We traveled by bus to Puebla where mole (pronounced moh-leh) is king. Mole is from the Nahuatl word molli meaning sauce.
They are a very complex group of sauces - ingredients include chiles, nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruit and spices. They can contain over 30 ingredients. Mole poblano is considered the main mole but there are many; red, brown, white, green, yellow you name it there is probably a mole in that colour.
One story says the mole comes from the Santa Rosa Convent in Puebla. With the archbishop due to visit the poor nuns had not much to prepare a meal. They put together what they did have - dried chiles, spices, day old bread, nuts and chocolate then they killed an old turkey cooked it and put a generous amount of the sauce on top. It was a hit with the archbishop!
Other states, Tlaxcala and Oaxaca, lay claim to the original mole but no one really knows.
Mole was used for special occasions as it's very time consuming to hand grind all the dried chiles, nuts, seeds and spices before electric mills.
Ok now for the taste test.....
I ordered a tester of 5 moles; they are in order from the top - (the one with the chip doesn't count its beans) so on the right we have the Sacristía mole, a special from the hotel we are staying at and it is delicious it's made using chipotle chiles which are smoked jalapeños so it has a bit of a kick to it.... very smokey and a hint of sweetness this could go with so many meals. It's great just with breads or corn chips, here I had it with chicken but I think it would be just as good with turkey, pork or even fish.
Next is the red mole - tomatoe and chilies with toasted slithered almonds on top, very rich and tasty with a bit more heat than the first. You need a beer on hand for this one, a bit too tomatoe sauce like for me but still good.
On to the mole poblano, the most popular and said to be original mole with chilie and chocolate that hit the taste buds better than most would think, a hint of toasted sesame and sweetest of raisins. It's Jen fav.
Next is the yellow mole, it's a lot like a peanut satay but a bit less zing it was a nice tone down after the others but as the main meal maybe a little bland still pretty good though.
Onto the green - it's chilie, avocado and pine nuts and I'll start by saying I don't really like pine nuts that much, having said that it was a lot better than I thought it would be. Again a lot less spice and zing than the others I think both would go better with turkey which has a richer flavour than chicken.
My fav has to be the Sacristía chipotle with its sweet smokiness.
I will be dreaming of it for a long time to come!!