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Unforgettable cooking class in Oaxaca

AppleSister Aug 4, 2007 08:03 AM

I've been in Oaxaca for about two months now, halfway through my four-month stay, and I've been avidly eating and learning as much as I can about the food. I went to two classes at Susana Trilling's "Seasons of My Heart" school and loved it, but I had one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life learning to make mole negro in a Oaxacan home with a Oaxacan grandmother. I met Senora Soledad through cooking classes at my Spanish language school, and for $350 pesos or about $35 each, my friend and I spent all day with her and her family in their home just outside Oaxaca making mole negro, from deseeding the chiles to toasting them on a comal in her outdoor wood-burning kitchen, to taking the entire mass of ingredients to the local miller to grind them to a fine paste, and then stirring it in a cazuela for an hour. The mole negro was the best I've ever had, complex, beautiful, and balanced enough not to need much sugar. As Soledad told us, you can't begin to appreciate mole negro until you know what it takes to make it. It's a rare thing for a tourist to be able to spend time with a Mexican family in their home, and Soledad and her family welcomed us like we were old friends. (I wrote a more extensive description of the class for my blog. I'm not promoting it, just want to let people know if they want more information.)

You have to speak some Spanish, but Soledad is used to teaching people who are just learning and knows the English words for all the ingredients, and she also speaks very clearly. I imagine if you wanted to learn something simpler with less expensive ingredients, the cost might be less. If anyone is interested, please contact me by the email address on my profile, and I will give you her phone number.

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  1. Silverjay RE: AppleSister Aug 4, 2007 08:19 AM

    Now that's a chowhound experience for the ages. I enjoyed your blog posting on your day with Soledad and her family. I'd love to hear more on the actual taste of the mole negro, though I'm sure words will be insufficient.....It's nice and hot in Brooklyn today...

    6 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay
      AppleSister RE: Silverjay Aug 4, 2007 08:33 AM

      I wish I could describe it better! Susana Trilling said something that I thought was perfect--if you can taste any one ingredient, you haven't made your mole correctly. It's definitely smoky, and it's a marvel to me how you can prevent something like this from tasting just burnt and bitter. Soledad's was much less sweet than most of the mole I've had in restaurants. Like a fine wine, it kept changing flavors in my mouth.

      1. re: AppleSister
        D Hound RE: AppleSister Aug 5, 2007 06:41 AM

        Can you please post the url for your blog? I'd love to read your post. Thanks.

        1. re: D Hound
          AppleSister RE: D Hound Aug 5, 2007 01:09 PM

          If you click on my name, "AppleSister," you'll see the URL. I'm afraid my reply will be removed if I put the URL here :)

          1. re: AppleSister
            D Hound RE: AppleSister Aug 6, 2007 05:12 AM

            Thanks so much!

            1. re: D Hound
              cristina RE: D Hound Aug 6, 2007 10:51 AM

              AppleSister's blog is really wonderful, so full of life that it's a joy to read.

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              1. re: cristina
                AppleSister RE: cristina Aug 7, 2007 08:22 AM

                Thank you for your kind words--I'm glad you enjoy it, as I started it really just for my family and friends, and not as something I plan to develop into anything more.

    2. j
      jcilley RE: AppleSister Aug 13, 2007 03:27 PM

      i´ll be in oaxaca on thursday of this week and would love to look into this cooking class you speak so highly of. please forward me the phone number if you get this message in time. thanks
      JOdi cilley

      2 Replies
      1. re: jcilley
        eileend RE: jcilley Aug 13, 2007 06:43 PM

        Susan Trilling was a guest on the Oaxaca portion of the Mexico segment on the Travel Channel's show "Bizarre Foods" with Andrew Zimmern. I caught this episode a few nights ago, and it is showing frequently in the next few wks. He went to Seasons of My Heart, her cooking school located in Rancho Aurora, and ate guacamole, 'guasintos' (small grubs), 'tlalluda' (a crispy tortilla with beans, guacamole, worms and grasshoppers). Check it out next time it shows.


