Communities in which we work:
Santa Catarina Minas
A quaint village about 45 minutes outside of Oaxaca city in the Ocotlán valley, Minas is highly regarded for maintaining the tradition of distilling their mezcal in clay pots. A practice that might date back 3,500 years, it’s a tradition that is quickly being lost; we visit with some of the producers who are committed to keeping this type of mezcal production alive. Minas produces the ultimate small batch mezcal, typical productions are about 90 liters! We tour mezcal production sites known as palenques, learning about the distillation process, the history of the distillery, and the beverage directly from mezcal producing families, eat where the locals do, and of course sample mezcal right at its source. Depending on if you book a half or full day, we visit one or two palenques. You can purchase this extremely rare mezcal directly from the producers, we gladly help you pack it for travel.
Teotitlán del Valle
This indigenous Zapotec village is nestled in the Tlacolula valley, 40 minutes outside of Oaxaca city. While surrounded by magueyes and mezcal production, Teotitlán is known for its incredible handmade rugs and textiles. Since pre-Hispanic times, the people of this village have been using naturales materials to hand dye their wool. While the village prides itself on its rich textile history, it is also considered a culinary treasure within Oaxaca's eight regions. Dishes particular to this village include segueza, a pre-Hispanic mole, mole amarillo de pan or mole de castilla, as well as other Oaxacan favorites like tamales, mole negro, and sopa de guías. Partnering with the first all women's cooperative in the village, we hear about their amazing story as well as learn from them the secrets of Zapotec design, natural dye, and traditional cooking as well as traditional medicine.
Known in Zapotec culture as the place where souls pass from this life to the next, Mitla is home to world renown ruins boasting beautiful grecos. It might be equally as famous for its chocolate de agua blanca (white water hot chocolate); drinking it is a truly an otherworldly experience! An hour outside of Oaxaca, we explore Mitla´s regional gastronomy as well as visit with an antiques dealer who has a vast knowledge of the region's history as well as a large collection of mezcal storing vessels-black clay cántaros and glass damajuanas and garrafones. Mitla is also home to a rich weaving tradition in which artisans practice diverse techniques to create cotton blouses, shawls, and wool sashes. On our Handcrafted Goods Outings, we explore weaving on both back strap and pedal looms.
The economic and cultural hub of the Sierra Sur, the Miahutalán area is a biodiversity hotspot. It boasts an immense variety of mezcal producing agaves endemic to the area, resulting in some of the most complex and rare mezcals in all of Mexico. The region's cuisine creates a perfect compliment to its traditional drink resulting in regional specialities like shobatá, a bean soup with masa dumplings, and a party favorite, barbacoa de chivo, or goat roasted in an earth oven. The Monday market is not to be missed as people from the surrounding communities come to the market to sell their goods: organic and heirloom vegetables from their fields, wild honey, freshly baked bread, traditional mezcal, and strange local delicacies like palo de chile. Literally translated it means chili stick: a twig that when you nibble on it, it makes your mouth go temporarily numb! A great substitute for salsa when you're on the go. We offer several mezcal, gastronomic, and artisan experiences in this region to dive deep into the cultural heritage of traditional mezcal.
Mezcouting is a small Mexican and American team with backgrounds in traditional mezcal, food systems, and sustainable community development. Mezcouting was created in 2016 to bring those curious about the culture, history, and gastronomy surrounding traditional mezcal in Oaxaca through intimate and personal experiences. We have spent the last eight years scouting and creating unique experiences in the heart of mezcal country to ensure that your trip to Oaxaca is unforgettable.
Our community partners are long time friends and often relatives of ours. Our experiences promote rural and sustainable tourism as well as generate economic opportunity for the people of the regions in which we work. In addition to compensating each of our community partners for their time, where possible we take part in community projects in the villages we visit. In Santa Catarina Minas we give to and participate in programs at Biblioteca El Rosario, in Teotitlán del Valle we give to the annual community service project of the women´s cooperative we work with, and are investing in a future youth center in the Miahuatlán region. Ask us how you can get involved or become a donor to these projects.
Our outings are not tours in the traditional sense but rather a day long experience in a rural Oaxacan community. Our experiences facilitate visiting with and learning from our community partners, sometimes just hanging out in people’s homes and hearing their stories, savoring local food and drink, resting in hammocks, and enjoying the landscape. Our participants come from all walks of life to learn about traditional mezcal, traditional gastronomy, hand crafted goods, and the culture and people around traditional mezcal production. If you are a traveler that prefers more structure in their experience we recommend our outings in Santa Catarina Minas and Teotitlán del Valle. We hope you'll join us for an unforgettable experience in Oaxaca's rural communities!