September 25, 2019. It's 10 am, I prepare my warm clothes in the back seats of the car, a sweater, a hat and some heaters for a trip to the Salinas de Zapotitlán, Puebla. I am tremendously excited, a couple of years ago I read in one of my favorite gastronomy magazines about this place, it seemed magical, I had something that attracted my mind, in this month, I found an article on the subject again and agreed that I would make a 7-stroke menu for the day of the dead, where LA SAL played an extremely important role.
Without much thought, I decided to embark on the journey, I researched the place; attractive, weather, (there is not much data) so without more information and with the GPS in function we started the car, 4 hrs were left to reach our destination, I turned on the radio, I lowered the glass of my window, I took off my shoes and now Yes, to enjoy the road.
It is beautiful to leave for the east of Morelos; Green mountains, amaranth fields and the hill in the shape of a gorilla's head.
It is beautiful to leave for the east of Morelos; green mountains, amaranth fields and the hill with the shape of a gorilla's head, moving clouds, icy air and a road (already in poblano lands) that seemed infinite. ZAPOTITLÁN SALINAS, said a metallic blue ad, an ecstasy invaded my skin, I already wanted to know the place, get off and touch the salt. We still traveled a few curves and climbs, the landscape changed from trees and bushes to hills full of cacti, some large and skinny, others small and round, one after another, and curves and more curves.
1:50 pm Finally we arrive at the town, how beautiful it is, adobe houses, all of different colors and with wooden doors. In the Municipal Palace, we met a lady who is selling pulque in her house, we asked her where we could buy Sal and she kindly led us to La Casa De La Sal.
After several knocks at the door, we did not get them to open us, so neither pulque nor salt, time ate us, we stayed salivating, but neither way, duty and hunger called us, Doña Mayahuel recommended us a restaurant where they serve regional food, we did not make the request and in less than 5 min we were already seeing the letter; worms, bedbugs, flowers, handmade tortillas, everything looked like a delicacy: Tetechas, Cocopaches, Cacallas and Saleita. Everything was unknown to us, we asked a little (maybe quite a bit) of the above, and already with the evil of pig approaching, we asked if it was possible to enter the Salinas, they told us to visit the Botanical Garden and that they would send us there guide who could take us through the grounds, we drove to the park, took a few pictures and went to Las Salinas Las Chiquitas.
... everything looked like a delicacy: Tetechas, Cocopaches, Cacallas and Saleita. Everything was unknown to us.
3:30 pm. We passed the entrance and we didn't see anyone, suddenly, through the rear-view mirror, a beige spot began to shake, he signaled us to drive to him, it was Juan Diego, our guide, we introduced ourselves and it turned out that he works with Slow Food ( Click here to know all about this international project ) and that thanks to that collaboration they got El Baluarte, which makes them value their product and its elaboration more, supporting their production and showing them the great quality they have, teaching us that we must pay a fair price for such tremendous elaboration and that the traditional and organic process elevates the final product.
The image in front of him was surprising, pastel, pink, green, blue and copper-colored pictures.
The image in front of me was surprising, pastel, pink, green, blue and copper-colored pictures, the difference in color is due to the types of minerals that each well has, with which each of them is filled paintings, I must presume that my favorite was pink.
Juan Diego gave us a demonstration of one of them, we approached and broke the glass that formed, the texture was wonderful, it melted in our hands, the taste of the sea was very predominant, he told us that in that area there was sea, that That is why there was so much salinity and over time the hills formed, leaving only the springs which now feed the salt pans. On the other hand, he also told us the ancestral techniques with which the salt was obtained, boiled the water in clay pots over very high heat, until the water was consumed and ended up breaking the pots, leaving the salt exposed (still they see the remains of the clay pots thrown in some areas of the land), their ancestors perfected the way to extract the salt, which is done through condensation. Over the years they have been improving, now the tables are filled with hoses from the well to the lowest part of the salt flats, before, remember, your dad toured the land with buckets and filled the boxes one by one, causing them a bump in the cervical
He told us that there was sea in that area.
He told us that when he was a child, his father took him from an early age to see how they did this arduous work, sometimes he helped and at other times he walked and played, already tired of walking around, asking his dad “are we going dad ? ”, Without paying much attention, he only answered“ until the cricket sings ”, desperately paid attention to listen to the song, the time came and he repeated“ now we are leaving, Dad? ”And he only got the answer“ no, until may the cricket sing, ”Juan Diego's memories made me laugh and imagine the picture, now he is in charge of the Salinas, he makes the salt with pride and travels through Italy and Germany to expose and show off the process with his chest of salt
5:30 pm. We said goodbye to Juan Diego, we shared cards and we were both very grateful to hear and be heard. It is time to return, a long trip awaits us, we get in the car, we go once more around the curves, now in a dive, the hills with the cacti, which say there are 2 of them for each square meter, we look for some water supplier that we Help quench our thirst, after trying so much salt.
A stand of ice lollies winked at us, "Flavors of the Desert" announced.
As they say: we were looking for copper and we found gold; A stand of ice lollies winked at us, "Flavors of the Desert" announced, pitaya, garambullo, xoconostle, xiotilla, a palette each and now let's see what pa'luego is late, 4 hours back, the road says goodbye with a heavy rain, a large gray cloud above us, a cold air, a sunset, an endless road and a beautiful rainbow.
Ana Karina Rodríguez | Executive chef
LAS CASAS B + B Hotel | HOUSE RESTAURANT