November 2nd marks the Mexican holiday, El Dia de los Muertos! Celebrate by picking up Mexican candies, decorations, and ingredients for Mexican themed meals–we’re thinking mole paired with Spanish wine. Stop by Paris-Madrid Grocery this weekend and stock up for your festivities!
El Dia de los Muertos on November 2nd is an important religious holiday in Mexico. Also called All Souls Day, it is an occasion marked by festive celebrations to honor the dead. Cemeteries are cleaned and decorated, special food and candies cooked, and home altars are designed in homage to one’s ancestors. It is a day of joyous remembrance, not of sadness. The special songs, poems, and toys created for El Dia de los Muertos reflect this outlook.
The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, and as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.
Petit Pont l’Evêque $14.49 each
This creamy, washed-rind cheese was created by Cistercian monks during the 12th century in Normandy. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, the golden-hued cheese has a supple, ivory-colored interior, and goes through a careful ripening process that lasts between 13 days and six weeks. An elegant cheese with aromas of hazelnut, Pont l’Eveque is buttery and savory in flavor, with tangy, fruity undercurrents and a long finish. Choose one of these petit orange squares to make an autumnal statement on your next cheese plate! Pair with country bread, dried fruit, and Cider or Viognier.
Juquilita Mole Oaxaqueño
Mole Negro and Mole Rojo $10.99 each
Mole is a very thick sauce used in Mexican cuisine in which many ingredients are ground and then mixed together, just as Lila Downs sings in her famous song, La Cumbia de Mole, “…you grind the peanuts, you grind some bread; dried almonds are also ground, as is the salt; chocolate, cinnamon are ground; pepper and cloves are also ground.”
There are many styles of Mole ranging from sweet to hot, and also the color ranges through the red spectrum. It’s usually cooked with pork or poultry. Some of the best-known moles come from the town of Oaxaca, and Juquilita is a small producer of top-quality traditional Moles that are unique to Oaxaca. This traditional, ancient recipe of roasted cacao beans, Mulato chiles, cloves, and special spices brings the true flavors of Mexico to your kitchen!
Simply simmer the mole paste with enough stock to reach your desired consistency, about 1/2 cup mole paste to 2 cups stock. Pour over chicken and pork or use as a sauce for mole enchiladas!
Pazo Señorans Albariño Rias Baixas 2015 $17.99
Pazo de Senorans is considered one of the handful of top estates in Rias-Baixas and has consistently produced some of the best Albarinos that money can buy. Their old-vine cuvées are especially good. This is a less-expensive cuvée that is 100% Albarino, aged four months in stainless-steel tanks. This crisp, elegant 2015 Albarino offers up notes of apricot, honeysuckle and a touch of peach. The flavor profile then moves toward tropical fruits like mango but never loses that wonderful floral intensity. It’s medium-bodied and shows beautiful purity, crisp acids and a zesty, very fresh, lively finish with a hint of minerality. Drink over the next 1-2 years.
Casa Castillo Las Gravas Jumilla 2011 $30
“It’s interesting to see the 2011 and 2012 vintages of Las Gravas together as this 2011 starts with reductive aromas (energetic decanting is not out of the place) and also closed, with lactic notes and ripe fruit. With a very dark, concentrated and ripe full-bodied palate, it is serious and large, offering lots of everything but in balanced proportion. It’s a good interpretation of the vintage that manages not to come across as heavy, long or compact with stuffing. It has the harmony to evolve gracefully.”
92 Points, Wine Advocate
Bodegas Breca ‘Breca’ Garnacha Calatayud 2014 $15.99
“For a tad more money, the 2014 Breca, which is 100% bush-vine Grenache planted 1900-1940, is another take on this fabulous grape that flourishes in many areas of Spain as well as Southern France. This wine spent 18 months sur lie in 500- to 600-liter French demi-muids. A deep ruby/plum color offers up notes of jammy strawberries, black cherries, raspberries, licorice, underbrush, and lavender. It is deep, ripe, medium to full-bodied, heady (must be 14.5-15% natural alcohol) with a long, juicy finish. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.”
90 Points, Wine Advocate