Northern Mexico Region

Regions and States

Below are selected articles and recipes from Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas, the seven states that form the Northern Mexico Region.

To see ALL articles and recipes related to this region, please use the following individual state links:

The Northern Mexico Region is entirely landlocked. It includes the very rugged mountainous scenery of the Western Sierra Madre (and Copper Canyon region) as well as the less imposing Eastern Sierra Madre and the high plateau area (part desert, part farming and ranching country) that lies between them. The Western Sierra Madre, in particular, have long been a barrier to efficient east-west transport links in this part of Mexico. Many of the larger cities in this region, such as the important industrial city of Monterrey (Mexico’s third largest city), have significant ties and links to the U.S. border zone.

Here are select articles and recipes related to the Northern Mexico Region:

 

This impressive ultra-modern building houses Camara de la Industria de Transformación de Nuevo León or CAINTRA, as well as the offices of an industrial organization called the Instituto Mexicano de Innovación y Technología en Plásticos y Hule A.C. © Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr. 2020

Research and innovation in the plastics industry in Nuevo Leon

Friends call me Joe.  I’ve spent most of the past two decades working in the plastics business, or as it’s called in Mexico, “plásticos.” I work for a New York-based supplier of materials for industry, and am tasked with generating sales at companies that can use our products to make pipe or electrical cables. There’s […]

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Sweet and sour tomatillo conserve: Tomates verdes encurtidos

Visually, these remind me of the pickled green tomatoes that are nearly always on the table in New York’s kosher delis. But the sweet-and-sour vinaigrette, with the addition of green chiles, makes them very much a unique product of Chihuahua Mennonite kitchens. Chilacas are long, fresh green chiles, mild to medium hot, commonly found in […]

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Zacatecas cowboy stew: Puchero vaquero de Zacatecas

This stew, a product of Mexico’s cattle ranches, originally utilized just about any part of the cow that was available, including the udders. It is a simple, tasty one-pot meal that reflects the lifestyle of the hard-working vaqueros, who often had to prepare their meals over a campfire. Ingredients 3 1/2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1″ […]

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Aguascalientes style mixed vegetable salad: Ensalada surtida

Soaking the cabbage in lemon water adds flavor, eases digestion, and cuts down on the need for salt. Some cooks add pineapple to this Aguascalientes style mixed vegetable salad, but I find it to be an odd fit with the Russian-style dressing. Try shredded jicama instead, and be sure to use red cabbage, which makes for an […]

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Russian-Mexican beef soup: Caldo ruso de res

Russian-Mexican beef soup is obviously a holdover from the Mennonites’ days as grain farmers in the Ukraine, with the distinctly Mexican additions of chile and tomato. The original recipe calls for the cut of beef called chamorro, or shanks, which provides a much richer taste than other cuts for soups. Use bone-in beef shanks because, like the Italian […]

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Jerez, with its candy colored buildings and green wrought iron benches, is a perfect example of what makes a place magical.

Jerez, Zacatecas: a magical town

Though most of the town is lovely, it’s the historic section, dating back to when the town was founded in 1536 and centered around the Rafael Paez Garden, that creates a feel of wandering back into time. Rectangles of queso fresco, cheese made that morning from the milk of cows grazing on the ranches that surround Jerez, […]

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Grilled Chihuahua style leg of lamb: Pierna de cordero a la parilla

This northern Mexican recipe, which typifies the outdoor cooking characteristic of the region, is adapted from Larousse de la Cocina Mexicana by Alicia Gironelli. One end of a leg of lamb is thicker than the other, going from about 1 – 2 ½ inches thick, making it easy to satisfy the different tastes for rare, medium and […]

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Mexican cheese and guava flan: Flan de queso y guayaba

Guavas, being so plentiful in Aguascalientes, are used in several desserts. A common combination in Mexico is ate, a paste made with guava, quince, pears or other fruit, and cream cheese, served together after dinner. North of the border, ate can be found in the Latin food section of many markets. This recipe for Mexican cheese and guava flan […]

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Mexican cheese soup: Crema de queso

There are many versions of this soup, a specialty of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Gouda cheese also works well in this recipe, which should be prepared immediately before serving. Ingredients 1 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 2 1/2 cups milk 1 cup evaporated milk 4 ounces grated Chihuahua cheese (gouda may be substituted) […]

