Imagine tender pulled pork, a slightly citric, garlicky sauce, with hints of cumin and the brush of a pepper that you can't quite identify. Now add red onion and habanero peppers soaked in lime juice to make them sharp and spicy – bringing tears to your eyes. Are you crying because it burns? Or because you imagine that you might never taste anything so good again for the rest of your life? That's the way it is when you fall in love with cochinita pibil.
The achiote is a tropical plant with a red, hairy, teardrop-shaped fruit with hard seeds inside that are used both as a natural dye and a condiment. Achiote Paste is used to season meats and color rice dishes and is an integral part of the classic Mexican dish, Cochinita Pibil. Made with achiote seeds, habanero chiles, garlic, nutmeg, orange juice, and white vinegar, the paste is spicy, smoky, and tangy.
The coffee at El Cafe de Avelino in Coatepec, Veracruz is heady, fragrant and strong. On a balmy July afternoon, owner Avelino Hernandez, with the slicked dark hair and off-white guaybara shirt of a 1950s Mexican movie star, is behind the counter manning the cafe's roaster. He's a man with many talents but only one passion – coffee.
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