BY Juan Calvillo
Downtown Los Angeles will spotlight traditional Mexican food Oct. 7, as La Feria de los Moles celebrates 11 years of bringing gastronomic excellence to local communities. The fair introduces locals to, and shows off, the achievements in mole from cooks across Mexico. The goal of the fair is to bring families from near and far closer together by combining the elements of music, food and culture into one day.
Pedro Ramos and Lourdes Juarez are the founders of La Feria de los Moles. Ramos, a native of Mexico, established the “Unión de Poblanos en el Exterior.” The group seeks to help communities in various ways. From much of what Ramos and Juarez said, the fair is about bringing families together over a meal, allowing for customs and cultural ideas to pass from generation to generation.
Ramos said that the idea behind creating the fair dates back to his past with mole. His grandmother, Kailita Cortez, was often sought after for her delicious mole in Pubela, Mexico. Ramos said if he ever had the chance to show off his grandmother’s excellent mole, he would take it. The chance, however, did not come until he arrived in Los Angeles.
The conversation between Ramos, who said that mole Pubelano was the better mole, and the people from Oaxaca, was at first, seen as a joke. Ramos, on the other hand, took it seriously. The conversation and Ramos’ idea to showcase his grandmother’s food, were the seeds that created La Feria de los Moles.
La Feria de los Moles will present moles of various types at the event. There will be more than 13 different types of moles on display, ranging from the more classic mole Poblano and mole Oaxaqueno, to others that challenge the more common tastes of mole. “There are different types of mole… some (chefs) cook it with chicken, others with pork, and others with turkey,“ said Ramos in Spanish.
He said that his travels in search of mole have taken him from Puebla, to Oaxaca, to Veracruz in Mexico. Finding and having access to so many different types of mole isn’t as simple as it may sound. “I dedicate myself to sample mole in the Mexican Republic,” Ramos said.
La Feria de los Moles won’t just be about the food. “This year we are going to have a museum,” Juarez said. The museum will showcase the eras of mole from the pre-hispanic, to the baroque, to the more modern era of mole. Despite mole being traditionally associated with Mexico, its history is hard to decipher. “There are many books and legends that say mole was born in Puebla, with the nuns of the Ex Convento de la Santa Rosa. That was in the 1700’s, when a lot of ingredients from Europe where already in the Americas. Mole became a product of this cultural mash-up,” Juarez said.
For many cultures, the dinner table is where stories like these are passed on. Ramos, Juarez, and the whole of the Feria de los Moles will be giving families the chance to share, talk and pass on stories of their own.
The Feria de los Moles is being held at Grand Park, 200 North Grand Ave, in Los Angeles. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.