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Chihuahua-style roast turkey: Pavo al horno estilo Chihuahua

Northern Mexico is the home of a large turkey industry. Recent years have seen the increase in birds known as doble pechuga – literally “double-breasted” – because of their high proportion of white meat. Both this recipe and the following one are from the state of Chihuahua, where turkey, venison and other game were the traditional mainstay […]

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Aguascalientes style chicken with fruit sauce: Pollo de Aguascalientes

This chicken with fruit sauce is considered one of the most typical dishes of Aguascalientes, traditionally served at the San Marcos Fair and sometimes called “Pollo de San Marcos.” The 20th century Mexican poet Renato Leduc wrote that “there is not a fairgoer nor local family that does not pass by the San Marcos food […]

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Chihuahua Mennonite meatball soup: Caldo de albondigas

This meat-and-potatoes soup, along with a salad and bread or bolillos, could easily serve as a main meal. A friend who has to watch cholesterol makes the meatballs with ground chicken and uses half and half instead of cream. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 medium onion, chopped 1-2 chiles de arbol or other […]

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Mexican Dried Beef with Eggs: Machaca con Huevos

The cattlemen of the north made meat easy to carry on the trail by drying it. Tastier than other versions of beef jerky, the meat is first marinated, then cooked, shredded and dried. It can be served in tacos, burritos and in scrambled eggs. This version of breakfast burritos was taught to me by the […]

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The 100-mile road which winds from Creel, elevation 7,500 feet, to Batopilas, 1,650 feet, is narrow and — at points — treacherous, especially in the last 30 or so miles. This part of Mexico's Copper Canyon is remote and rugged. © Geri Anderson 2001.

Chihuahua’s Copper Canyon: the treasure of the Sierra Madres

Alongside the railroad tracks at Divisidero, two Tarahumara Indian ladies silently weave pine needle baskets. Pine scent permeates the air. The tracks begin to vibrate. Soon the Chihuahua-Pacifica train screeches to a halt. For 15 minutes, tourists rush past the Indians and the maze of souvenir and burrito stalls to catch a glimpse of interlocking […]

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Savory Braised Pork: Asado de Boda

As its name implies, this dish is traditionally served at weddings. The addition of chocolate makes it reminiscent of mole poblano, but the depth of flavor is achieved with far fewer ingredients. One reason for this is the use of whole spices, lightly toasted and ground, rather than powdered spices, which lose flavor quickly. Ingredients: 3 ancho […]

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Mexican Spanish style beef and vegetable stew: Chambarete español

Although classified under “soups,” Chambarete español is really a stew, served as a main course. A reflection of the European heritage of Aguascalientes, it is similar to the Spanish caldo gallego, which is also meat-based and loaded with vegetables such as garbanzos, cabbage and carrots. What makes this version typically Mexican is the addition of xoconostles, the sour nopal cactus fruit. Nopales […]

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Did you know? Dinosaur bones in Mexico

Thousands of dinosaur bones have been found in northern Mexico. Bones literally litter the ground. Here’s a femur; there’s a tibia; vertebrae, ribs, skulls… Dozens of dinosaurs, including the world’s cheapest, have been unearthed in a broad belt across northern Mexico, from Baja California and Sonora in the west, through Chihuahua, and Coahuila to Nuevo […]

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April in Aguascalientes: Food and drink at Mexico’s national fair

April is a warm month in Mexico and, while some people choose to spend time at the beach, many others prefer to stroll the streets of the beautiful colonial cities. One of the most architecturally impressive of all, having originated during the era of Spanish colonization, is 400-year-old Aguascalientes, known for its magnificent public buildings, […]

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Desert surprises - sketch map

Gomez Palacio and Torreon: Mexico’s desert surprises

Three sets of twins – two of them unusual tourist delights – await the intrepid traveler who explores the area around the industrial cities of Gómez Palacio and Torreón in northern Mexico. The first, and most obvious, pair of twins is the two cities themselves, which lie either side of the River Nazas. Gómez Palacio […]

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The Battle of Casas Grandes: My grandfather’s memories of the Mexican Revolution

On November 20, Mexico celebrates the anniversary of the 1910 Revolution. This is a first-hand story from the memories of a Columbus judge whose grandfather died in the first battle. The Mexican Revolution continues to reverberate after 100 years. On a crisp fall evening in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, lavender hues shimmer softly along the still-warm […]

