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One of the joys of travelling in Mexico is the chance to sample its many tantalising spices, sauces and chilies; where you can devour dishes not often seen on the typical Mexican restaurant menu outside of the country. A mixture of indigenous plants and produce with European foods and cooking techniques introduced during the Spanish conquests of the 1500s has turned Mexican cuisine into a highly developed, seasoned blend of sophisticated flavours and textures.

Indigenous elements in Mexican cuisine include avocado, squashes and tomatoes, while the rare essences of vanilla and cocoa, also native to the Americas, became fast favourites of the European conquistador. Chili peppers are another Mexican staple and used in one of the country’s most popular sauces, mole. This rich blend of chilies and spices (and often time’s dark chocolate), is used mostly with chicken but can be paired with pork and even fish.

While rice, introduced to Mexico by the Spanish in the early 16th Century, remains a popular side dish, corn remains the most used starch. Often ground into dough, the corn tortilla is one of the most ubiquitous menu item.