        1. re: eileend
          Eat_Nopal RE: eileend Aug 15, 2007 09:35 AM

          You can also watch the episode on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search...

      2. j
        jcatcab RE: AppleSister Oct 30, 2007 04:19 PM

        Wow - I would love to be able to spend time with Soledad. I will be going to Oaxaca on November 10 - can you email me her contact info - what a wonderful experience...I hope to hear from you and hope she has availability

        Joanne (jcatcabr@msn.com)

        1 Reply
        1. re: jcatcab
          Jkarela RE: jcatcab Nov 5, 2007 07:30 AM

          I'm coming on the 11th. Can I get her information too, if that is possible?

          Jim Jkarela@illinoisalumni.org

        2. e
          ewhitlock RE: AppleSister Jan 30, 2009 06:09 PM

          Can I get the contact information for Soledad in Oaxaca please? Thanks!

          1. AppleSister RE: AppleSister Dec 9, 2009 06:40 PM

            Hi everyone, I wrote the original post and just wanted to let you know that unfortunately, I'm not able to share her contact information any more, as it's been a long time and it's not very reliable. I would still definitely recommend Seasons of My Heart.

            Buen provecho!

            1. t
              Tom Moggach RE: AppleSister Dec 23, 2009 04:11 AM

              Hello there, may I please have the number of Soledad? Travelling there in Feb. Best regards, Tom

              1. b
                bestwishesmarie RE: AppleSister May 26, 2010 06:49 PM

                i love oaxaca. unfortunately, suzanna trilling was out of town. i would love the info for the lady whose home you went to. thanks, best wishes, marie

                1 Reply
                1. re: bestwishesmarie
                  AppleSister RE: bestwishesmarie May 28, 2010 08:31 AM

                  Marie, can you email me separately at applesister330 [at] gmail [dot] com? I'd rather not post her personal contact info on the public board.

                2. a
                  amij RE: AppleSister Dec 15, 2010 08:50 AM

                  My family and I are going to be in Oaxaca next week. I saw your posting of cooking with Senora Soledad and found it to be a perfect match for us. Will you please forward me her information? Thank you.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: amij
                    sheilah RE: amij Dec 17, 2010 12:53 PM

                    We're here now -staying near the zocalo. If you are in Oaxaca - contact me. Maybe we can go in together for cooking lessons.


                  2. s
                    sheilah RE: AppleSister Dec 17, 2010 05:09 AM

                    Please may I have Soledad's phone number. I speak Spanish and English and am in Oaxaca now.


                    1. e
                      emiliabudi RE: AppleSister Dec 22, 2011 03:47 PM

                      could I please have Soledad's contact details? I am hoping to go in a few weeks.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: emiliabudi
                        ewhitlock RE: emiliabudi Dec 22, 2011 07:43 PM

                        On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 1:56 PM, Grace Meng <applesister330@gmail.com> wrote:
                        I have her phone number but I haven't spoken to Soledad in over a year and I'm not sure if she's even still doing classes. No one has ever gotten back to me to tell me if they took classes with her. I met her through the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, a Spanish language school where she taught a two-week afternoon class. I then set up a private class for me and my friend to learn how to make mole negro. Also, you will have to speak enough Spanish to arrange the class over the phone. Her number should be 951-512-2162.

                        I would also recommend Susanna Trilling's classes at Seasons of My Heart.

                        Good luck!

                      2. c
                        clehmann RE: AppleSister Nov 14, 2012 12:08 PM


                        I am going to Oaxaca city again in January and am interested in taking at least a few cooking classes. I am interested in meeting Senora Soledad. I would also like to learn a few other moles including the almond one. Have you heard of or taken classes from Nora Valencia whose family owns several B&Bs near Santo Domingo? Is there anyone else you recommend?


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