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Zacatecas style enchiladas: Enchiladas zacatecanos

The word “zacatecano” used to describe a dish quite often indicates that it contains the combination of poblano chiles and cream. Ingredients: 12 corn tortillas vegetable oil as necessary 4 large poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded 1 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche or heavy cream 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or farmer cheese 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped ½ […]

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The magnetic deserts of the world – Zone of Silence, Mexico, gateway to the universe

This article first appeared in Ron Mader’s Eco Travels (www.planeta.com) A desert whose immensity borders mountains that look like craters, where an abundance of aereolites are scattered around it, just like the memory of a test missile that fell in its arid territory, make the mysterious Zone of Silence in the north of Mexico a […]

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Acapulco in about 1954

Did you know? Mexico was a very different place fifty years ago

G. M. Bashford’s Tourist Guide to Mexico was first published exactly fifty years ago in 1954. It was one of a spate of motoring book guides written after World War II as Americans began to hit the open road and drive south in search of sunshine and adventure. How much has Mexico really changed in […]

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Cliff divers at Acapulco carry on the famous tradition of cliff diving © Gerry Soroka, 2009

Did You Know? Mexico in the Guinness world records: part one

In the current edition of Guinness, the Mexican responsible for most records is Sergio Rodriguez Villarreal from the northern state of Nuevo León. He specializes in creating giant Christmas figures and holds five records at the moment for the “biggest” ornaments which are (respectively) an angel, silver bauble, bell, candle and wreath. Rodriguez first designs […]

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Durango Beef Stew: Caldillo Duranguense

This is probably the most famous dish to come from the state of Durango, and can be prepared with beef, pork, or the dried, shredded meat called machaca. If made with beef, a cut called bola, rump, is usually used, but I have gotten better results with filet. When using pork, I use pierna, leg, rather than loin, since the pork […]

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Immigrant cooking in Mexico: The Mennonite kitchens of Chihuahua

In recent years, immigration has become a topic of intense focus, not only in the United States and Mexico, but worldwide. Although generally seen as a political question, there is no doubt that the movement of immigrants also falls into the cultural realm, of which cuisine is a significant part. Much of the history of […]

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Living In San Luis Potosi

Posted by Diana Myers Stephenson on Junio 07, 2000 Since I gave up, sadly I must say, on Merida as a possible relocation site. I am now considering San Luis Potosi. The distance from my current location in USA would be manageable for driving. But when I search for info on San Luis, I mostly […]

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Ancient Lake Jalisco

The geology and geography of Lake Chapala and western Mexico

The following is a story concerning an ancient lake that covered a large area of the State of Jalisco and spread into Michoacan and Aguascalientes. This map is a visual portrayal of the lake superimposed on a regional map. The south central portion of the State of Jalisco presents a panorama of lakes arranged in […]

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All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Cogan’s Reviews You would be hard pressed to find a more Mexican novel than this one. Just about all of the action takes place in the state of Coahuila. Twice I found myself interested enough in the setting to refer to my maps to find the towns in the desolate border area McCarthy writes about. […]

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Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr

Cogan’s Reviews This is a novel about a couple of Americans who choose to leave San Francisco and live in a small, remote Mexican village. They are Richard and Sara Everton. Their purpose is to reopen a copper mine that was abandoned by Richard’s grandfather fifty years ago in the Revolution of 1910. The novel, […]

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Zacatecas

Zacatecas: an easy step into Mexico

“Zacatecas is the town everyone wants to go back to,” a friend said to me when I mentioned that we were going there. If not quite true, at least I know what she meant. Zacatecas was the first town we stayed in the first time we came to Mexico, back in those days when we […]

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Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico by Richard D. Fisher

Cogan’s Reviews I suspect this may turn out more like a travel article than a book review. In late March we took a tour through the length of the Copper Canyon and I find it difficult to know how to write about this book without bringing in various aspects of the Canyon trip itself. It […]

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The Dark Side of the Dream by Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez

Cogan’s Reviews The story begins in 1941, at the time America went to war with Japan and Germany. It concerns the Salazar family, poor farmers in Chihuahua. The grandfather, Sebastian, knows he is dying and he advises the family to move to the United States. He reasons that because of the war the Americans will […]

