Five Products You Didn't Know Came From Baja

valledeguadalupe.jpg
Flickr user rebecaanchondo
A beautiful photo of Baja's Valle de Guadalupe

I've just come back from another weekend south--just barely south--of the border, this time for the first Baja Culinary Fest (Festival Culinario de Baja Cailfornia). Think of a Taste Of event, except held statewide, and with dinners featuring local and guest chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, tours of the farms, and product samplings; kind of like Taste of Newport, except held over an area nearly the size of South Carolina.

I knew Baja had some amazing things to eat, and I've certainly had my share of excellent prepared meals there, but what surprised me this time was the ingredients available there. Sure, everyone knows Baja is where you go for lobster and other seafood unavailable in the United States, but there were some eye-opening discoveries this time. It was hard to pick five--there was third-wave coffee, there was great bread, there were outstanding preserves.

Unfortunately, export of these items is either slow to start or simply not allowed--bloody customs rules--so you'll have to go explore for yourself.

5. Geoducks

geoducks.jpg
Flickr use accidentalhedonist

Geoducks (remember, "gooey ducks") are those comical-looking bivalves that look like... well, look at the picture; it's obvious what they look like. They're natives of the Pacific Northwest, which meant they were hard to get in southern climes. Now there is commercial geoduck aquaculture happening off the coast of Ensenada, and while they're not quite as tender as their northern cousins, they are still an excellent--and sustainable--choice for seafood.

4. Craft beer

ramuribeer.jpg
Dave Lieberman
​The craft beer movement that defined San Diego's drinking habits has certainly spread north--Orange County is chock full of breweries--but it's also spread south. Breweries in Baja are making beers that will dispel forever the image of all Mexican beers as yellow beer-flavored soda that needs a lime to taste like anything. Besides TJ's eponymous brewery, Cervecería Tijuana, there's also Rámuri, Cerveza Frontera, Insurgente, and Baja Malibu, and Cucapá from Mexicali. If you head down, the usual place to find these brews is at the Beer Box on Avenida Sánchez Taboada in the upscale Zona Río.



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8 comments
Jmcguinness
Jmcguinness

How about abalone? There is a farm in Erendira (on the coast near Santo Tomas) but most of the product goes to Japan.

Miguelin
Miguelin

David, "but the taste is outstanding; far less acidic, far less distractingly assertive than most of the oils produced here".  Now David tell us how much you paid for that!

The chaps at we olive are selling California olive Olive Oil for the same price as a good Napa Wine because it's certified California by the COOC ? Who is the COOC? 

http://www.cooc.com/About%20CO...http://www.shopweolive.com/cat...

worse part of it all they are half bottles.

Just wait till the california olive oil mafia get hold of this, yep just wait, this is the process:  if they want to sell here they will have have to drop the California of their label, then they have to be certified to join them, then hmmm Mexico product and all $20 for 375 ml, california label goes back on the product. Exclusive distributor WE OLIVE : WE share margins. WE get 95%,  Mexicans get 5% why? porque?  WE do the marketing!

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Barbara Hansen
Barbara Hansen

Aha! This explains why the olive oil was all gone and I couldn't get any. 

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

I heard about the olive oil but this is the first time I've seen it!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

See? It's hard to pick just five—you can buy abalone in many places, but if you want someone to make it into ceviche you should go to Cebichería Erizo in Ave. Sonora (just off Aguacaliente before the golf course).

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

After bargaining, US$40 for 3750 mL—three litres and a 750 mL bottle.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Sorry, Barbara! I didn't know they'd brought so little of it. Maybe a trip to Tecate is in order—or to the source down in the Valle de Guadalupe.

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