Secrets for an Expat Cinco de Mayo

Thursday marks the 149 anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in which the Mexican army defeated the French forces. I’ve grown up going to Cinco de Mayo fiestas since I was little and every year, I make sure that I celebrate in some way. Last year, I was busy with a 2 week old baby and we forgot all about it. Oddly enough, we ended up having Mexican food anyway without realizing it.

Being in expat in Italy has it’s challenges. One of them is find good Tex-Mex/Mexican food. I’ve been to only one Mexican restaurant and I very nicely gave it a good review but truth be told, my cooking is WAY better.  So after a while, I have put my “essential” list together and I’m ready to share it with you.

I will tell you a head of time, some of these are things I use, some of them are not. I’m not about to give out my family secrets… but I will give you something just as good.

First, if you’re Italy, or more specifically in Piemonte, try your luck at Tlaloc. It’s a Mexican/Colombian speciality store located near Palazzo di Citta in Torino. They have pretty much everything you need from  Tortillas to salsas, chips and beans. They recently just added ready-to-make Rice and Jarritos!

For everyone else, I have Homesick Texan! I love this blog. A native Texan moves to NYC and re-creates the dishes she longs for. Craving some Brisket Tacos, Dallas style? Beef Enchiladas? Or perhaps a simple Guacamole, look no further because this is blog is all you need. While I haven’t tried any of these recipes, they are pretty dang close to the original. Of course, you may want to add or omit some ingredients but I think it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with Homesick Texan!

Just a few tips for my fellow Italians. Instead of buying a bag of Uncle Sam’s tortilla chips (so wrong on so many levels..) grab the San Carlo Picadora instead. White corn tortilla chips are YUM!

If you’re near an Erboristeria, you may want to check and see if they have any Cumin. It may not be ground Cumin but you can easily remedy that.

Italian Chili powder is WAY spicier than Tex-Mex Chili powder.. so go easy on the stuff.

Lastly… here’s a little secret I recently shared with 200 of my closest expat friends.

To make sour cream, here’s what you need:
1 small container of Activia (flavor: naturale)
1 small box of Sterilgarda Panna di Cucina

Mix equal amounts of both in a small bowl and mix together until you have the right consistency and taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

It may not be exactly like home.. but it’s pretty dang close!

One last plea for my Italian friends…… PLEASE DO NOT USE A PIADINA as a substitute for a tortilla…. PLEASE!!! That’s just sinful!


I leave you with a classic Mariachi song… El Mariachi Loco. I played this for Valentina and she loved it!

(sorry for the horrible images of girls shaking things.. but this was the best version of this song that I could find.)
Have a great Cinco de Mayo!!

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