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Violeta Retamoza: from Aguascalientes to the world

Golf is the magic carpet that lifted Violeta Retamoza from Cerco del Laurel in Aguascalientes and sent her out to see the world. So far, it has earned her a scholarship at the University of Tennessee and freshman honors in the Southeastern Conference. Most likely it will some day earn her pay. Violeta was introduced […]

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The Colonia Juarez Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Curious coming to Mexico’s Mormon Colonia Juarez

Strange how the world turns. Much of Mexico is hungry for tourism. Mexico Mormons, a generally conservative religious sect, would probably prefer peace and quiet in Colonia Juarez but the presidential race in the United States is almost certain to generate traffic. Visitors may purchase a peach or two but they are more likely to […]

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Monumental statue of Cristo de las Noas near Torreon, Mexico © Jarekt, 2008

Mexico travels: Return to Torreon

You may have already heard that Mexico is a big nation. It is bigger than big. It is vast — and diverse. There are many places to go and many different things to see. For 17 years we have been here and there, and done this and that, and are still looking. Once, on our […]

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Juan Quezada

As told to Shelley Dale by Juan Quezada Illustrated by Shelley Dale Norman Books (Santa Monica, CA 90403) Here in Ajijic on a cold night a week or two ago, my nine-year old Mexican daughter Gabriela and I curled up in a couple of wool blankets and read to each other. Gaby held in her […]

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Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley A Novel By Dale Cramer Bethany House, 2011 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback I grew up in “Amish country,” in Ashland County, Ohio, a county adjacent to Holmes County, home to the world’s largest population of Amish (more than a third of Holmes county residents speak Pennsylvania German or German at home). I now […]

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Real de Catorce

The mining towns of San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Both the name and the coat-of-arms of San Luis Potosi recall the tremendous importance of mining to Mexico’s economy. Called Potosí in emulation of the mines of that name high in the Bolivian Andes, the city’s coat-of-arms, awarded in 1656, has its patron saint standing atop a hill in which are three mine shafts. Left […]

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Did you know? Mexico has more than one geographic center

I’ve often been asked, “Where’s the center of Mexico?”, and I’ve always deliberately fudged my reply, but is there a simple answer to this question? Well, perhaps not surprisingly, there isn’t! Several locations lay claim to being the center, but it’s all a question of definition. Does center mean “the point where the minimum distance […]

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Xilitla, San Luis Potosi

Xilitla is a magical place in San Luis Potosi

Xilitla has so many structures it would be impossible to count them, such as this fragment of arches, columns and windows of the most varied architectural styles, built for the simple pleasure of feeling the wind, the dampness and the freedom that pervades every moment in this magical place… Endless stairs leading to unsuspected destinations. […]

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The Mexican city of San Luis Potosi

Be careful, Miss Geri: climbing the bell towers in San Luis Potosi

I had my eyes and camera focused on the twin bell towers of the main cathedral in San Luis Potosí, so he saw me before I spotted him. “Do you want to go up there and take pictures from the top?” he asked. I turned and met the round, dark eyes of a policeman. “Do […]

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My Chihuahua Cousins

My Chihuahua cousins

As a child, I had heard some stories about my ancestors, in particular, about clashes between Pancho Villa and a distant relative, something about someone “being strung up by their thumbs”. However, as a young boy, growing up in San Diego, California, the stories didn’t mean anything to me, and they were stored deep within […]

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Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila

Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila

Sitting in bathtub-warm water in the middle of the desert looking at the surrounding mountains under a deep blue sky is a delightful experience. We are in the Cuatro Ciénegas Nature Preserve just outside the town of Cuatro Ciénegas, northwest of Monclova in the state of Coahuila. This Area of Protection of Flora and Fauna […]

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Mexico's Copper Canyon

Mexico’s Copper Canyon

For an unusual winter break, how about a Mexican train ride? The Reader’s Digest called Mexico’s famous Copper Canyon railroad trip, “the most dramatic train ride in the western hemisphere”. Even that description fails to do justice to the spectacular scenery and sightseeing along the line. The railroad was originally built to give southern Texas […]

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James and pet macaw relax at home. Of his constant bird companions he once said, "I am turning into a parrot."

