Ted Travels Mezcal, tixinda, pericon, cochinilla: the colours in Oaxaca
When in Oaxaca do as Oaxacans do. Go down to the Benito Juarez Market to try the ultimate protein dish of “tostada of worms, grasshoppers and ants”, to wash it down you must try a mezcal with its orange slice and sal de guasano, salt with grounded maguey worm.
Travelling around the state of Oaxaca is such an experience to behold. The rich in pre-Colombian history of Zapotec and Mixtec cultures meet the traditional markets in the country side, small villages where your clients will see all the traditional dresses and customs all over the region, like the Sunday market of Tlacolula.
The small sleepy village of Teotitlan del Valle is famous for the Tepetes, handmade wool rugs coloured by natural means using fruits, minerals, clays, vegetables, flowers and insects, a tradition that is handed down by every generation over hundreds of years. From the tixinda, a large mollusc, they can get the purple colour; from the pericon flower they extract brilliant yellow. Indigo plants make the colour blue, and so on; but the most famous colour to come out of Mexico is the red. Considered the greatest treasure after gold and silver the Spanish plundered from the new world, the bright red colour is extracted from an insect know as cochineal, which is harvest from cactus paddles. Once it dries in the sun, the bodies are ground and mixed with water and ammonia turning into a blood red bath. Its quite fascinating!
Other villages in the state like San Bartolo Coyotepec produce the famous black pottery and not far away in the village of Sam Martin Tilcajete you can see the families working on these amazing Alebrijes. These wonderful creatures are part of the folk art, carved from copal trees, they are sculptured into fantastic animals and creatures like dragons and aliens.
A lot of these villages in the forested Sierra Norte mountain range run eco-tourism, in the canyons, full of waterfall trails and great look outs. All this and a lot more can be discovered and experienced just in this one state. Don’t forget the beach area for the best surf, the mountains, the ruins and the city of Oaxaca.
If you have clients with special interests like weaving, pottery, dances, foodies that want to learn to cook, chocolate and brew mescal, we can help you!