or-miss. Fonart is the national crafts store outlet, but it has seemingly been run by a flock of headless chickens and the once abundant and ubiquitous stores have dwindled to three. The large one down on Patriotismo is most likely to have a good selection of ceramics.
10. A Selection of Salsas from the super.... (too, too many locations, various prices from $20 to 45)
These cute bottles will make a picant-o-phile muy feliz and are a good last minute gift. If you're flying, just be sure to check the suitcase containing them unless you want to make the national news...
And last but not least, why not order a copy or two of my book, Good Food in Mexico City(Come Bien en el D.F. en español) - even armchair chowhounds enjoy it. Just click on the link above and to the right. Jim Johnston'sobra maestra, Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler (for which I did the photography) also makes a good companion piece for anyone coming to visit us.
A Note to my readers:
*** Gastronomes will enjoy the extraordinary Christmas food stalls set up outside Colonia Roma’s Mercado Medellín (Calle Campeche between Medellín and Monterrey). Every savory ‘antojito’, from tamales to tostadas to piping hot pozole is on offer from midday until around midnight.Through Christmas.
READER'S COMMENTS:Don Cuevas December 9, 2010
I liked many of these suggestions. And, thanks for the font change, and ¡Feliz Janucá!
Michael Parker December 9, 2010
Not since William Castle has there been such showmanship...better than Sophie Tucker at Grosinger's!
Dr. Giraffe December 9, 2010
Oh Santa, come to Paris! Having got many of those gift already from ye....I say that was a juicy blog!
Ma Luisa December 13, 2010
Nice idea for the season. However I'm not agree with the 3rd and 10th. The aprons looks so gringo fashion and not original Mexican. I could even add the traditional "mandil de do~ita" jus check it out the traditional outfit from the "marchantes" at the mercados (top picture of your left), THAT'S an apron!
For the 10th, you can found them here in USA in any regular mexican store or online. Not big deal.
I will make a brief research for Wood MOLINILLOS -for hot chocolate-, METATES or the typical vintage bag of any "carniceria, panaderia or a big wall calendar of cervezas mexicanas.:) Greeting from Chicago!
Budi Murjiyanto December 18, 2010
A Molcajete in indonesia called " ulegan sambel "lol
Nitip Link December 18, 2010
Nice article, nice list, nice review with nice blog.