Las Pozas: Edward James’ fantasy stands tall in a jungle in Mexico

We jounce for five hours in a pickup truck heading west from Tampico over the dusty Mexican plain to the Sierra Madre, up and up into a green world-peaks as sudden as the mountains of Moorea, tree-covered jagged ranges huge enough to be the molars of God, past coffee plantations, ramping bougainvillea, banana trees, crashing […]

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Sombrerete

Hats off to Sombrerete in the state of Zacatecas

Several small towns in northern Mexico offer a welcome respite and interesting overnight stop for tourists bored by the long and monotonous stretches of desert driving on their way south. One such destination is Sombrerete, mid-way between the cities of Durango and Zacatecas. According to some, there was so much silver in this area that […]

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Paquime: Casas Grandes, Chihuahua

Paquimé, sometimes called Casas Grandes, is probably the most important ruin in Northern Mexico. It was the center of trade and activity for a large area during it’s peak. The period of maximum construction is variously dated 1060 to 1340, or 1250 to 1340. Paquimé was burned around 1340. The ruins are near the modern […]

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St. Francis of Assisi Saltillo, Coahuilla

Exvotos To St. Francis Of Assisi

The pictures here were taken in the church in the old mining town of Real de Catorce, in San Luis Potosi.  There is a side room of the church dedicated to exvotos. Photo Gallery of Exvotos Senor de Villaseca, Cata Saint Lucia, Guanajuato Exvoto Article  Published or Updated on: December 7, 2007 by Richard Ferguson © 2008

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Consolación Quezada

It’s a bargain in Mexico!

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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Photo by Antonio Veloz

Adaptations: Survival of the cleverest

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Sisters with their motherPhoto Rivas ©

Mother’s Day in Mata Ortiz

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make  ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Learning the ropes in Mata Ortiz

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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El Cohetero: The fireworks man of Mata Ortiz

The 4th of July exploded on November 20th in Mata Ortíz in 1992. The cave-black night near the bridge over Río Palanganas was shot with a kaleidoscope of color and a cacophony of noise, thanks to Jim Pratt, an enterprising friend from Detroit. In many US states it is illegal to buy fireworks–but not in […]

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Jesus Velóz

Evolution of a gourmet in Mata Ortiz, Mexico

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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A gift for giving: The mandy Man of Mata Ortiz

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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My heart won’t let me stop: A ceramic artisan of Mata Ortiz

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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From father to son: On top of the world in Mata Ortiz

“When I walked into the museum and saw my ceramic sitting there beside the plaque for the Galardón, I was astonished. I had had no idea I had been awarded the Grand Prize.” José Quezada sat with his father, Nicolás, on the observation platform/roof of the Museum of the Northern Cultures in Nuevo Casas Grandes. […]

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Cave dwelling

The Valley Of The Caves

Imagine living in an adobe home set into a cave halfway up the side of a mountain. Each morning you wake and look out on a vista of gleaming, craggy red rock reaching above forests of dark green pine trees. Your work takes you down the granite slope to a milpa (cornfield) freshened by a […]

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Samuel López

Samuel Lopez, A Young Cowboy

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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Leonel Lopez: A Mata Ortiz storyteller on pottery

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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A mother’s influence on a ceramic artist of Mata Ortiz

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Luz: Another village light in Mata Ortiz, Mexico

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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Mata Ortiz © Michael Allan Williams 1999

Mata Ortiz: How do you get there from here?

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, earthenware jars, by a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women and […]

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Armando

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Mata Ortiz ceramic

In Mata Ortiz: Once, we were so poor

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Owls, turtles, javelinas and rabbits in Mata Ortiz, Mexico

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Mata Ortiz ceramic

Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua; a village of potters

This article on the potters and pottery of Juan Mata Ortíz, Chihuahua will set the stage for a monthly series entitled, “Among the Artists and the Cowboys.” Visitors to the village describe the place as “magical.” Readers of future stories will discover the charisma of Mata Ortíz and its people-both the potters and the cowboys. […]

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Water and culture shock in Mata Ortiz, Mexico

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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Eating the guest of honor

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make earthenware jars in a method used hundreds of years ago by the prehistoric inhabitants. Now, his works are known worldwide and over 300 men, women […]

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House Hunting In Aguascalientes

