A Taste of Durango, Mexico
Durango is a state of sweeping vistas, colorful deserts, and beautiful, lush greenery surrounding the many waterways and rivers. Balanced on the Mexican plateau, the state is home to a wide variety of geography, ranging from lush forests to subtropical ridge of the southern hemisphere, all of which is nestled alongside the more familiar vistas and desserts. The state is home to just 1,632,934 people making it the second smallest state by population in Mexico, and over 518,709 of its citizens call Durango City or Victoria de Durango their home.
While largely unknown compared to tourist havens like Guadalajara, the state and the city are steeped in the many cultures of the region, which blend native indigenous groups with Spanish, Aztec and modern culture to create a new one all its own. Native tribes including Tepehuános, Huicholes, Coras and Tarahumara still populate the area, making it among the most unique of the Mexican states.
At its southern tip, Durango is crowned by the Victoria de Durango, a city established by Spanish conquistadors, and then built up around local mines, which were used to offer work, and to populate the city. Today, Durango is known for its architecture, ranches, plentiful fish, and indigenous cultures, which blend together to create a unique and beautiful experience.
Many tourists visit Durango each year, and their reasons are as varied as the local environment. The desert areas are most famous for their part in the era of western movies, where legends like John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and Burt Lancaster went to film. Today, the Villa del Oeste exists as a tourist town in remembrance of those films, and visitors can see where films like Billy the Kid and Pat Garret were acted out. However, Durango has much more to offer, with nature watching, exploration, bird watching, rappelling (rock climbing), and more.
Durango City or Victoria de Durango is the most populous place in the state, and draws tourists with its combination of architecture, colonial era buildings, museums such as the Museo Temático del Cine, and a food culture that ranges from upscale fine dining to street food.
Durango features a diverse array of foods and ingredients taken from the many cultures that inhabit the region. While you are sure to find Mexican staples such as tamal, salsa, and chips, the region's culture is heavily dominated by local ranches, meaning that beef is extremely common.
Some regional dishes the area is known for also include foods that you can't get outside of the region, thanks to locally grown ingredients. As a result, few dishes are famous, and many rely on Aztecan and other indigenous influence, making the cuisine unique to the area.
Lomo de Cerdo con Miel de Maguey – This dish features a pork loin slow cooked in Yucca sap, locally known as Maguey (scientifically known as Agave Americana) with pimiento peppers, garlic, coriander, tomatoes, sugar, and honey.
Caldillo Duranguense – A heavy beef soup featuring onions, garlic, tomatoes, chilis, beef steak, and broth. There are dozens of regional variations of this dish, ranging from a thick soup to a thin broth, but all are heavily loaded with chile peppers, both red and green.
Gallina Borracha – Durango is known for it's peanut, almond, and hazelnut sauces, which have been a part of the region's staple diet for thousands of years. Gallina Borracha is a chicken dish served with one of these sauces, although the specific sauce depends on the area.
Queso – Durango is well known for it's queso (cheese), which can feature local ingredients to create a variety of different flavors. Queso is often served in surprising ways, including one of the region's most popular desserts, ate con queso, which consists of a local fruit paste candy and queso or cheese.
Enchiladas – Durango's enchiladas are prepared similarly to those of greater Mexico, but you can often find them with peanut or almond sauce as well as the typical red and green chile sauces.
Steak – Spanish conquistadors moved into Durango, bringing with them Spanish cattle and chickens. Today, Durango consumes more meat than many other parts of spain, and for those with a sweet tooth, Durango produces a range of sweet nut and honey related products, including mostachones, rolled nut candies, brittles, and much more.
Of course, that's not all Durango has to offer, as the region is home to many favorites, including gallinas borrachas (chicken in sherry with pecans, raisins, and almonds), asado de bodas (a chile based stew featuring pork, peanuts, and chocolate), asado de venado (grilled lamb, beef, or deer), chicharrones (fried pork or lamb, but typically served with a local twist of goat or venison as chicharrones de vieja), and much more.
If you're dying to get a taste of Durango and it's cuisine, it starts right here in Ormond Beach with an Agave Fresh Mex and Cantina chef's special. Our Durango Combo features skirt steak and chicken, inspired directly by Durango's ranches and Spanish influence.