A fantastic Journey through South-Mexico !!!

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On the left we see the Ahuehuete tree in the little place called Tule.

The tree has an altitude of 42 meters, an outline of 58 meters and is more than 2000 years old!


In the tree we recognize characters.
Here we see an elephant.







   A lion head.


 The tree in al its glory....


How is Mezcal made !!

Tequila and Mezcal are made by distilling and fermenting the juice of the agave. In the Mexican law is recorded that the liquor for the tequila can only be made of one type of agave, the blue agave, which also has to come from only one area, Jalisco in west-central Mexico. Mezcal is made of the fermented juices of other types agave. It is produced throughout Mexico. Both tequila and Mezcal are in the same way prepared for distillation. The agave, also known as maguey, grows on plantations between 8 and the 10 years, dependent of the type agave. As the plant is full-grown it starts to bloom with a long flower pole. The agave farmer, or campesino, cuts off the prop just before it will blossom. This stimulates the plant considerably to grow in core, which then swells up in large ball kind of form which contains a soft juicy pulp. If swelling is ready the farmer cuts off the plant at the foot and removes the long sword-like leaves.
The remaining piña (pineapple, because it looks the same) weigh approximately between 25 and 50 kilogram's (see left)
The piñas are chopped in smaller pieces and during three days are roasted in ovens of which the walls are inlayed with stones.

An oven of at least 3.5 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters deep can contain 3,000 kilogram's piñas. In advance the pot-hole becomes hot with charcoal, which is covered with river stones. On top of the piñas come hot stones, then a layer of palm fibers, woven mats and a layer of soil. A Mezcalero supervises the process for two up to three days. In that period the Agaves takes in the taste substances from the soil and the smoke of the wood. In fact the agave is roasted, in contrast to tequila production, where the piñas are steamed in stainless steels autoclaves. During this process carbohydrates are converted sugars.
De mezcalero has removed the piñas from the pot-hole. Here we still see the palm fibers lying on the stuff.
Hereafter the piñas are crushed with a mill stone to remove the fibers.
The pulp is scooped in wooden barrels and mixed with water. This mixture will ferment in a natural way three up to five days, depending on the outside temperature. During this fermentation sugar is converted into alcohol, carbon dioxide and rest substances.
The fermented pulp and juice that contains approximately 5 % alcohol, is distilled in copper alembics above a wood fire. The result of this first distillation is distilled a second time to high alcoholic a product.
In the bottling-room these mezcal are further processed and with water its brought to it's alcohol concentration, between 35 and 55 volume percent alcohol.
Mezcal and the maguey worm.
In the agave live two types of worms. Red worms live in the carrots and white in leaves. According to a legend the worms get whereas they are living in the gave, the magical characteristics of the plant and carry out the spirit of the honored plant to the mezcal. In reality is the red worm is a marketing instrument. However, the worm, which also brings extra taste to the mezcal, is an edible sort and a source of endosperms. According to one tale it was Jacobo Lozano Paez, who had a small bottling-room, which discovered that the maquey-worms gave the special taste to the mezcal. Much of the worms lagged behind in the heart of the plant at harvesting and was therefore roasted. Thus he got the idea to give his product something extra by adding a worm in bottle and by the bottle a small pocket dried and crushed worms, mixed with salt and chilly. In this way the worm became a popular ingredient of the mezcal.

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Tot nu toe betreft het een viertal vakanties: Suriname, Egypte, Peru, Bolivia en Mexico. Verder een kort fotoverslag van de zonsverduistering in 1999 te noord-frankrijk in de buurt van het plaatsje Spincourt. Er is een mogelijkheid om mijn gastenboek te tekenen. Deze homepage is ontworpen door Sander van Kuppevelt (sandervk).