Mary and I went to Aguascalientes on the last day of September to look for a house to rent. Harry and Alejandro had left the previous day, traveling by bus. We offered them a ride in the White Bullet (we finally got the WB back ­ it still had a noise in the engine, but […]

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Investigating Aguascalientes

Harry and company are moving to Aguascalientes. They are fed up with Guadalajara, with the high rents, the traffic congestion, and the noise (car horns, stereos, drunks, parties, dogs, and church bells). Mary and I bided our time as they explored several towns, looking for a better place to live. They finally settled on Aguascalientes, […]

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Colonial era hotel in Parral de Hidalgo, Chihuahua © Tony Burton, 2000

Chihuahua: on the trail of Pancho Villa, Mormons, Mennonites, waterfalls and turkeys…

“Ay Chihuahua!” Have you ever heard this time-honored phrase of amazement uttered by some dumbstruck or exasperated Mexican? Whatever its origins, it is perhaps never more appropriately used than by those visitors who come to appreciate the state’s wide diversity of tourist merits. Once familiar with them, they too can rightly exclaim, “Ay Chihuahua!”. While […]

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Las Estacas The main attraction of Las Estacas is floating down the crystal clear river in inflatable inner tubes through a serene, if somewhat manicured, jungle habitat starting from where a spring bubbles out of the ground into a large pool at 8,000 liters a second. Photography & Annotations by Bob Brooke © 2001

Taking the “waters” in Mexico

Ahhhh. Oohhh. Awww. Mmmmmm.” These are the sounds most often heard as bathers first step into a warm mineral pool. More and more North Americans are discovering the pleasures and benefits of soaking in mineral baths, as they seek cures for rheumatism, arthritis, and a multitude of other ailments. But the Mexicans have known the […]

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Dama de Antiguas Lejanías

Painting poetry: Mexican artist Veronica Leiton

Chihuahua poetry has found a new outlet in the paintings of Verónica Leiton, a 42-year-old Chilean artist who has called Mexico home for more than a decade. “I have always thought that literature, especially poetry, is full of images (and) metaphors that help extraordinarily with the pictorial imagination,” Leiton says. Thus, this project seemed a […]

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Amada Lunita Beloved Little Moon

The vibrant voyages of Mexican artist H. Ramírez

“For me, art means freedom of internal expression, which is everything for me.” Drenched in color, the paintings of Chihuahua artist H. Ramírez pulse with energy and emotion. These elements form the core of Ramírez’s work; his very brushstrokes are informed by the artist’s inner sentiments. “For me, art means freedom of internal expression, which […]

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Los Desiertos Magnéticos del Mundo – Zona del Silencio, puerta del universo

(Este artículo apareció por primera vez en Ron Mader’s Eco Travels (www.planeta.com) Un desierto cuya inmensidad bordea montañas con aspecto de cráteres, donde abundan aereolitos esparcidos en sus alrededores, asi como el recuerdo de un cohete espacial que cayó en su árido territorio, hacen de la misteriosa Zona del Silencio, en el norte del país […]

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Chambarete español

Aunque se clasifique como sopa, ésta es un estofado que se sirve como un platillo principal. Refleja la herencia europea de Aguascalientes y es similar al caldo gallego español, el cual también está hecho a base de carne y lleno de vegetales tales como garbanzos, col y zanahorias. Lo que hace que esta versión sea […]

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Flan de queso y guayaba

Siendo tan abundantes en Aguascalientes, las guayabas son utilizadas en muchos postres. Una combinación común en México es el ate, una pasta hecha de guayaba, membrillo, peras u otras frutas, y queso crema, servidos juntos después de la cena. Al norte de la frontera, se puede comprar ate en la sección de comida latina de […]

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Receta para Pollo de Aguascalientes

Éste platillo es considerado uno de los más típicos de Aguascalientes. A veces se le llama “pollo de San Marcos” y tradicionalmente se sirve en la feria de San Marcos. El poeta contemporáneo mexicano Renato Leduc escribió que “no hay un sólo asistente a la feria o familia residente que no pase por los puestos […]

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Abril en Aguascalientes: A comer y beber en La Feria de San Marcos

En México, hace mucho calor durante el mes de abril, y mientras muchas personas deciden pasar este tiempo en la playa, muchos otros prefieren explorar las hermosas ciudades coloniales. Una que cuenta con arquitectura impresionante es Aguascalientes, que tiene sus orígenes en la colonización de los españoles. La ciudad tiene 400 años de ser fundada […]

