Mexican cuisine is as varied as the topography of this beautiful country. From the coastal shores of
the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the country come seafood dishes such as ceviche and shrimp
enchiladas, and from the mountainous interior more hearty fare like black beans and tamales.
Geography often dictates local food tradition, and Mexico is certainly a fine example of this. The interior region of Mexico is particularly favorable for corn cultivation and the foods of that area feature corn based recipes. Corn tortillas and tamales made from corn meal known as masa, appear regularly on the table. Black beans and re-fried beans are both an integral part of Mexican cuisine and, along with rice, combine to provide an important staple of the diet. Although influenced by the Spanish that arrived in the 15th century, many of the traditions of Mexican cooking have been handed down by the original Mayan population. The tortillas, unleavened bread, which are made of both flour and corn have been prepared by hand for centuries and continue to grace the table at every meal. Likewise, mole sauce, which is prepared using an intoxicating blend of chiles, chocolate, and spices is an ancient recipe that is regional in its preparation and universally delicious.