Attending a cooking class at Mesón Sacristía de la Compañia in Puebla, Mexico, was one of the highlights of my 2012 travel year. Chef Alonzo Hernández taught us how to prepare mole poblano, a classic Pueblan sauce rich with the flavors of chili, roasted tomatoes, and bitter chocolate. It’s not a simple process, and the ingredient list was long. One step even required lighting tortillas on fire.
There are several legends regarding how mole poblano originated. The most common takes place sometime in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was going to visit, the nuns at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla worried because they had nothing to prepare. They prayed and gathered what they did have: chili peppers, spices, nuts, day-old bread, and chocolate, combining them into a thick sauce, which they served over turkey pleasing the bishop.
After class, we sat down to a lunch served with the sauce we had just prepared. The layering of rich, spicy, bitter and sweet flavors took time to fully reveal themselves in each bite. Served with mescal and Mexican wine, our meal was one to remember.
To learn more about the preparation of mole poblano, read my post Mole Poblano: A Rich Tapestry of Mexican Flavors on The Travel Bite.
My trip to Puebla was sponsored by the Mexico Board of Tourism, but my opinions are my own (as always )