Monday, September 13, 2010

Hungry in Cholula [1] (Puebla, PUE; Mexico): Bate, Bate El Tejate!

Bate Bate Tejate!
Bate, Bate El Tejate!

Our second day in Puebla was not going to be taken lightly in the least, our destination was Cholula. Again, the idea to come here was incepted by a particular art blogger of sorts. I was told I would like it and I took her word for it. Like our trip decision to Puebla, I went with an open mind, not having any idea what would be waiting for us when we arrived.

We stepped into a Combi, old Volkswagen bus’s whose vintage fate is revamped as a mini public bus with a daily fixed route. The drivers of these makeshift public vehicles drive with elegant gusto as they weave nonchalantly in and around the larger Camiones.

We were told to catch one that slated the opaque location placard bearing “Capu”, the name of the main bus terminal (Camionera) of the city. “Pero el que entra hasta dentro porque hay uno que te deja a una cuadra.” So there was one that dropped you off a block away apparently too?

A Camote-A Bus Snack
A Roaming Camote On The Bus: Cooked In Honey

Once inside Capu, we were oriented to the local terminal of bus’s--to the left of the bustling station--aside from the national terminals. We embarrassedly asked around and found our bus, not before almost departing on a wrong one though. The ride over was shorter than I though, about half hour. It didn’t hurt that my socialite of a dad had made friends with a vendor who sold honey’d goods in the style of San Pablo, Puebla.

The trip was now short and sweet thanks to sweet potatoes, figs and apricots all braised in wildflower honey, an acquired snack way past the point of cloying. My dad ate one whole without water, milk or anything just like that. This was his version of being a kid in a candy store.

Better Capilla View De Cholula, Puebla
Cholula: Que Chula!

The ambiance in Cholula was a more serene one than that of downtown Puebla’s. And word on the bus was that the annual feria was in town, meaning booths and vendors increase at least tenfold. And it was evident as I walked down the street and saw a girl whipping up a chocolaty, foamy storm. Her sign read “TEJATE”. Ultra score.

A Tejatera In Puebla
Girl Meet Foam: Boy Has Foam Mustache

I asked her just to be sure. I’ve never seen such a voluminous head of foam.

El Tejate Fresco
Tejate: The Frappuccino Of Pre-Hispanic Mexico

Tejate is Horchata’s cooky, cacao based cousin of the South. Getting its fame in Oaxaca, this is the pre-hispanic Mexican version of a Frappuccino. A base of toasted corn, cacao, sugar and the black pit of the Mamey custard fruit are all ground and made into a chocolate-milk like substance. There are other regional renditions of course, like the one I was about to imbibe had some toasted fava beans. Whatever the chosen solids are, it is ultimately whipped until a thick layer of foam forms.

Tejate’s foam is a product of natural fat separations of the cacao and toasted corn, this fluffy stuff is hard-peaked enough to satisfy even the most nitpicky of Venti consumers.

With my Tejate mustache in full sheen, I spotted some dark blue disks being griddled in the distance.

It was time for a typical lunch in Puebla, Blue Corn Quesadillas….


art a la mode said...

this is the Puebla I know!!!

Anna A. said...

This is so cool! I have never heard of Rejate. Oh bother, where can I find in Portland? Must book flights to la cuidad asap.