One of the coolest culinary celebrations takes place in Mexico from April 1 to 10 when the next edition of the National Ice Cream Fair arrives in Xochimilco.
This event has been held for 136 years in the town of Santiago Tulyehualco, which is known for the families who, from generation to generation, have perfected the art of handmade ice cream.
“Currently, ice cream is considered one of the most deeply-rooted and promoted products in Xochimilco, since the ice cream makers continue to make it in an artisanal way, with techniques similar to those of the colonial era, in addition to using 100% natural products,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
What can you find at the fair?
In Mexico, nieve, as it is called, typically refers to ice cream made from fruit and water, similar to sorbet. At the fair, attendees will be able to taste nieves made from traditional flavors such as passion fruit with lemon, tamarind, mango, and strawberry. On past occasions, the event has also spotlighted more unusual flavors like rose petals, pulque with maguey worm, mole, lettuce, rattlesnake, shrimp, oysters, octopus, and tequila, to name a few.
In addition to the vendors and artisans, the fair will feature artistic and cultural events. Admission is free and the hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the town’s Plaza Cívica.
What are the origins of the Ice Cream Fair?
According to the mayor’s office, this celebration has its beginnings in pre-Hispanic times. Back then, the xochimilcas held this food in religious esteem, since only priests and noblemen could consume it.
The maidens and warriors who attended the Mexica market at Tlatelolco to obtain the most exotic products then discovered it. At that time, it had the high price of 20 cocoa beans.
The consumption of this treat increased over the years, particularly during the hot seasons, until 1529 when Friar Martín de Valencia, one of the first missionaries to arrive in New Spain, officially instituted the Ice Cream Fair. The event evolved until, in 1885, the families of Santiago Tulyehualco resumed the tradition.