My SO when I lived in DF had a home in Michoacan where we spent many lovely weekends. She introduced me to huitlacoche, that curious, blue-black fungus that sometimes camps out on corn. I used to call it "corn cancer", but her soups and casseroles with huitlacoche were so delicious that I was an easy convert to the delicacy. In season, we would drive around endlessly to every little town where little ladies had collected it for sale, and we bought all of it that we could find. It freezes OK. Of course it not limited to Michoacan. BTW, the regional art of Michoacan, wooden items featuring lillies and hummingbirds with cobalt blue lacquer, is very distinctive.
And, of course, in summer, other mushrooms are sold, but they are not necessarily unique to Michoacán. http://www.pbase.com/panos/mushroom_madness
Other, lesser known Michoacán foods are "huaráz", or "Raíz de chayote", a balnd and somewhat startchy tuber that takes on a new personality when par-cooked, peeled,sliced, battered and fried, then simmered in a salsa colorada.This is commonly found in "La Ca˜ãda de los Once Pueblos", between Carapan and Zamora.
Ollie, there are quite a few posts about Michoacan already on this board. Look for threads about Patzcuaro (excellent street dining), Morelia, Quiroga, Uruapan. This is a popular CH destination. Patzcuaro is good for nieves, enchiladas placeras, tacos, atole de grano, sopa tarasco and a myriad of other items. Morelia does better with the upscale dining since it's a much large city with deep colonial roots. Las Mirasoles, Las Mercedes, the restaurant at the Villa Montana all do good Mexican food. Mirasoles also offers a Purepecha menu. A lot of the sidewalk cafes in the portales in Morelia are quite nice. I like Cafe Europa, and the Best Western Casino cafe does a very nice breakfast. There are two small cafes on the Plaza de las Rosas that are a relaxing and pleasant place for coffee and a nibble, but my recent experience was that service was slow and not terribly efficient, even by Mexican standards.
Carnitas are the specialty of Michoacan and I've eaten them all over the state. A lot of people swear by Quiroga, I wasn't so impressed. The best carnitas I've had in Michoacan were in Zamora, not exactly on the tourist track.
Corundas and uchepos are the Michoacan version of the tamal. Corundas are large, triangluar masa packets wrapped in fresh corn husks (see photo below). Michoacan is a dairy state and corundas are often filled with doble crema or other cheese. Uchepos are usually small and unfilled. I find them a little on the sweet side, but I do like them.
From the culinary standpoint, Michoacan rivals Oaxaca and exceeds most other Mexican states. The dining options are diverse and plentiful.
Are you looking for something in particular?
Yes, we live full time in Michoacán.
Here are a few of the outstanding dishes that we have so far tried:
Carnitas estilo Quiroga. http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/67072071
Barbacoa in Quiroga. http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/67072070
Corundas con rajas, salsa, crema y queso.
Atole de grano ( a soup of the evening, beautiful soup) http://www.pbase.com/panos/atole_de_grano
And more birria, a different style, in Tangancícuaro.
All available in Pátzcuaro and neighboring towns, except as noted.
Another treat, found mostly in Morelia, are the "Gaspachos Morelianos", large cups of mixed, chopped tropical fruit laced with chile, aged cheese, salt on lime o como te gusta. These in the photo are in Pátzcuaro, in the mercado. Front row, backed by a chorus of other fruit treats. http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/53063732
Street food in general. Note that some of the photos in this gallery are from Mexico City and elsewhwere, but they are captioned. http://www.pbase.com/panos/street_food