1. Tequila By far and away this is my favourite Mexican treat; a special drink to be understood and savoured.
2. Antojitos You saw me munch down these local delicacies. They are wheat flour chips, similar to prawn crackers, which are deep fried, causing the chips to expand and crisp up. The Mexicans top them with bean paste, guacamole, onion and chilli sauce – they are fantastic!
3. Cervezas Ranging from a light, crisp pale ale to a filling amber, there’s nothing quite like an ice-cold beer on a hot summer’s day to wash away the sweat and tame the scorching temperatures, and the Mexicans do it well with their variety of cervezas or “beers”.
4. Burritos These beef-filled, tortilla-wrapped snacks are one of the most delicious things I ate during my trip. With succulent slow-braised beef, spices and often cheese and vegetables, the tortilla holds it all together and, believe me, eating these great treats can get messy!
5. Cecina This is “meat that has been salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke” and, my goodness, is it fantastic. The flavours that emerge from the meat through the different drying processes are rich, complex and delicious. Cecina can be eaten as a snack, or as an accompaniment to a “smooth” dish.
6. Vegetarian gorditas These particular gorditas were made with a blue corn masa, filled with Queso de Oaxaca (a type of cheese), squash blossoms, and cactus paddle, then finished with salsa verde. Healthy and very tasty.
7. Mole poblano This varies by region, but my favourite is a thick, rich sauce made from a myriad of ingredients (sometimes 30-plus), including multiple varieties of chillies, cumin, cloves, anise, tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, sesame seeds, dried fruit, chocolate and much, much more.
8. Mexican chocolate With its roots in Mayan and Aztec lore, chocolate was first created in Mexico. The Spanish took an instant liking to this foreign, fantastic fare and shipped it in kilos back to Europe, giving us the popular treat we love to this day.
9. Michelada Everyone we met welcomed us with open arms and full bottles of tequila and mezcal, so we needed something to kick-start our poor heads the next day and stop the hangover in its tracks. Enter the “michelada ”, a creative cocktail of clamato juice, beer, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and salt. It sounds horrendous, but works miracles on a self-inflicted sorry state.
10. Agua fresca A great traditional refresher, agua fresca is a non-alcoholic beverage mage from a flavoured syrup (mine was vanilla), lime juice and either sparkling mineral water or ginger ale. There are as many variations on the drink as you can think up and the one I liked the most was topped with summer berries, cucumber and a few flowers. It’s an elegant way to enjoy a refreshing drink.