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The Indio Tamale Festival you've gotta go there!

Updated on April 21, 2014


The Indio Tamale Festival—Ya Gotta Go There!

The tamale is, by far, one of the most enjoyed foods in the United States as well as in many other parts of the world. The history of the tamale is rich; and its historical roots go back to the ancient Aztec, Mayan and Incan civilizations of thousands of years ago. Due to its portability, the tamale became a staple among indigenous peoples of South America where warring tribes needed a compact food supply to accompany them while on the run. Everything from tadpoles to ants to wild honey were tossed in as ‘tasty’ ingredients—perhaps the honey was added to counteract the tadpole flavoring…

If we fast forward to the 21st Century, tamale recipes abound whether in cookbooks or on the internet or in homes where this food item has become a traditional part of lively family gatherings. Tamales are so popular, in fact, that actual tamale festivals take place all over the United States. One location, in particular, is Indio, California which can boast of having earned a Guinness World Book Record for the largest tamale every concocted.

The Indio Tamale—Biggest In The World:

Many of us are familiar with ‘Food Network-TV’, a very respected cable program dedicated to the likes of delicious foods from all over the world. Food Network-TV designated the Indio International Tamale Festival in Indio, California as one of the top 10 “All American Food Festivals” in the United States—quite an honor! If you plan on attending an Indio Tamale Festival, be prepared to be surrounded by more than 120,000 tamale lovers from all over country. During this most-auspicious occasion, Old Town Indio is filled with ethnic music, dancing, carnival rides, live entertainment as well as the aroma of virtually any type of tamale imaginable—here types of tamales are limited only be one’s imagination.

For those fortunate enough to be a part of this delightful, fun-filled extravaganza, all one has to do is set aside the first weekend in December of any given year and surround yourself with Indio residents who can’t wait to get the celebration underway! Tamale lovers who attended the 1999 festivities would remember seeing the largest tamale ever conceived—a colossal creation with a 12-inch diameter and a length of 480 inches—that equated to 40 feet of continuous deliciousness! So massive was this tamale, that it made its way into the Guinness World Book of Records! The 2013 event celebrated its 22nd anniversary—only this event catered to more than 160,000 participants!

Types of Indio Tamales:

Yes, numbers have no end and seemingly, neither do the types of tamales one would find at the Indio Tamale Festival! After one has enjoyed a wine-tasting in the wine lounge or had an ice-cold beer, one can sample flavors never thought possible that make up some of the most unusual tamales in the world. Here are a few tantalizing combinations:

** Pumpkin with Jamaican Rum

** Bourbon Pork

** Chocolate Cherry

** Blueberry and Cream Cheese

** Baby Banana with Coconut and Brown Sugar

** Sweet Potato with Bacon and Onions

** Lobster and Leek

** Corn and Green Chilies

** Shrimp and Shredded Jack Cheese

** Black Beans, Cheese, Chilies and Olives

When it comes to tamales:

Whatever your flavor; whatever your passion, tamales will ALWAYS be in fashion!!



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