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Posts Categorised: Christmas

Christmas in Mexico – some fun facts!

What with Christmas approaching, we look at some fun Christmas facts and traditions relating to Mexico:

In some states in Mexico children expect Santa Claus to come on December 24th. In the south of Mexico children expect presents on January 6th at Epiphany, which is known as ‘el Dia de los Reyes’.

On el Dia de los Reyes the presents are left by the Three Kings (or Magi). If you’ve had a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve, you might also get some candy on el Dia de los Reyes!

It’s traditional to eat a special cake called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ (Three Kings Cake) on Epiphany. A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Whoever has the baby Jesus in their piece of cake is the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus for that year.

Image from artimexbakery.com

Image from artimexbakery.com

Another important day, is Candelaria (also known as Candlemas) on the 2nd February and it marks the end of the Mexican Christmas celebrations. Lots of Mexicans have a party for Candelaria.

In Mexico, presents might also be brought by ‘El Niñito Dios’ (baby Jesus) & Santo Clós (Santa Claus)

In Mexico people speak Spanish (Español), so Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Feliz Navidad’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

Poinsettia flowers are known as ‘nochebuena’ (Christmas Eve) flowers in Mexico.

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The largest ever Angel Ornament was made in Mexico. It was made in January 2001 by Sergio Rodriguez in the town of Nuevo León. The angel was 18′ 3″” high and had wing span of 11′ 9″! Perhaps the most amazing thing about the angel was that it was completely made out of old beer bottles, 2946 of them!

 

Facts from WhyChristmas.com

Get the festive feeling with this Christmas Punch!

There’s nothing better than indulging in some great hot Christmas cocktails during December – after all, it’s the time of year when it’s acceptable to be tipsy for most of the day. And in Mexico, one must-drink tipple is Ponche Navideño Mexicano – also known as Mexican Christmas Punch. We’ve sought the expertise of Mely Martinez from Mexico In my Kitchen to get a recipe that is sure to get you into the festive spirit.


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“Christmas time in Mexico is a time to prepare the traditional Ponche Navideño/Christmas Punch. At family gatherings some will have a large pot simmering on top of the stove with the sweet liquid full of fruits, while the cinnamon and citric fruit aromas float in the air. The Ponche Navideño is another essential part of Christmas in Mexico. The recipe calls for some traditional ingredients like cinnamon,  tejocotes (a small yellow fruit that resembles crabapples), piloncillo (raw sugar cane), sugar cane sticks, seasonal fruits include guavas, apples, pears, oranges and dry fruits, too. The punch can be found with different added fruits depending of the region in Mexico. You can find punch with acid fruits like oranges, Mexican sweet lime or pineapple. And as far as spices go, besides cinnamon, some cooks will also add anise star and chamomile. This is the good part about this drink, that you can add the fruits you have available and it will still come out fine.”

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I hope you try this recipe, and your whole house will be filled with the Christmas flavors.

12 servings
INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 quarts of water (1 gallon)
  • 1 large piloncillo cone (12 oz) or brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lb Tejocotes*
  • 1 1/2 Lb. guavas (about 12 guavas)
  • 1 1/2 cup apples, chopped
  • 1 cup pear, chopped
  • 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 sugar cane sticks about 5 inch long, cut into four pieces each.
  • 1 cup of Tamarind pods, peeled (or 1 cup of Hibiscus Flowers)***
  • Rum to taste
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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place water in a large stockpot.

2. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon since they take longer to soften.
3. Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes then add them in this step.
4. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling some of the fruit in and adding rum to your liking.

¡Buen provecho!

 

To read more of Mely’s recipes, check out her blog here

Filed under: Christmas, cocktails, general

CHRISTMAS POSADA TRADITIONS IN MEXICO

YES – Christmas is most definitely here. The lights of Soho are twinkling, Brewer Street is soaked with the boozy scent of mulled wine, and we’re far enough from the chaos of Oxford Street to feel slightly smug that we’re not being trampled by gift-hungry shoppers.

However, while the entire of December seems like an excuse for Brits to binge-each mince pies, wear novelty jumpers and pop Prosecco at random opportunities, in Mexico it’s a little more structured.

This is because, over in this part of Latin America, Christmas is celebrated from December 16th to Christmas Eve.

During these nine days, children perform Posada processions. The word Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging, and there are nine different posadas, one for each day, and they celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Mary and Joseph are looking for somewhere to stay.

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On each night, a different house holds the Posada party. Until they reach this house, the children go on a procession throughout the neighbourhood, calling on friends and neighbours and singing to them – the song is basically Mary and Joseph asking for room at the inn. The houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns, while the children hold candles and a board, complete with painted clay figures of Joseph, and Mary riding on a donkey. At each house the procession is told there is no room, until finally they reach the correct house and are welcomed in! What follows is a good old knees up, with singing, food, games, fireworks and a piñata.

