During the first week of April, Mexico Cooks! traveled with a group of friends to Michoacán's Zona Lacustre (Lake Zone). Our trip had three purposes: to taste every regional food specialty we could find to eat, to attend an enormous annual Michoacán-only artisans' fair, and to enjoy one another's company to the fullest. The trip was a huge success on all three counts.
Come to the artisans' fair opening day parade with Mexico Cooks!
Parade of Artisans, 2007. Most of the many Purhépecha (the indigenous group of Michoacán) villages in the Zona Lacustre specialize in a particular form of artesanía (arts and crafts). The annual Feria de Artesanía opens as representative artesanos (artisans) from each village parade through the fair site. Each town delegate proudly bears a placard emblazoned with the town name. All along the parade route, some of the artisans carry stellar examples of their work.
Young Purhépecha women festooned with beads, lace, velvet, and ribbons. The baskets they carry are filled with confetti, ready to be tossed at the spectators. The young woman in red stopped directly in front of me, grinned, and showered me with color from head to toe.
Purépecha women in Michoacán's Zona Lacustre ordinarily use a region-specific blue and black striped rebozo (shawl). Legend has it that this traditional style rebozo became popular in Colonial times: the black stripe symbolizes Spanish hair, the blue stripe symbolizes the Spanish eye. In daily life, the rebozo is utilitarian. Mothers use it to carry their babies slung on their backs, to carry wood for the kitchen stove and other burdens, and for simple warmth. Folded and placed on the head, the rebozo protects from the sun and balances pots and jars.
Beauty, tradition, and personal pride hallmark the Feria de Artesanía. One of Mexico Cooks! dearest friends says, "Cada que veo tus fotos siempre me dan la cara de volver." 'Every time I see your pictures, it always make me want to come back.'
In just a few days, we'll show you some of the incredible meals Mexico Cooks! ate along the way. We'd like to invent a scratch-and-sniff computer monitor to give you all but the taste of regional cooking. We're sure the photos will make your mouth water.
If you'd like to travel to the 2008 Feria de Artesanía in Michoacán, contact Mexico Cooks! and we'll start now to make your plans for adventure.