Pasaporte Mexico - Central Market - April 20th through May 3rd Pasaporte Mexico - Central Market - April 20th through May 3rd


Central Market is excited to take you on a voyage through Mexico from April 20 to May 3! Discover bold, authentic cuisines unlike anything you’ve had before. After you experience the true flavors of Mexico, you may have to rethink your definition of Mexican food.


Mexico is like many countries in one – mountains, desert, rainforest, and miles of coastline. And the cuisines from these diverse geographical landscapes result in unique and extraordinary regional dishes.


One of the main reasons Mexican cuisine is so unique is the bold flavors that infuse every dish. The use of regional beef, fresh seafood, chiles, corn, spices, and the best fruits and vegetables makes for unforgettable Mexican cuisine.

Every road leads to bold flavor Every road leads to bold flavor

Our journey to Mexico took us to some exciting places, from the interior to the mountains to the coasts – all in search of the boldest, best cuisines and products to bring back to Central Market.

Thousands of years of culture in every bite Thousands of years of culture in every bite

From wines and olive oil in the north to chocolate and coffee in the south, Mexico’s widely diverse geographical landscapes yield a tremendous variety of bold flavors and unique regional cuisines.

Take a culinary journey through Mexico by clicking the blocks on the map below.


Baja California, a.k.a. Mexico’s wine region, is one of the most intriguing wine regions in the world because few vines are indigenous to Mexico. Instead, most wine varieties came from explorers in the 16th century. The stars of Mexican wine country are the valleys, among them the Valle de Guadalupe, where world-class wineries are producing wines made of international varieties of French, Spanish, and Italian descent.


The northern region is a lot like the Southwestern United States—arid and dry. It’s this dry climate that makes Northern Mexico a natural to nurture olive groves. In fact, Northern Mexico has been a center for olive growing for more than 400 years.

Beginning centuries earlier with olives brought over by Spanish settlers, farmers now harvest oil olives in January, a full one to two months after table olives are harvested. The later harvest makes oil olives richer in flavor.

Pacific Coast

The cuisine of any coastal region often begins with seafood. Mexico’s Pacific Coast region is no different. The string of small villages and resorts along the coast take advantage of the bounty of the warm ocean water, specializing in shellfish, grouper, and snapper, among others, flavored with European spices and chiles and served with salsa.

Central Plains

Combining a cosmopolitan vibe with a bit of Old Mexico, Central Mexico is known for its street foods and home-style comfort foods, both of which celebrate simplicity with a dash of haute cuisine.

The popularity of tacos and pozole in Central Mexico are perfect examples. Taco stands abound on every corner, each offering a wide range of fillings. And, whether on high-end restaurant tables or on family dinner tables, pozole, a hearty Mexican stew, is a favorite meal for just about any special occasion.


Things get spicy in the Gulf region, thanks to influences from Spain, Cuba, and the Caribbean, as well as heavy influences from Mayan culture. Seafood dishes made with crab are prominent. Gulf dishes are also given a hint of sweetness from a dash of honey, a custom that dates back to the Mayans.


The southern region of Mexico lies within the “coffee belt,” the strip of land and countries along the equator that have ideal climates for growing coffee. In fact, Mexico is one of the world’s top coffee-producing countries.

The same can be said for chocolate. Both date back to the times of the Aztecs and Mayans, and both are staples in Mexican cuisine. Coffee beans from small farms and large plantations produce flavor-rich brews known for their sharpness, while today’s Mexican chocolate still has some of the same flavor aspects as chocolate made by the Aztecs.

Passport Exclusives Passport Exclusives

Prepare your taste buds for a flavor-filled fiesta at Central Market, where you'll find our Chef's Case full of bold, regional dishes bursting with the authentic flavors of Mexico. From pozoles and postres to moles and más, you’re sure to find a new favorite inspired by our friends to the south.

Olivares de la Sierra Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We found their orchards magnificent and think you will love these single-variety olive oils for their subtle flavors that make them a Foodie favorite. This is their U.S. premiere!

