The second day of festivities to celebrate Origen’s 6th & Los Danzante’s 20th Anniversaries started Saturday morning. I was invited to attend the daytime activities for the Chefs, other special guests and attending media. Omar, aka “Oaxacking” gave me very little details as to what we’d be doing for the day, only a “just come, you’ll enjoy”. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to participate in something I didn’t know the full details of, but from past experiences, Omar has never been wrong.
I was feeling a bit “crudo” from the evening before, but I focused myself for an adventure, which started bright and early with breakfast on La Olla‘s lovely terrace, hosted by Chef Pilar Cabrera.
Our first stop on our adventure was the Agrobiodiversity Fair in Union Zapata, just outside of Mitla, around 30 minutes outside of the city. Farmers from all over the state of Oaxaca gathered to promote the conservation of ancient crops and traditional farming techniques, which have been nourishing indigenous people for over ten thousand years.
I had no idea what to expect when I got off the bus in the middle of what seemed like nowhere but was astounded by the beauty of the artisan produce on display.
We got back on the bus and were off again a short ride away to the bottling plant of Los Danzantes.
For all mezcal’s popularity, I sometimes worry about its sustainability. When you talk about espadin being the fastest growing agave, at 7 years, it’s not hard to understand why there’s a concern that the popularity in mezcal cannot keep up with the supply.
I was happy to see Los Danzantes’ efforts being put into the conservation of different species of agave and that so many different species of agave are being cultivated.
We hopped back on the bus to our main destination for the day, Los Danzantes’ distillery located in Santiago Matatlán.
In the production area of Los Danzantes, we were taken through the process of making mezcal by Karina Abad, the production manager. I was shocked (but not really) to see how small the facility was, given Los Danzantes mezcal’s wide distribution throughout North America, (and the rest of the world).
After the walkthrough was complete, we sat down to start the party!
I was exhausted from the fun-filled day but knew there was still one more event to go for the anniversary weekend. What pushed me through to the evening’s events was my enthusiasm to see how the space I’d seen the week before would be transformed for this party.
The evening was filled with delicious food and drinks, hugs and laughter and so much dancing. Cumbia is on my list of “things I want to do more of”. Lucky for me, around this group, I think I will be presented with more opportunities in my life.
I am so honoured to have been included in the anniversary celebrations of both Origen and Los Danzantes. Through this, I had the opportunity not only to learn more about Oaxaca, but I was introduced to amazing people, who were generous with their time and minds. Oaxaca continues to inspire me, not just for the food, drink and culture, but from the creativity and positivity it fosters. The Oaxacan spirit is something I strive to keep with me in my regular life, and maybe with enough continued visits, it will one day be something that becomes engrained in me as natural.