Mole in Xico

After reading the chapter on Veracruz in Diana Kennedy‘s book My Mexico we went in search of the recommended mole de Xico, a sweet mole redolent with nuts, fruit and chocolate.

Xico (pronounced hee-co) is a 30 minute bus ride from Xalapa and we made sure we arrived a little early for comida time – around 2 pm – for a guaranteed seat at Restaurant Acamalin.

The town of Xico is also known for Verde, a sweet liquer made from a myriad of ingredients including lemon verbena, fennel and lime peel. Yes, it’s sweet and clocks in at 12 percent alcohol. It makes a lovely aperitif.

For appetizers, a plate of gorditas de frijol are brought to the table. The lightly crisped masa is filled with a velvety bean paste flavoured with ground avocado leaves lending the beans an anisey flavour that is so moreish. The sauces to accompany them were a herbal and jalapeno dressing shot with garlic and the classic salsa de chile seco that we’ve seen at every table throughout our travels in Veracruz. (The recipes for the salsa using chipotle moras, and the gorditas with bean paste can be found in My Mexico).
Another specialty is the sopa de xonequi – an indigenous plant of the areaserved with beans and chocoyones – masa dumplings flavoured with epazote. The leaf of the xonequi is akin to swiss chard, spinach or collard greens and would be easy to reproduce at home.

Next came a dish of chile rellenos using the chipotle and the jalapeno stuffed with shredded pork, plump raisins and cinnamon. The two chilies were then battered and deep fried. Damn they were good. And I loved the contrasting flavours of the chilies – the jalapeno with a bright fiery note, the chipotle with its smokey sweet heat.
The mole de xico came next and presented earthy, nutty and fruity characteristics. No soloists here, just a very balanced orchestra of ingredients that can range up to 20. The restaurant’s version includes hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds, peanuts and three types of chilies: the mulato, pasilla and ancho. Whew!

Restaurant Acamalin is located at #40 V. Carranza in Xico, Veracruz.
If you go, check out the writing of Mick Vann for up-to-date dining and accommodation recommendations in Veracruz.
Buen provecho!

2 Responses to “Mole in Xico”

  1. thank you so much for these amazing recipes.

  2. Cheers, Marie. Great to hear from you.

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