Ki Gourmet Finishing Sauces

This wide range of finishing sauces has so much potential with flavors of fruit and various peppers to add zest to meats, fish, and even dessert toppings.

Mexican-Style Meatballs and Picadillos

Made fresh in-store daily. Choose from an array of ready-to-cook, Mexican-style meatballs and picadillos, including Albondigas de Jalisco (beef and pork with zucchini), Albondigas para Sopa (beef, pork, and rice meatballs), Albondigas de Puebla (beef and pork with onion, mint, and cumin), Picadillo Sierra de Puebla y Oaxaqueño (sweet spiced pork filling for rellenos, empanadas, or soft tacos), Picadillo Blanco (beef filling for flautas or garnachas), and Picadillo Norteno (beef filling with olives and raisins for stuffing chiles or tacos). Look for recipes in our Market.


The Mexican favorite gets an upgrade: Ours has rich, creamy flan baked on top of a moist chocolate cake that’s covered with lusciously sweet, caramelly cajeta.

Pan de Elote

Cornbread as a dessert is just fine with us! Rich, sweet, and buttery, this Mexican home-style favorite is made with white corn and condensed milk.

Pollo en Mole Rojo

Central Market Chefs have created their version of the national dish of Mexico. Associated with the Puebla region, the combination of tender chicken thighs in red mole is soul-warming in more ways than one. The sauce blends raisins and nuts with mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles, making for a much smokier, sweeter, and spicier flavor.

Bulk Bar Salsas

There’s never been a more perfect time for salsas! And we've got some new ones for you made with ingredients like charred tomatillos, cooked tomatoes, pico de gallo, and dried chiles. Choose from Salsa de Aguacate y Tomatillo, Salsa Tomate Roja Cocida, Salsa Habanero, and more.

Mole Amarillo with Cauliflower and Mushrooms

Spicier than most moles, mole Amarillo is thickened with masa harina, or corn flour. The sauce is typically served alongside vegetables or Chayote (Mexican squash), or inside empanadas with shredded chicken.

Pozole Verde and Pozole Rojo

These Mexican soups are made with light, summery herbs and vibrant red chiles. Thick and hearty, the soups are traditionally served after hours-long wedding parties.

Los Altos Cheeses and Creams

The Andrade family draws on its Southern Mexican roots to create a line of all-natural, artisanal velvety creams and robust cheeses.


Passport Mexico is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn all about the authentic regional cuisines of Mexico from world-renowned chefs. It’s also your chance to try product samples, enjoy a store stroll, and experience in-store culture events.


Instructor: Pati Jinich, Cookbook Author; Host, “Pati’s Mexican Table” on PBS; Chef, Mexican Cultural Institute

Pati Jinich is the host of the popular PBS show “Pati’s Mexican Table” and the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute. She has appeared on the Food Network, Fox News, NPR, and “The Splendid Table,” and appears regularly on NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “The Chew,” and CBS’s “The Talk.”

The cuisine of Mexico is vibrant and constantly changing, altered, as most foodways are, by successive waves of immigrants. Explore this evolution with Pati Jinich, who grew up in Mexico City and hosts the popular PBS TV series, “Pati’s Mexican Table.” She will show you how to make traditional dishes passed down through the generations as well as recipes that have evolved, as she shares stories about the people and places who guarded the old and those who have embraced the new.

Menu includes: Sonora Cheese Soup, Pork Tenderloin Enchiladas in Mole Verde Sauce, Warm Nopales (Cactus Paddles) with Guajillos & Corn, and Chocolate Jericalla (Custards) with Blackberry Coulis.

AGES 16 & UP


Instructor: Iliana de la Vega, Chef/Owner, El Naranjo, Austin; Leader of Culinary Tours to Oaxaca

Although she was born in Mexico City, Iliana de la Vega’s family is from Oaxaca and she returned to that region to open her first restaurant in 1997. She serves as a member of the Foodways of Mexico Advisory Board of the University of Texas and as a consultant to the Culinary Institute of America.

