How to pair tequila Casa Dragones according to renown chefs

Featured in Vogue Mexico, June 17, 2016

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"Enrique Olvera, Matteo Salas y Najat Kaanache talk about their history and give us their tips on how to drink tequila.

San Miguel de Allende, a gastronomic afternoon with some of the best Mexican chefs and a few Casa Dragones tequilas: this must be the best experience anyone that visits this beautiful city must have.

Enrique Olvera is the chef that is in everyone’s mouth nowadays. Pujol, his flagship restaurant, is highly placed in the 50 Best Restaurants of the World list, and Moxi, inside Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, is attracting connoiseurs aroud the world with its contemporary Mexican dishes that revisit traditional recipes and cooking techniques.

“We strive to open amazing restaurants that we can feel proud of as a working team. We have never seen ourselves as Mexican food ambassadors or just promoted our work outside Mexico, that is not our goal, what we want is just create spaces where delicious food is served, where we can honor local, seasonal ingredients, where we can express our cooking principles and our deep love for well made dishes. That’s what I want: I want to come in and feel very proud of what we have achieved.”

Matteo Salas is becoming increasingly known for his recent role as a contestant in the cooking show Top Chef, but it is his culinary excellency what keeps him in the foodie radar. He studied in Europe, where he learned the tools of the trade under the guidance of great cuisiniers such as Pascal Barbot (Astrance) and his dishes show a deep respect for the producers and the ingredients. His restaurants in San Miguel de Allende are Áperi and Jacinto and they both are musts for food lovers.

“What I brought back from Europe is the profound love for local produce, how they used it, how they make those ingredients coming from the country, from the sea, shine in every dish, how they respect and value what comes from nature and is nurtured and delivered to you by the producers, and you want the client to perceive that and see your passion for natural, seasonal ingredients come through in everything you serve.”

Najat Kaanache, a Spanish- Moroccan chef visiting Mexico also allowed us to taste her flavors, with an exotic, colorful flair, just like her.

“For me, cooking is not about feeding the stomach, it’s about feeding souls. When you only want to feed stomachs you do it differently. And I always cook from the heart, trying to express myself as if it was an artwork, this is not just feeding people.”

After having spent an afternoon tasting and sharing exquisite creations by these three talented cooks, paired with Casa Dragones, we asked them how they drink their tequila at home. If you were invited chez Enrique, Matteo or Najat, what would they serve the tequila with? They shared their best tips with us and we can assure you will delight your guests with them.

Tequila a la Enrique Olvera

For Enrique, the only essential ingredient is the best company: “A nice crowd is all you need, I think a good conversation and tequilas are the best combo, when you are hanging out with fun, cultivated people things just flow. What I share with Casa Dragones is precisely that attention to details, the fact that everything is carefully made, every dish honoring the past but looking into the future, I don’t see tequila only as a magic thing lost in the past, it’s modern, fresh and contemporary too.”

Tequila a la Matteo Salas

Matteo shared with us three simple recipes for entertaining that you will love.

“I enjoy drinking my Dragones with some grapefruit supremes dusted in a mix of salt, sugar and chili powder, then you have all the flavors: citrus, sour, salty, sweet and the fresh, fruity grapefruit, if you serve it chilled it’s just perfect, the best company for your tequilas.

Another thing I love is a fresh oyster from Ensenada served with a spicy xoconostle (a sour little prickly cactus fruit) chutney, plus fresh slices of xoconostle, some habanero chile oil and lime juice. It’s a spectacular dish where you can enjoy the smokiness from the grilled oyster that reminds you of the roasted agave notes from the tequila, the citrus, the sweet and sour chutney, and the salty sea flavors, it’s such an ideal match with Dragones.

A yummy alternative is a risotto served with escamoles (edible ant aggs, a Mexican delicacy) and celery root, that has a lovely fresh aniseed note.”

Tequila a la Najat Kaanache

Finally, the Spanish-Moroccan chef gave us her best tequila advice:

“I would serve it with citrus fruit, maybe sliced fruit and a homemade sherbet to go with your Casa Dragones. It also goes well with fresh fish and why not with meat. It has delicate vanilla notes that bring me back memories, I was a Moroccan child that dramed about the soft creaminess from vanilla. When I drink Casa Dragones I find vanilla, cinnamon, pepper hints, three beloved spices where I come from. You can also serve it with a more elaborate dessert, with something refreshing in the summer, with seafood…”"