With a rich and velvety texture unlike any other sauce, mole is a unique concoction that is indigenous to Mexico, and served with pride at Mexican restaurant, Papatzul. The sophisticated blend of flavors allows mole sauce to be served as an entrée, normally with chicken or cheese on top of fresh tortillas and a side of rice.
Like many beloved foods, mole's true origins aren’t fully known. When it comes to the history of mole sauce, the nuns at Puebla Convent of Santa Rosa in the sixteenth century may be the ones to thank. When they heard that the Archbishop was visiting, they searched for food to serve him. When they found nothing they prayed until an angel appeared and showed them an assortment of ingredients, such as unsweetened chocolate, roasted chili peppers, walnuts, stale breadcrumbs, chicken stock and other items combined to make a dark mole sauce.
While this story is debatable, mole sauce is definitely a Mexican specialty with the black mole sauce containing chocolate as the reigning favorite. At Mexican restaurant Papatzul, other varieties like rich Almond Mole served with the Slow Roasted Duck Enchiladas or Corn Tortillas with chicken and rice are a treat. While many people associate chocolate with this sauce, other ingredients like peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts may be used. The flavors of roasted chili peppers however, remain a constant feature adding in the heat that is so often found in Mexican food.
There are many states throughout Mexico that claim to be the origin of mole, but the states with the best known mole are Puebla and Oaxaca. In America, mole sauce was made famous on the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host. The story goes that after a guest brought Carson some mole to taste he began to choke on it. This episode was never aired, but word spread fast, making mole a household name.
In the Mexican culture, mole sauce signifies a celebration, an important addition to meals at weddings, banquets and birthday parties. In Mexico when people say "to go to a mole" they mean to go to a wedding. This treat is also perfect as a quick dish, sautéed perfectly with bits of tortilla and cheese or even scrambled eggs. The most important thing to remember when it comes to mole sauce is the use of multiple ingredients that need to be roasted and stewed for that classic thick texture. In honor of this beloved sauce, a mole cookoff is held each year at the October National Mole Fair in San Pedro Atocpan, located near Mexico City. Mole aficionados come to taste hundreds of dishes from mole chefs, some taking two to three days to prepare.
For lovers of mole sauce and all Mexican food, Papatzul has this process down to a science, always serving diners the most delicious mole!