Delight in a celebratory meal from Southwestern Mexico. Chef de la Vega will introduce you to some of her family’s favorites and unique dishes from this diverse region with mountains, valleys, and a significant coastline, all of which influence the cuisine. In this relaxed format, with just a few demonstrations of the dishes served, you’ll have an opportunity to interact with the chef and learn a little about Oaxacan traditions and ingredients while you enjoy a seasonal, regional meal paired with Mexican wines.

Menu includes: Tostaditas de Chileajo (Tostada with Chile & Garlic Marinated Vegetables), Brochetita de Cerdo con Mole Amarillo (Pork Skewer in Mole Amarillo), Sopa de Frijol Negro (Oaxacan-style Black Bean Soup), Estofado de Almendras (Chicken in Almond & Tomatillo Stew), Arroz Blanco y Plátanos Fritos (White Rice & Fried Plantains), and Cocadas (Coconut Candy).

AGES 21 & UP

Celebrate with Antojitos

Instructor: Margarita Carrillo Arronte, Chef; Restaurateur; Culinary Expert; Cookbook Author; Mexico: The Cookbook

Margarita Carrillo Arronte has dedicated more than 25 years to teaching and cooking Mexican cuisine. She is the former Mexican Ministry of Agriculture’s chef, organizing festivals and gala dinners across the world. She runs the restaurants, Don Emiliano and Casa Mexico. Mexico: The Cookbook, the definitive bible of Mexican home cooking, will be for sale on the night of class and the Chef will personalize copies after class.

Feast on the incredible diversity and riot of flavors of the food from the interior of Mexico. Margarita Carrillo Arronte will show you how easy and delicious it can be to create a very special menu of Mexican appetizers paired with Mexican wines and beers. It’s a fiesta!

AGES 21 & UP


Instructors: Hugo Ortega and Sean Beck, Chef/Owner and Sommelier/Beverage Director, respectively, of Hugo’s, Backstreet Café, and Caracol

Ortega was born in Mexico City, the oldest of a family of eight children. In 1984, he immigrated to Houston with a determination to make a life for himself in America. In 2002, he opened the critically acclaimed Hugo’s, which brought Authentic Regional Mexican Cuisine to the forefront of dining. In 2013, Ortega (with Tracy Vaught) opened their third concept, Caracol, a Mexican coastal kitchen celebrating a love of the seafood found along Mexico’s 16 coastal states.

Pick up tips on producing authentic dishes, then learn to pair them with amazing Mexican beers. Legendary chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s, Caracol, and Backstreet Cafe will collaborate with Sean Beck, Sommelier and Beverage Director of Hugo’s, Caracol, and Backstreet Cafe. This five-time James Beard Foundation Award finalist who has transformed Mexican cuisine in Houston will introduce you to some of his favorite dishes.

Copies of Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico and Backstreet Kitchen will be available for purchase on the night of class. Chef Hugo Ortega will personalize your copies at the end of class.

Menu includes: Trio of Salsas; Red Snapper Ceviche; Chorizo-stuffed Quail with Huaxamole Rojo (Tehuacan-style sauce) served on a bed of Quinoa with Mexican Squash, White Beans & Choclo; and Tamarind & Chile Piquin Sorbet.

AGES 21 & UP


Frida Kahlo was not only a celebrated artist but an avid entertainer – every occasion was a reason for rejoicing and preparing a feast. You’ll make part of a grand meal that she created for good friends one early summer day that includes: Sopa Seca de Fideo (Thin Noodles Cooked in Seasoned Chicken Broth & Garnished with Fried Chiles, Avocado Slices & Cheese), Pork Ribs with Sweet-Sour Sauce, Potato Tortitas, Zucchini Salad, and Frida’s Favorite Cookies: Cat’s Tongues. Our Staff will show you how to make a Stuffed Pineapple that will be served with the cookies.


