29 May 2010


I’ve never cared much for bread. Tortillas, however, (and make that corn tortillas), are a different story. Apparently, Mexicans agree with me as there is a tortillería, (tortilla bakery), on every other block throughout the city. Most I have passed are tiny, one room affairs. Others are fairly large factory things. Even the large supermarkets have a tortilla machine just like their American counterparts with an in-house bakery.

Tortillería La Gloria is the largest one I’ve seen in my wanderings around town. I went by at about 7:30 in the morning to get an idea of what the early shift was like and to take some pictures. The gentleman behind the counter told me that they start working at 4am, that they have been in business for 40 years, and that they either use 3000Kg of dough a day or make 3000Kg of tortillas a day. (I wasn’t quite clear on that bit). Wait a minute; that just doesn’t sound possible. I’m not going back to get clarification but all that matters is that they are open from the crack of dawn until the afternoon, cranking out the most wonderful tortillas.

From early in the morning people are lined up buying tortillas for the day, either for the home or for their restaurant/taco stand. Some people come with an ice chest to load up their supplies. I have also seen delivery pick-up trucks dropping off the day’s allotment.

And then there are the Tortillería La Gloria tortilla chips. They are the only deep-fried food product I have ever truly salivated over. Reason number one: made with fresh tortillas. Number two: no salt. I allow myself one bag, (it’s rather large), per trip. Just writing about it I may have to break that rule and get another; I still have about 5 days left in Vallarta.

I’ve tried to find comparable tortillas outside of Mexico but have never been successful. There simply is no comparison to the lightness and flavor of a tortilla fresh of the rack. There is none of that grittiness and chewy consistency that you’ll find in the brands at the local Safeway. Anything American is mass produced and packaged and no matter how Spanish–sounding the name of the manufacturer, it’s a poor imitation. US produced tortillas can sit for a few weeks in the icebox and still perform when needed. Mexican ones are pretty much compost material after a day, maybe two. Something about preservatives, I’d assume.

It would be so easy and cheap to buy a kilo of fresh tortillas to take back with me to California, but what’s the point? They’d be past their shelf date by the time I got home and unpacked.
Guess I'll just have to wait for another trip.