For Love of the Country” by chef Cesar Castañeda

On Menu We talked with chef Cesar Castañeda and his new gastronomic and social project: Xadithä “For Love of the Countryside”where it seeks to continue with the traditional methods of cooking corn, in addition to supporting the farmers and all the great work they do to take care of the ingredients we eat every day.

“Xadithä” means “corn” in Otomi, and Cesar explains to us that in his kitchen there are always rags with Otomi fabrics, that is why his project receives a name in that language. And what better way to show love for corn – a symbol of Mexican identity – than to name his project with the word “corn” in another language.

The country people are wise, the traditions and their knowledge to harvest on the land are inherited. In an almost intuitive way, farmers know the exact time to harvest and how to care for the land. Without all the workers in the field, the kitchen would not be able to boast of exquisite dishes, since the ingredients are the raw material for the chefs, which is why paying these workers back is important.

The journey that gave birth to Xadithä

Xadithä, chef Cesar Castañeda’s new project, was born from a trip to Magical Town of Chignahuapan in town. In this beautiful place, famous for its Christmas spheres, the chef was enchanted by the flavor of the tortilla and the diversity of the corn that is grown there.

César explains that it all started with a quesadilla. “One day I came to visit my mom and she offered me a cottage cheese quesadilla, I tried it and the tortilla was very thin, resistant and with good consistency, she told me that she had brought them from Chignahuapan and that’s when I decided to go to the place”.

Already in Chignahuapan, chef Cesar met the lady who harvest the corn with whom they work today in Xadithä and she shared all her knowledge with him. He saw how the corn was cooked, visited the fields and even the animals that feed on shelled corn. He also learned about the breeds of corn and other aspects that delighted this chef.

After that experience, chef César began using Xadithä corn in his work area in Tulum, Quintana Roo. He used it in tortillas, tamales, salbutas, soups and other creations, letting himself be carried away by the inspiration of that quesadilla that conquered him one Sunday afternoon.

Photo: Xadithä “For Love of the Countryside”

These are the breeds of corn in Xadithä

For César, the secret to selecting a good cob has to do with its origin. “The origin: sowing, watering, caring for and harvesting with a lot of passion, delicacy and organization, in an empirical way, but respecting our traditions” says chef Cesar.

“My father was a farmer and my mother is excited to see how I get involved with the field from my profession” Cesar tells us.

That is why in Xadithä they carefully select their cobs. The breed of corn they occupy in Xadithä is conical, a breed native to Puebla that is grown at more than 2,000 meters above sea level. The conical corn It is distinguished by having abundant colored semi-floury grains: red “chilayotik”, yellow “costic”, white “iztak” and blue “yahult”.

The difference between the corn in Yucatan and that in Puebla is evident, since the weather conditions are different. In Yucatan, corn is drier as it is earthy and yields less. In Puebla, the place is more humid and the corn grains are milky and yield more. -Caesar explains.

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Uses of maize in Xadithä

Thanks to the versatility of conical corn, it is used 100 percent. With the grains you can prepare tortillas, make flour, salbutes, tamales, huaraches, memelas, encamisados ​​-it is a stuffed tortilla- and even drinks, for example, César tells us that they make a delicious corn and vanilla emulsion.

The remains of corn such as “pelicarpus” – the skin of the grain – are also used to create feed for livestock. In this way, a sustainable product is created where everything is used. And this in turn translates into extra profit for the farmer.

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“The value of the land is in the hands of those who work it”

In “Xadithä: Por Amor al Campo” they seek to offer quality corn, taking care of this basic product of Mexican gastronomy from day one. This project also seeks to give farmers a fair payment for their products, improve their quality of life and, above all, give them the importance they deserve in the world of gastronomy and society in general.

xaditha_project_chef_cesar_castaneda_3.jpgPhoto: Xadithä “For Love of the Countryside”

Xadithä “For Love of the Countryside”
IG: @maiz_xaditha
Points of sale: CMDX, Tulum and Playa del Carmen
Email: [email protected]
Telephones: 55 2756 8777 and 55 7673 6362

Also read: What are tlayudas and what ingredients do they contain?