The Curious Chilhuacle

The rare chile that gives the moles of Oaxaca their unique flavor is surprisingly mysterious given its long and venerable history. One thing most people don’t know about the chilhuacle is that it has been cultivated as a crop for more than six thousand years. The chile was already ancient about a thousand years ago […]

The Passion For The Pasilla De Oaxaca Chile

This spring’s trip to Oaxaca, particularly to the Mixe region, was one that had a lot of expectations riding on the ground work that I had laid prior to my arrival on the 12th of April. I had established an ongoing relationship with a young engineer, Julian, who was actually the owner (along with his […]

In Search Of The Elusive Oaxacan Pepper

We parked the Suburban on the side of the rutted dirt road and plunged into the dense Oaxacan jungle on foot. Down one trail we went, crossing others, trying to keep our guide, Macedonio, in view, looking back to see if we’ve lost rest of the group and trying to remember the way back in […]

Importing Chiles Starts With The Central De Abastos

Central de Abastos in Oaxaca City is quite possibly the most intimidating shopping arena in the world, especially for a tourist. Imagine every kind of consumer item (I mean every kind!) packed into three football fields in a grid of 50 columns by 50 rows, with a crowd resembling a U-2 concert swirling around you. […]

Finding The Rare Chilhuacle Chiles For Importation

As we pulled through the gate to Felix’s house I couldn’t help wondering what his wife was fixing us for dinner. After all, we had arrived in Cuicatlan barely 24 hours ago and only met Felix early this morning. Now, after spending eight hours with him in his fields, where he was growing the most […]

High Stakes Poker For Chilhuacles

Getting a level playing field in order to buy chilhuacle chiles is not easy when you fly thousands of miles and your adversary knows that your trip will be a waste of time if you don’t return with chiles. My relations with Felix had gone fairly well all winter, barring the occasional cat and mouse […]