[caption id="attachment_6827" align="aligncenter" width="960"] New library in Santa Catarina Minas. Photo by Graciela Angeles[/caption]
This is not a rhetorical question and in fact it remained at the forefront of my mind as I spoke with brands, mezcaleros, development people, and academics while I was in Oaxaca, and prompted so many more questions. Why is there such an intense focus on sustainability within the mezcal industry? Just what is it about mezcal that inspires such a hard core call for sustainability?
Without doubt this has been the most difficult piece I have tried to write, I can’t tell you how many times I have drafted this in my head only to completely delete it by the time I put my fingers to the key board. It requires a certain amount of personal disclosure I have never wanted to make.
[caption id="attachment_5616" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Mexican craft beers abound[/caption]
In sum, three things that are definitely on top of trend watch in Oaxaca and a fourth that is still trending-craft beer, pulque, cocktails, and bed and breakfast/airbnb/palenque stays. I am taking <overpriced> tasting menus off the trend list because sadly, it seems this trend is no longer a trend but a thing here to stay. Or as I like to say, consistently the most inconsistent meal option in Oaxaca.
[caption id="attachment_6532" align="aligncenter" width="768"] The Paranubes Rum[/caption]
What is itParanubes is a rum distilled from sugar cane juice in Oaxaca’s Sierra Mazateca region which is almost due north of the city of Oaxaca far off in the mountains. It is distilled by Jose Luis Carrera and imported by Vago. It hit the US market in June and is currently available in California, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and Texas. Internationally you can find it in Italy.
[caption id="attachment_6645" align="aligncenter" width="449"] The cueva collection at the Mezcalosfera palenque.[/caption] I get a lot of inquiries about how to visit palenques while in Oaxaca and I am quick to recommend different kinds of experiences depending on what people are looking for. We have a standing guide to tours and I am happy to add a new one to the list - Mezcouting from Andrea Hagan. She's got a great background in food sovereignty and in her years in Oaxaca has worked with the University of Vermont, Susan Trilling, and Mezcaloteca. She's crafted her tours, like the others we recommend, on the relationships she has developed in different communities thoughout her years here. You want hands on traditional cooking classes - with deep dives into milling and processing and masa making with your mezcal visits - this is your person.