The city of Puebla was a super surprise. I expected the food to be good but I had no idea quite how wonderful it can be. My friends Nuria and Fernando drove me to all ends to find great, representative food. I'll go into some of my favorites later.
Nuria was also helpful in taking me to market after market to check out the beans. Like most markets in Mexico, inside was full of grain stalls that seemed to have three or four beans, rice and assorted dried dog food, all in sacks ready to be scooped. You tend to see the same beans in all the stalls. They vary by region but within the region, they tend to be similar. Then you leave the covered market and wander around the edges and you find the smaller (as in tiny) farmers and Indian women and this is where you find the real gems.
Normally the women are sitting on the ground behind their wares and if you start to ask questions, you learn that these women know how to grow the beans, how to harvest them and of course, how to cook them. Just for the experience, I always buy something from these vendors because you always end up learning something.
Anyway, The Bean this trip was called Parraleño. It looks almost like steel. Some people felt it looked like a snake. I was assured by someone who never made them that they'd cook up like a black bean. They were wrong but they did cook up deep and dense and rich. I think I've found a new favorite. I'll be growing them at our trial gardens in Napa this summer but I'm also working with the small farmer who grew them in Mexico. There's a chance this may be our first imported bean. I'll keep you posted!