Move beyond breakfast tacos as you learn to make some of the many traditional Mexican dishes meant for the first meal of the day. You’ll rise and shine each morning once you’ve mastered: Huevos Divorciados (Fried Eggs with Raw Tomatillo Salsa & Raw Tomato Salsa), Molletes (Melted Cheese & Beans on Toast), Plátanos Fritos (Plantain & Raisin Croquettes), Taco de Piña (Pineapple Tacos), Horchata de Arroz y Coco (Rice & Coconut Horchata), and Cheladas (Dark Mexican Beer with Seasonings).


Mexicans rely on fresh seafood to liven (and lighten) up their meals. Spend a few hours learning to make these quick and easy dishes so that you can too: Camarones al Guajillo con Nopales (Shrimp with Quick-fried Cactus Paddles), Filetes de Pescado a la Campechana (Fish Fillets with Tomato, Habanero & Corn), Red Snapper, Vera Cruz-style, and Mejillones con Cilantro (Mussels with Cilantro).


Join us as we kick off Passport Mexico in style! Indulge your love of authentic Mexican food, and sample some of the finest foods and drinks from Mexico at tasting stations throughout the store. Start at the entrance to the store and stroll around, sampling a variety of foods in many departments. Olé!

Raise a Glass to Mexican Wines Raise a Glass to Mexican Wines

Valle de Guadalupe is the premiere wine growing region of Mexico, with vines brought over from Europe in the 16th century and planted along the cliffs above Todos Santos Bay. The resulting wines are diverse, and pair nicely with the bold flavors of Mexico.

Wine making in Mexico began with the arrival of Spanish explorers that brought vines from Europe, as the few vines that were indigenous to Mexico were not suited to the production of quality wines. As a result, almost all modern Mexican wines are unique in that they are made of international varieties of French, Spanish, and Italian descent. With no signature grape, Valle de Guadalupe is one of the most intriguing wine regions in the world.



Named for the Greek god of wind, Alximia Libis is a complex yet easy, friendly drinking wine that evolves in the glass as you drink it. Its silky, soft texture exudes aromas of red and black fruits that mingle with hints of roasted coffee, lavender, and cocoa.

PAIRS WITH: chicken, duck, spicy food



A unique grape blend of Tempranillo, Carignan, and Grenache, this one is inspired by Spanish wines. Made with lots of dark fruit, it boasts a unique nose of baking spices, berries, cloves, and vanilla, and is long-lived with a fruity aftertaste.

PAIRS WITH: mole, beef, game, spicy foods



Casa Madero owns and operates the oldest vineyards and winery in the entire American Continent. This rosé has a semi-dry character showing its fruitiness. It’s slightly herbal and refreshing with flavors of peach and melon.

PAIRS WITH: salads, soft cheeses, ceviche



Founded in 1888, and the first to bottle wine in Mexico, this historic Baja winery produces varietals that capture the essence of Mexico wine country. This red blend has aromas of red fruit with notes of herbs and spices for a balanced wine with a slightly bitter finish.

PAIRS WITH: tacos al pastor, steak, scallops



Rimbombante was founded in 2012 by four friends who loved fine wine and art. Each year, they commission Mexican artist, Pedro Friedeberg, to create a special edition wine label that is also a collectible lithograph. This red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah has an intense aroma of dark fruits like currant, plum, and blackberry.

PAIRS WITH: steaks, venison, albondigas (Mexican meatballs)



A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Único Gran Reserva is a high-end, velvety wine. The flavors are well balanced, slow to develop on the palate with a long and smoky finish.

PAIRS WITH: beef, lamb, spicy food, poultry, venison



Piedra de Sol is the perfect wine to enjoy during a hot day. Made from 100% Chardonnay, its refreshing aroma consists of green apple, pear, and citrus. The round flavors of melon, applesauce, and swirl of pear make it very refreshing for the palate, with a crisp note of acidity.

PAIRS WITH: asparagus, oysters, ceviche, tuna


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