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Bound for Mexico, an original short story

Vanessa thought it would be the perfect vacation: a full week on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, as the travel agent had called the Yucatan coast. The agent had suggested the small city of Campeche, stressing that it was a place not yet discovered by hordes of Americans, a pristine paradise a few hours south of Merida. […]

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Mexico's Aguascalientes-born bullfighter Miguel Espinosa, also known as "Armillita Chico," performed in 1,330 corridas de toros throughout his career. © Diodora Bucur, 2010

San Marcos fair: an opportunity to visit colonial Aguascalientes

Preparations are in full swing in Aguascalientes for the traditional Feria Nacional de San Marcos, a three-week spring fiesta the city of natural hot springs is best known for. About seven million revelers are expected to descend upon this central colonial city between April 17 and May 9, for the festival that promises to entertain […]

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South from Zacatecas: La Quemada archaeological site and Jerez, an undiscovered colonial gem

Two sites within an hour’s drive south of Zacatecas make it well worthwhile to linger at least an extra day when visiting this splendid colonial treasure, described in a previous Mexico Connect article. ( Zacatecas) The two sites in question are La Quemada (The Burnt) and Jerez (Sherry). La Quemada grew into the largest pre-Columbian settlement […]

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The interior of the San Patricio Café in downtown Zacatecas near the historic Cathedral.

Visiting Zacatecas, a UNESCO World Heritage City

We follow a meandering street that twists and turns like the best of any Medieval European city. But that, in a way, is what Zacatecas is. A soft dusk has settled over the cobblestone streets of Zacatecas and we can hear the sounds of the fountain in the small garden across from our hotel and […]

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Zacatecas Cathedral - photo by Alan Cogan

The state of Zacatecas, Mexico – resource page

Zacatecas – a place to return to! Millions of Americans today look to the Mexican state of Zacatecas as their ancestral homeland. In this section, we focus on the fascinating state of Zacatecas, which supplied so much of the country’s wealth during colonial times. Main articles for this section: Zacatecas – A Labyrinth of Riches […]

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The splendid church in Guadalupe, Zacatecas has three chapels -- the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Dark Chapel and the Chapel of Naples -- each seemingly more ornate than the next. This is the Capilla de Nápoles, or Chapel of Naples. © Jane Ammeson, 2009

Guadalupe in Zacatecas: masterpieces of colonial art

Located just east of Zacatecas city, Guadalupe’s palm-fringed Jardín Juárez has the special charm found in so many Mexican towns. Here vendors sell the local crafts that this colonial town, founded in 1578, is famous for – including tooled leather belts and soft, pliant jackets along with large carved rustic furniture and wall hangings, newly woven […]

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Tamazunchale: natural beauty, a slow-paced lifestyle, and Mexico’s native peoples

Have you ever found a place in Mexico that mirrors your own life? For me, it’s Tamazunchale, San Luis Potosí. “Every bend of the road reveals a more stunning mountain panorama,” gushed Nicki, a first-time visitor to Mexico. “Yeah. And there are lots of bends to this road,” I muttered, trying to keep one eye […]

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During the Durangan spring, red lilies, which bloom before most other plants get a start, are spectacular from great distances.

Wildflower hunting in Durango

Driving across the state of Durango, flowers paint each region’s landscapes with local colors. Wildflower lovers enjoy Durangan flowers nearly all year long because a few hardy species tough out the region’s mild winters. Even so, mid- to late-summer and early-fall stage Durango’s most spectacular wildflower show, with composites lining roadsides, converting them into flowing […]

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New lighting facilitates evening visits to the Regional Museum of Durango, Mexico. Stanislao Sloneck designed the building to reflect French influence and style, which were popular at the time of its construction in the second half of the 19th century. © Jeffrey R. Bacon, 2009

Durango’s colonial architecture: eleven quarry stone gems

Colonial Durango — Victoria de Durango, Durango — staged many of Mexico’s most important historical events. Historic figures, including Guadalupe Victoria, Francisco Gómez Palacio, José María Patoni, José Ceballos, Domingo Arrieta León, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, and Francisco Castillo Nájera carried out their duties within and among the city’s colonial buildings. Many of the city’s important […]

