Queso Fresco de Oaxaca
Parque Juarez El Llano, known to gringos as Llano Park, has a rollicking good market every week on Friday. The variety of goods was unlike any I’d yet seen in any market, something for everyone. There was exceptional locally grown produce, meat, and cheese, snacks and sweets vendors, fancy decorated cakes, housewares and “antique” hardware. Rows of kiosks were filled with traditional food cooking alongside tables full of happy regulars.
I bought figs and goat cheese, and a jar of the most delicious tomato and chili jam, rich, semi-sweet with a little punch at the end, sublime on toast with the goat cheese. I’d tasted it first at Sandy’s house in San Felipe, north of the city beyond Xochimilco. She came with me and found the table of the woman who made it. I’m making it last because when it’s gone I’ll be bereft, and then I’ll plan a return for more.
Something I found amusing, explained to me later by an expat, was the mountains of clothing with well-dressed ladies diving into them. It seems that foreign women living in Oaxaca love to shop at these booths, the merchandise said to come from the Estados Unidos, donated by rich American ladies to charities at home, then brought south to be bought by their adventuresome sisters. You can’t make such things up.
The park is in the northern part of Centro in an area I traversed regularly between the nearby Oaxaca Lending Library and Xochimilco. The market, like most in and around the city, is for a local clientele and while there were a few obvious visitors the day I was there, surprisingly, not many. I suspect it’s an illustration of the ratio in general between locals and foreigners in the city, even in high season, and that’s a very good thing.
After we’d had our fill of shopping we retired across the road to the upscale ‘100% Natural’ restaurant for a rest and a bite. I strongly suspect the people out at those picnic tables in the park had the better lunch.
Next week, PortMoresby sets out on the first of 3
Tuesday hikes in the Oaxacan countryside.
2017's Back to Oaxaca, all episodes.
PortMoresby's first trip to Oaxaca, Anatomy of a Trip.
To read others of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.