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Tamales

A vast variety of stuffed cornmeal dumplings crown the feast of Candlemas

Tamales in Mexico - Best Time
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© Ramon Sanchez

The first tamales date back to pre-Hispanic times, some believe that dumplings appeared around 8,000 BC. Today they are available all across Mexico, mostly made from corn flour, and wrapped in corn or banana husk. However, every region in Mexico boasts its own unique variety. The filling itself might be any combination of meats, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, or chiles. It takes a lot of time to cook this delicacy, thus Mexicans prefer to prepare them in large amounts for festivals.

Tamales in Tequisquiapan, Mexico
Tamales in Tequisquiapan, Mexico

The dish is mainly associated with the Candlemas celebration. The people responsible for the festive tamalada party are chosen on King's day—those who discover baby Jesus in their piece of rosca bread are supposed to cook tamales themselves, or buy from any of the numerous vendors. Candlemas is celebrated on February, 2, and tamales are available already from late January, whereas the capital city offers the treat year-round.

Street food spot on the corner of Puebla and Jalapa streets
Street food spot on the corner of Puebla and Jalapa streets
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