Christmas Eve is known as ‘Noche Buena’. At the very final Posada, shepherds and a manger are put on to the board. When the last Posada house has finally been reached, a baby Jesus is put into the manger. Families have a main Christmas meal and then go to Midnight Mass – this is known as ‘Misa de Gallo’ (Mass of the Rooster). Afterwards there are loads of fireworks to see in Christmas Day celebrations!

 

 

 

Ponche Navideño Mexican Christmas Punch

A very traditional part of Christmas for us is the mulled wine – there’s nothing like coming in from a frosty stroll, only to indulge in a tasty hot beverage. In Mexico, they prepare a drink called Ponche Navideño, also know as Christmas Punch.

Similarly to mulled wine, the sweet tipple contains cinnamon and citrus fruit. It also contains traditional ingredients of tejocotes (a small yellow fruit that resembles crabapples), piloncillo (raw sugar cane), sugar cane sticks, seasonal fruits include guavas, apples, pears, oranges and dry fruits, too. The punch might have different ingredients depending on the region in Mexico. You can find punch with acid fruits like oranges, Mexican sweet lime or pineapple. And as far as spices go, besides cinnamon, some cooks will also add anise star and chamomile.

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Here’s a recipe if you want to recreate the traditional Ponche Navideño yourself.

12 servings
INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 quarts of water (1 gallon)
  • 1 large piloncillo cone (12 oz) or brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lb Tejocotes*
  • 1 1/2 Lb. guavas (about 12 guavas)
  • 1 1/2 cup apples, chopped
  • 1 cup pear, chopped
  • 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 sugar cane sticks about 5 inch long, cut into four pieces each.
  • Rum to taste
  • * If you do not find all the ingredients like the tejocotes, you can still make this drink without them.
  • ** Other dried fruits can be used as a substitute.
  • 1. Place water in a large stockpot.
  • 2. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon since they take longer to soften.
  • 3. Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes then add them in this step.
  • 4. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling some of the fruit in and adding rum to your liking.

 

Hold the turkey – they do things a little differently in Mexico at Christmas!

Similarly to us, the Christmas period in Mexico involve lots of eating, drinking and partying. Well, tis the season to be merry and all that. But naturally the South American culture determines a different type of cuisine. Hold the turkey and the mulled wine, because in Mexico things are done a little differently…

Ensalada de Nochebuena

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This bright salad, traditionally containing lettuce and beetroot, looks the part with its pretty festive colours. It is served on Christmas Eve for the special dinner. Ingredients very depending on the chef, and it can contain a variety of funky additions such as apple, carrot, orange, pecans, pineapple and pomegranate seeds as a garnish.

Tamales

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Tamales are cornmeal dumplings, and are very popular with Mexicans at Christmas time. They may be served on Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner. They can be made with a variety of different fillings. One of the reasons they are a holiday food is because they take a long time to prepare and so need a leisurely occasion.

Bacalao

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This dried salt-fish is commonly seen throughout Mexico as Christmas approaches. It has become a traditional part of a traditional Mexican feast, and is commonly stewed with tomatoes, capers, olives, and potatoes to make a delicious dish called Bacalao a la Vizcaina.

Pozole

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This is a hearty, sweet and sour soup prepared with pork or chicken, then seasoned with chilli and garlic, with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, avocado, coriander, and lime wedges. It is a popular choice for Christmas dinner, as well as for Mexican Independence Day.

Ponche Navideño

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The Mexican answer to mulled wine – this is a hot fruit punch made with tejocotes – Mexican Hawthorn – which look a little like apples. Other fruits such as guava can be added, as well as warming cinnamon. If a shot of rum or brandy is added then it is know as ponche con piquet – with a little alcoholic sting!

Filed under: Christmas, Food, Mexico

Christmas at El Camion!

Christmas meals can sometimes be quite a dry affair… tough turkey, flavourless stuffing, overcooked veggies… Luckily, we don’t have to deal with any of that. This Christmas we have a tantalising, lip-smacking, Mexican-themed Christmas menu for party season revellers that will leave tastebuds tingling and stomachs overjoyed.

Starting at £18 for two courses, merry diners can choose from nachos or quesadillas to start and tacos, burritos or tostadas for a main course with a choice of our favourite fillings and toppings – Chicken Tinga, Pork Carnitas, Picadillo Beef, seasonal vegetables or mushroom and spinach. And then for dessert we have our delicious churros with chocolate sauce or a selection of ice-cream – or a seasonal pie for those feeling festive.

For those wanting to push the boat out (or the sleigh – ho ho ho!), we are offering three courses for £23 or three courses with a Tommy’s Margarita on arrival for £30. Don’t say we never treat you.

For Christmas in Mexico this year, with a bit of spice and a lot of fiesta spirit, enquire with our lovely team on 02077347711 or tweet us here – @elcamion_soho