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A view of Mexico's Ojuela ghost town from the mine. The narrow suspension bridge, the 'Puente de Ojuela,' is some 900 yards long. © Jeffrey B. Bacon, 2011

Puente de Ojuela in Durango: A 19th century suspension bridge from Mexico’s mining heyday

In a single second, excitement, awe, terror, and fascination passed through my mind, as I began the walk across Mapimi Municipality’s Ojuela Bridge, in the Chihuahuan Desert, of eastern Durango, Mexico. The adventure began years before the sole of my shoe touched the first plank of the more than 300-meter- (990-yard-) long bridge. As exciting […]

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Real de Catorce

Real de Catorce: An outpost of progress

He’s stranded in Real de Catorce. His broken-down vehicle is without license plates, his Mexican tourist visa expired four months ago, and he has no money. A 20-year-old Alaskan tattoo designer of ancient Celtic spirit symbols, surveys the wavering desert. His beaten-up van isn’t going anywhere. He, too, is stranded in Real de Catorce. Welcome […]

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The original photo of the second ceiling mural by artist Ettore Serbaroli in Chihuahua. It shows cherubs similar to those sketched in Josefina's autograph book. © Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr., 2014

On the trail of lost art works in Chihuahua

Where are people and stories brought together from far-flung places around the globe? One place is MexConnect.com. Several years ago my story about a quest for art treasures in Chihuahua was published here. I traveled there from New York with my daughter Elise to find artworks that were painted by my grandfather, the artist Ettore Serbaroli (1881 […]

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Photo of Manuel Rocha y Chabre with his wife Adriana and their two children. Manuel Rocha y Chabre was a well known poet in Chihahua in the early 1900s © Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr., 2010

Discovering Clues to the Legacy of a Mexican Poet: Manuel Rocha y Chabre

Poets have always intrigued me. Sensitive and observant about the world around them, they are an eclectic blend of artist, philosopher and dreamer and are too often underappreciated during their lifetimes. Several years ago, I was rummaging through a box of family photos with my dad, when he showed me an old, yellowing image of […]

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Portrait of San Luis Gonzaga © Francisco Muñoz, 2009

A quest for hidden treasure in Chihuahua

You might say that it all began on an ordinary day in New York – the treasure hunt, that is. My 23 year old daughter Elise was just back from Spain where she had been teaching English to grade school students. One quiet evening, as we sat together at home, I showed her four large […]

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Sotol is aged up to two years in wooden barrels © William Kaliher, 2011

Sotol: another drink from the New World’s oldest wine producing region in Mexico

Indian on the high desert: “When poor Mexicans have no money for beer or liquor they say, ‘There is always sotol.’” Driving to the Hacienda de Perote Reaching the oldest existing winery and vineyards in the New World, dating from 1597, and Antigua Hacienda de Perote, among other fine hotels, is fairly simple for any […]

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Indigenous Chihuahua: a story of war and assimilation

Several million Americans look to the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua as their ancestral homeland. Chihuahua – with a total of 245,945 square kilometers within its boundaries – is the largest state of the Mexican Republic and occupies 12.6% of the national territory. In stark contrast, Chihuahua’s population – 3,052,907 residents in the 2000 census […]

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The indigenous past of Zacatecas

Millions of Americans today look to the Mexican state of Zacatecas as their ancestral homeland. But it is very difficult to locate historical information on Zacatecas in the English language media. As a result, many Zacatecanos know little or nothing about the region in which their ancestors lived for thousands of years. If you look […]

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Zacatecas: Culinary Gateway

The state of Zacatecas, in the northwestern part of the central Mexican plateau, has been culturally significant since pre-Hispanic times, when it was one of the few holdouts not conquered by the Aztecs. The people of this area, which was part of the western Mexican region called La Gran Chichimeca by the Spaniards, remained autonomous […]

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Milk Candy: Jamoncillo de Leche

This very typical regional sweet, resembling milk fudge, is sold all over Zacatecas. It should be made several hours or a day ahead and covered with plastic wrap. Ingredients: 1 quart whole milk ½ pound of sugar 2-inch piece cinnamon stick obleas (see NOTE below) Preparation: Place the milk, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan over […]

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Published or Updated on August 18, 2020 by Tony Burton

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