The curious story of how a Russian colony brought the real Mediterranean diet to the Guadalupe Valley: wine, oil, cheese and olives. Flavors made in Mexico taking you all the way to Greece, Italy or Spain. Incredible!
Exploring the Guadalupe Valley is going into territory few would associate to traditional Mexico. As the road stretches through vineyards and orchards, the landscapes and the flavors of the Mediterranean diet bring memories of the warm hills embracing mythical Mare Nostrum.
The Russian colony that arrived to the Guadalupe Valley
It was the Spanish missionaries who first brought wine to Baja California. However most of the vineyards of the Guadalupe Valley were cultivated by Molokan Russians, a pacifist group that exiled to Mexico in the early 20th century fleeing Czarist repression. Today some descendants of that Russian colony still make wine in wineries like Bibayoff and Pasión Biba. You can learn about their fascinating story at the Museo Comunitario Ruso, managed by the Samarín family, who kept the original house and turned it into an interesting museum filled with memorabilia from the Russian families that originally settled in the Valley and, surprisingly enough, were the ones responsible for bringing the Mediterranean diet to the Guadalupe Valley.
Mediterranean bites at the #BCWineTrail
At the same location as the museum you will find an extraordinary shop where you can taste different varieties of the craft cheese they make, their own award-winning wine, breads, olives, oils and preserves. If you notice, Mediterranean diet is present in this typical products and in the aromatic herbs: oregano, rosemary, thyme and basil flavor cheeses, tapenades and jellies. Feels like Italy, however all products are made in Mexico, locally, by the same people selling them.
Black olive tapenade
In every shop you will find different versions of this delicious olive pate, so traditional in the Mediterranean. Here’s the recipe for this delicious dish.
Ingredients: 100 g dried tomatoes, 100 g boneless black olives, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 anchovy, fresh basil, oregano, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, sugar and pepper, and a dash of olive oil.
Preparation: Re-hydrate the tomato in water until it’s tender. Put all ingredients in a morter or a food processor and blend until you have a paste. Add more oil if you like it less dense and adjust the salt. If it turned out acid add more sugar. Serve over toast for a snack or a simple, exquisite appetizer.
At the Francisco Zarco village, the heart of the Wine Trail, you will find another little shop full of surprises: Sol de Media Noche. Very kindly they will offer you a tasting of cheeses, sauces and wines, the basis of Mediterranean diet. Do not hesitate to take with you any of their delicious products, they are all hand made. And if you are near LA Cetto, stop by Doña Lupe, where products are equally locally crafted and top quality. Here you will find, besides sauces, wines and preserves of Mediterranean inspiration, an interesting collection of medicinal herbs to help with any ailments. Healthy Mediterranean diet, with delicious products made in Mexico!
Click on the map to find the best Mediterranean food in the #BCWineTrail
What will the weather be like at the Guadalupe Valley?
From traveler to traveler
In pure valley style, delicatessen shops are quaint, unpretentious and, at the same time, irresistible like the products they offer, often made by the same family. Typically the stores will offer free tastings of their products, extensively explained by the same person who made them. If you don´t want to buy anything it’s OK, just remember to leave a tip for the courtesy.
Before you come check out all the traveler information on the Baja California Wine Trail, including wineries, hotels and restaurants in the Valley.
If you are coming from the USA, keep in mind you may only bring back one bottle of wine per person duty free.