Tejate Oaxaca – The drink of the Gods
Tejate is a remarkably strange looking yet tasty cold beverage that used to be drunk by the pre-Hispanic royalty and used in religious ceremony and is also known as the ‘Drink of the Gods’. Tejate is famously from San Andres Huayapam located 10 minutes drive from Oaxaca, and it is here that the ‘Feria del Tajate’ takes place every year at the end of March and the beginning of April. More information about the exact schedule for the ‘Feria del Tejate’ can be found on our Oaxaca Events page.
Tejate is made from maize corn, a flower called flor de cacao (aka rosita de cacao), mamey seeds, roasted cacao beans and fine ash to boil with the maize corn. Tejate is probably also the most labour intensive drink on the planet, the amount of time and effort that goes into making a bowl of Tejate blows the mind. It is impossible to imagine just how much work goes into making Tejate without seeing it first hand but here is a very brief outline of what goes on before it gets into the colourful bowls in which it is served.
Firstly the flowers, the cacoa beans and the mamey pips are roasted separately, then the corn maize is prepared; water is added to a large pan containing fine ash and set to boil along with a little lime (the stuff you use in the garden not the fruit! This causes the skin of the corn kernels to peel off), before adding the maize corn and bringing to the boil. Once boiled the corn is strained and rinsed well.
Secondly, the flowers, the cocoa beans, the mamey pips and the corn are ground and then kneaded together.
Thirdly, there is a considerable more amount of kneading and grinding on the metate – a traditional Mesoamerican mortar and grinding stone. This produces the paste that soon will become the Tejate.
Finally, water is added to the tejate paste and there is a lot of stirring and then if all has gone to plan the flor de cacao will froth up to form a white frothy crust. Sweeten to taste with sugary water and you then have a ready to drink bowl of tejate to be served cold.
Are you still thinking of making it at home? Thought not! Make the most of this delicious drink whilst you can and visit the local market today or take a trip to Huayapam to see where it’s made.
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The Things to do in Oaxaca Team ☺
Photos of Tejate
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