Traditional tamales occur in splendid variety in Guatemala. Local favourites include tamales colorados and tamales negros, also known as red and black tamales. However, there are many more such as "tamales de elote" distinguished as sweet tamales, "chuchitos" literally meaning "small dogs","tamalitos de masa", "tamales de loroco", "tamalitos de chipilín", and "paches". The majority are made of corn, though rice and potato tamales are also common. The stuffing varies from olives, pepper, and prunes to pork and chicken. Guatemalan tamales are present at every important occasion, but the best season to sample the greatest variety is the short period from Christmas through New Year, whereas tamales negros are available for Christmas only. Be careful not to rush to taste all the different tamales at once—in Guatemala it would be considered not appropriate; they typically have only one tamale at a time. If you want to sample more, just finish your plate to take another one, and mind that the big leaf on which tamale colorado is served is not edible.
December 24–January 01
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