Aura E. Flo Food + Art Pairing
1. Guacamole chilapitas
We would like to start today’s menu with a Mexican classic: Guacamole, a preparation that has been around since pre-Hispanic times.
Anciently called “ahuacamolli”, which literally meant “avocado mole or sauce”, it was a popular dish amongst Mesoamerican civilizations. They took native ingredients such as avocado, tomato and chillies, placed them in a “molcajete” and that is when the magic began. As time passed, and Mexican cuisine adopted new elements into it, the guacamole recipe evolved, adding ingredients such as onion, garlic, lime, and salt.
Today, we present Aura’s signature guacamole in a traditional “chilapita”, a crispy corn basket, enjoy!
2. Requesón Tlacoyitos topped with guava sauce
Our selection of appetizers would not be complete without one of Mexico’s most beloved “antojitos”, tlacoyos.
With tlacoyos, we have another preparation born in pre-Hispanic times. Originally called “nacatlaoyo”, it was a thick oval-shaped tortilla filled with beans usually found in the Tenochtitlan markets.
Later in time, other fillings became popular, this was the case of the one we have made for you today, everyone’s favourite tlacoyo version, filled with “requesón”, a dairy product made from milk whey and seasoned with epazote.
The sauce we have selected for you is made with guava, whose best season for eating just began this month.
3. Blue corn quesadillas filled with squash blossom and cheese
Corn is by far our most important ingredient, there are 98 varieties of corn in the world, 60 from those are native to Mexico. Since the very beginning of our country, it has been the basis of our diets, which is why we want to present another “antojito” made with it, this time, using blue corn, a speciality from the central part of Mexico.
We have for you a quesadilla filled with cheese and squash blossom, or “flor de calabaza” as we call it in Mexico. This flower grows on zucchini and has been part of our diets since ancient times.
The next appetizer we have made for you today is typically a street food found all over the country, “elote en vaso”, “chascas”, or “esquites”, as we know them in Mexico City. The word comes again from the náhuatl language and means “to cook or to roast corn”.
According to the legend, it was a woman called Tlazocihuapilli who came up with the idea of “esquites” back in pre-Hispanic times. Esquites are generally made with these basic ingredients: corn kernels, epazote, salt, lime juice and chillies.
5. Shrimp cooked “a la diabla”
Our next dish is literally translated as “devil’s style cooked shrimp”. “A la diabla” is a type of sauce that gets its name due to both its red colour and its high level of spiciness.
Mexico is a country surrounded by coastline, which allows us to have fresh seafood and mix it with our characteristic spices, bringing delicious dishes such as “camarones a la diabla” to your table.
Painting "Cactus & Birds"
Dish "Watermelon Salad"
Our first pairing is all about how Mexico is and has always been happy to adopt new elements and ingredients from other places in the world.
In this painting we are able to see “Rosa Mexicano”, or “Mexican Pink” as the dominating colour, we find cactus as well, an icon of our landscapes, and as a contrast, we find crane flowers, not local to Mexico, yet beautifully placed to complete this artwork.
In terms of our dish, we face again another ingredient that came all the way from a far land. Watermelons are not native to the American continent; however, it is one of the most consumed fruits in Mexico.
Talking about contrast, we have yet another one saved for you, the warm tones present both in the “Cactus and Birds” painting and in the dish juxtapose to the cold temperature this salad is served at. Enjoy!
Painting "Bellas Artes"
Dish "White Mole with Seasonal Mushrooms"
White mole is without a doubt Aura’s signature dish. It is usually meant to be served at weddings, to represent the bride, as it matches her image and colour. Today however, the whiteness of our mole is not matching a dress, but a building known as well for its main material, white marble. We are talking about Bellas Artes (The Fine Arts Palace), the star of the next painting.
Bellas Artes and Mole are also related in other ways, as they are both involved when we talk about important events; they both represent patience, as one took 30 years in being constructed, and the other, involves over 20 ingredients and a few hours in the kitchen before it is ready to serve. Enjoy!
Painting "Noche Buena Skull"
Dish "Beef Steak, Meztli Sauce and Edible Flowers"
Our next pairing is a representation of Mexican traditions in the best possible ways, through both art, and food.
You will be able to try a beef steak, placed in the centre of the dish, just as a skull is found as the main star in the painting.
Talking about the painting, we are able to see a “calavera”, iconic image of “Día de Muertos”, yet its eyes, are made with “Noche Buenas”, a flower native to Mexico, widely used during the Holidays, this blend of two traditions gives us a unique final art piece.
You will find in your plate edible flowers representing those found in the skull’s eyes. Enjoy!
Dish "Tuna (prickly pear fruit) Sorbet with Tequila and Cacao Nibs"
With our next pairing, we want to highlight, through images and flavours, some iconic Mexican elements.
Firstly, our pre-Hispanic heritage, perfectly represented in this painting where Quetzalcoatl, main god for many ancestral civilizations, is put in the middle.
Secondly, by an ingredient that comes to top our tuna (prickly pear fruit) sorbet, cacao.
According to a legend, it was actually Quetzalcoatl who stole a cocoa tree from heaven and planted it in Tula (Toltec city). That is how we started to have cacao, and therefore, chocolate in our lives.
We then need to talk about the other two elements found in our dish, tunas, or prickly pear fruit, and tequila.
Tunas grow on top of cactus, and tequila comes from agave, therefore, without these two Mexican native plants, it would be impossible to have this dish put together for you today.
Mexico is known worldwide for its tequila, a drink that cannot be produced elsewhere due to its origin appellation.
In this particular bottle, we are able to see another element we immediately relate to Mexico, “calaveras” and the “Día de Muertos” festivity.
Another connection to the pre-Hispanic past we highlighted in the first painting since the idea of honouring death comes from those times.
Dish "Corn Breand and Café de Olla"
What a better way to close today’s menu than with another classic.
We have prepared for you our beloved corn bread, where again, we take Mexico’s most important ingredient and turn it into the star of the dish. To go with it, we have “café de olla”, a Mexican drink made with coffee and a unique mix of spices.
To finalize the artistic part of tonight’s experience, we have this last painting, a tricycle that can be spotted every morning around Mexico City. It is truly a life saver for many people since this particular type of street food stand precisely sells a fulfilling combo, sweet bread, and coffee.