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Backstreet Mexico City Box

$70.00

Mexico City’s size can be daunting, but it also happens to be one of its charms. Rather than a simply endless sprawl, the city is actually made up of what feels like many smaller cities and villages joined together to create an incredibly diverse metropolis – traveling through CDMX can be like taking a journey through Mexico itself. How, then, to put all that size and diversity into one box? The answer is simple: fill it with products from the people who are part of our Mexico City tours and trips and whose work tells the story of their hometown’s many layers.

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To get your day started off right, we visited our friend Erick Rodríguez from Cafecito Pa’l Alma in the center of Mexico City for a bag of flavorful coffee beans that come from small high-altitude farms in the state of Nayarit. Erick is best known for bottling unusual small-batch mezcals (unfortunately, customs regulations keep us from shipping those to you!), but lately he has also been turning his attention to coffee. In Milpa Alta, a village-like area on the southern edge of Mexico City famed for its mole, we stopped by the family-run Moles México for a pack of their namesake product. Made with more than a dozen ingredients, including different chiles, almond and dried fruits, this Almendrado mole is one of our favorites. Through Moles México’s Mayra Pérez we were able to also procure two more artisanal items deeply connected to Milpa Alta’s agricultural production: a package of alegrías, a kind of pre-Hispanic energy bar made out of the ancient super grain amaranth mixed with pumpkin seeds, raisins and nuts, as well as a bag of colorful heirloom beans that are rarely seen outside of area markets. Heading over to the other end of town, near the site of the 2000-year-old Teotihuacan pyramids, we popped into the store of the family-run Chocolatería Macondo to pick up some of their stellar handiwork: a cacao-rich bar for baking or nibbling on and a package of powdered chocolate to make hot or cold drinks. Heading back to the bustling Centro Histórico, we looked up Doña Helvia, owner of two beloved local Oaxacan markets/restaurants, to get a jar of Sal de Gusano, a salt and chili blend (with a dash of dried maguey worm powder) traditionally sprinkled on top of orange and carrot slices that accompany shots of mezcal, that came to the Doña’s shop straight from a producer in Oaxaca.

So that your at-home Mexico City experience can last a bit longer, we also gathered two non-perishable items for the box. The first is a handmade Lucha Libre mask, just like the outrageous ones worn by Mexico City’s professional wrestlers, that comes from a favorite vendor in the Artesanías de la Ciudadela crafts market. The second is an old-school Mexico City reusable shopping bag, the kind used by market-goers across the city. Made of mesh fabric that allows the fruits and vegetables to breathe, and imprinted with colorful Mexican lottery images, the bag is certain to bring a touch of Mexico City to your local supermarket.

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