The local way
Have you ever wanted to milk a cow and make your own cheese? Maybe you’ve been dying to learn how to make tamales or maybe catch some crayfish in the river? If so, then join us for a Day at the Ranch where you will get to sample and take part in several aspects of ranching life in a small Mexican village near La Huerta.
We begin our day early, as is the custom in the countryside the world over. We arrive to the Rio Purificación, where we meet local chacalero Reyes, who will teach us how he makes his own traps to catch the several species of freshwater shrimp, crayfish and langostinos from the mountain spring fed river that passes through the property he co-owns with his brother. He battles the strong currents and cold water to tend to his traps, in the hope that they catch this local delicacy that can sell for as much as $1,000 pesos per kg.
Departing from the river we head further into the countryside to visit Flor, who uses a recipe passed down through 3 generations to make some delicious baked goods. It takes 3 days to prepare and mix the ingredients, which culminate in being cooked in a large, handmade, wood-fired clay oven. Try or purchase bread rolls, conchas and empanadas (filled pastries) of caramel, pineapple, sweet potato, and more.
Our next stop is 15 minutes away along a dirt track to the village of Las Pilas, a small sleepy cattle-ranching community known throughout the region for having several pure mountain springs that pump water out year round. Here we arrive to a traditionally cooked Mexican breakfast, and get the chance to make our own handmade tortillas outside on a wood burning stove. We then we head to the corrals to milk the cows who have been brought down from the surrounding hills by Don Efrain. Using the milk collected, we will start the curdling process to make fresh cheese, which we will finish later on in the day.
We’ll have a quick lesson learning how to make a refreshingly simple drink before taking a walk around the village to see some of the natural springs which sustain the town, amongst over town landmarks.
Following this we will take part in a class learning how to make tamales with Doña Hidelia, as well as learning and making the crumbly queso fresco from the milk we earlier on collected.
Finishing our time in Las Pilas, we head to the municipal capital of La Huerta on our way back home, making a quick stop to try some of the rich and creamy ice cream that seems to taste so much better in cattle and dairy towns than anywhere else!