- Food and Cooking
Grocery Store Carniceria New Mexico
New Mexico Grocery Stores & Meat Markets
New Mexico has most of the ‘regular’ brands of grocery stores common in the USA. In fact, those stores make-up the bulk of our grocery shopping experiences. However, we have many local mom and pop stores that are very Mexican in their shopping experience.
So, the independent grocery store is very much alive and prospering here. The carniceria provides the needs of a specific market. A visit to a carniceria is a wonderful thing!
First, carniceria actually means meat market. Most of these carnicerias have stock and merchandise well beyond the meat counters, however.
Pop, Soda, Fizzy drinks….by any other name
Let’s ease into this unfamiliar territory through very recognizable products! Pop, soda pop, or whatever you call the fizzy drinks colloquially are a nice way to experience some great New Mexico and Mexican flavors. In fact, the Mexican pops are at the top of my list for flavor and because they use the better-for-you and taste-better real cane sugars. Here is what Dr. Andrew Weil says about high fructose corn syrup: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02718/obesity.html
Many markets including New Mexico markets sell bottles of Mexican bottled Coke®. Mexican bottled Coke® with real cane sugar is crisper and tastes better to me. It is the pop of my childhood. By that I mean, before USA Coke®! licensees switched to the different flavored corn sugars. I did not mean that I grew up drinking Mexican Coke®!
My favorite brand of Mexican pop is Jarritos (little jars). The flavors I like of this Mexican bottled pop include lime, tamarind, Mandarin orange, pineapple, strawberry, guava, mango, grapefruit, and hibiscus to name a few. I especially like tamarind and lime.
Before we get all ‘cottage-industry’ and ‘Mom and Pop’ here, do know that Jarritos is owned by a big food conglomerate! Mexican businesses are starting to import to the USA because of some of the great products like Jarritos! There are a lot of great Mexican products.
We limit how much pop we consume. So, having a great tasting pop once a week is just fine!
Everyone should eat local honey. It is good for you! Our bees feast on desert plants and produce a fine quality of honey. Our local vendor sells honey combs too. Some places have the bees produce into manufactured plastic combs. There is no honey comb to buy because of that! I think that is unfortunate. The picture also has sticks of honey that are flavored. I like honey on my cereal and my hubby likes it in his hot tea. Do see a link below Pop the Flavor that has a way to make a honey that is orange and lemon flavored!
A big way we eat honey here is on sopapillas. Sopapillas are fried breads that puff up when fried. It is served in most New Mexican restaurants here with the chips and salsa. You eat sopapillas with honey on it. By the way, honey will also cool your mouth if you get a bite of chilé that is too hot for you!
I’ve heard eating local honey is recommended if you have allergies. Do check this out with your doctor.
My first introduction to New Mexican wines was at the St. Clair Winery just west of Deming, New Mexico. You could take a clean empty 1-liter soda pop bottle to the winery and they would mix up a wine to your taste and charge you less than five dollars! We were visiting for a week. That was the week we had wine with all of our dinners. What a wonderful experience. I also have no idea if the winery still does this. I do know that the New Mexican wines include some very fine selections.
St. Clair Winery bottles some lovely wines. Here are some specialty St. Clair New Mexican wines that are all good; St. Clair Mimbres Red, Blue Teal Rio Rojo, Plum Loco, Wine a Rita, Hatch Green Chilé Wine, and a personal dessert favorite, Chocolate d’Vine. Chocolate d’Vine makes a great hostess gift.
Fall is Chilé Roasting Time
Autumn in New Mexico means we are talking about how the Hatch chilé crop was this season; will there be enough chilé, how expensive this year, and hurry to get yours!
When I first moved here I was very curious why every autumn there were long lines of people outside most grocery stores. They all had big burlap bags of Hatch chilés in their grocery carts. They were waiting to get to the chilé roaster. The chilé roaster is a big wire drum with a propane tank attached. The roaster drum turns and the propane flame then roasts the chiles. This takes place at most grocers whether they are national chains or local carnicerias.
The smell was simply voluptuous. It is savory. It makes the mouth water to just think of it. Yum. I do wish everyone reading this could smell the piquant and flavorful aroma!
This is one of the delicious flavors and smells of a New Mexico autumn.
Also, the restaurants are serving freshly harvested and roasted chiles now. The fresher chiles are a bit hotter than prepared and frozen chilés. See the link below on roasting your own little chilé feast in your own kitchen!
Here is how it works. You go to the store and buy a large burlap bag which was retailing for $17.99 last week with a $4.00 roasting fee. After they are roasted you take them home and peel them and then freeze them for use all winter.
Remember, chilés come in mild to hot flavor. Not all chiles are blistering hot!
So much more!
The general picture above shows everything from a grocer freezer full of roasted chiles both red and green and mild to hot. Also, there is a typical fresh food bar in the carniceria to flavor-up your meal. There are Mexican creams, chicaronnes (pork rinds,) Chilé Limon potato chips, and napolitos (prickly pear cactus,) and lots of fresh fruits (fruta fresca.)
Remember what it felt like to be a kid in a candy store? Go to your local carniceria. There are so many wonderful things to experience and cook with!
Hatch chile~Simply the Best!
Pop the flavor with honey flavoring at home
- Cooking Flavor Enhancing Tricks
Flavor Enhancement of everyday food
Roasting chili at home
- Green Chile Know-How
Roasted Hatch Chile