DAYDREAMING ABOUT EXOTIC south-of-the border flavors? This month, the crème de la crème of supermarkets, Central Market, honors Hispanic food and heritage with its “Really into Comida” series, including global products and guest chefs, through Oct. 11.
First, the shopping: Expect a diverse collection of top-rated Hispanic-owned brands and products from around the world — everything from wines and cheeses to gourmet chorizos, salsas and sweets.
Since 1975, the Flores family has produced its famous Chorizo de San Manuel in the Rio Grande Valley, which is still family-owned and run by Luis Flores III in Edinburg, Texas. Find multiple varieties to experiment with, including pork chorizo, beef chorizo and chicken chorizo.
For something cool and refreshing, La Newyorkina paleta and ice cream brand makes everything from scratch in small batches using only the best ingredients like Mexican vanilla and Oaxacan chocolate. Or pick up Mexican wedding cookies (Polvorones de Canela): buttery, shortbread like cookies with crushed toasted pecans, spiced with cinnamon, and rolled in powdered sugar.
It's easy to cook octopus at home if you use tenderized octopus from Spain, which has been tumble tenderized in the U.S. using purified salt water. This delicacy has been featured by world-renowned chefs, including on the hit TV series Chopped. After boiling, the octopus is great seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and parsley, and finished on the grill.
A little wine with that? Monte Xanic sauvignon blanc Vina Kristel 2021, produced by Mexico’s first boutique winery, is crafted with old estate grapes harvested by hand from the single vineyard Kristel. These vines average 50 years in age and deliver the most flavorful grapes of the Valle de Guadalupe terroir. Anticipate expressive notes of zesty citrus fruits such as grapefruit, Key lime and Meyer lemon, complemented by ripe tropical fruit. Ideal for seafood, fresh salads, grilled chicken, seafood and oysters.
Chef Evelyn Garcia hosts a virtual cooking class in October.
Central Market chorizo
Central Market bakery's alfajores
Now for a cooking lesson or two. In its Virtual Cooking School Series, guests will learn how to make fabulous meals while gleaning new techniques and hearing stories from experts in Hispanic cuisine. Cooking kits are ready for pickup, or attendees can opt for virtual-only tickets, which come with a shopping list sent prior to class.
Chef Adán Medrano, food writer, cookbook author and award-winning filmmaker, specializes in indigenous foods of Texas and the Americas. His online class will be held Sept. 19, 6-7:30pm. The menu includes Agua de Jamaica, albondigas (chile ancho meatballs), cilantro rice and greens beans
On Oct. 6, 6-7:30pm, Evelyn Garcia — Houston native, CIA graduate and Top Chef finalist — is on the virtual deck. Learn how to make chorizo and cheese papusas, herbed curtido (Salvadorian spicy slaw) and salsa de tomate. Find all the class details here. Salud!