When I travel
, I like to do as many things like the locals do as I can manage. As part of the month I'm spending in Mexico, my partner Simon and I decided to take almost two weeks in San Miguel de Allende, a popular ex-pat town (it's about 10 percent American) that is 180 miles north of Mexico City and has hundreds of intact 17th- and 18th-century colonial buildings — it is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. While we are here, we are shopping at the local mercados and eating out only about as often as we do at home. So we were looking forward to stocking up our fridge and pantry at the Saturday organic farmers market: We weren't disappointed! (That's me below.)
Of course, the farmers market included all sorts of organic fruits and vegetables, all of them incredibly fresh and delicious: You can see some of that in the top image (including ripe and delicious papayas and mangoes, my favorites). But there was much, much more to check out.
The market also includes local artisans like Felipe Elias, who makes colorful (and simple) rugs and has great photographs of the loom he makes these rugs on, using wool from local sheep. We special-ordered a rug from him since he didn't have a size we liked; he told us it would take him two to three days to complete it. It's really awesome to meet the person who is making something you will use for years to come.
I was skeptical: mezcal and cacao? But I accepted the sample proffered by the vendor and was an immediate convert. Two of Latin America's best flavors, together! It is to be served very cold (but sans ice) and is a wonderfully chocolately after-dinner sipper. Also an ideal gift, as its unusual and a definite crowd-pleaser.
Traditional textiles, like this patchwork study in blue were on offer from other artisans. The tone-on-tone construction of this quilt was just gorgeous.
There is delicious ready-to-eat food at the market too; the empanada in the middle is packed with purslane; the one on the left (still wrapped) is pineapple! There were almost 15 different types of empanadas, and plenty of vegetarian options. Love the pretty non-disposable plates, too.
Liquors made from a variety of local plants, roots and flowers were on offer, as delicious additions to coffee, ice cream or just on their own.
There was plenty of pretty jewelry; this booth's was my favorite, using local materials and natural stones, like unfinished volcanic rock and 'imperfect' turquoise.
I stocked up at The Lavender Project'
s table; locally grown and created, this organization's mission is to make delicious-smelling products for the public and also provide high-quality jobs and community.
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