History of Chiles en Nogada
Agustin de Iturbide was a military commander who fought in Mexico's War of Independence, and later went on to become Emperor of Mexico from 1822 to 1823. In August of 1821, he signed the Treaty of Cordoba, which granted Mexico its independence. The treaty was signed in Veracruz and afterward he traveled to Mexico City. Stopping on the way in Puebla, the townspeople decided to hold a feast to celebrate the country's independence from Spain, and to honor Agustin de Iturbide on his saints' day (Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo, August 28). The Augustinian nuns of Santa Monica convent wanted to prepare a special dish using local ingredients that were in season. They came up with the chile en nogada, which means chile in walnut sauce.
Chiles en Nogada Season
Chiles en Nogada is a seasonal dish. It is prepared and eaten during the months of August and September, which is the time of year when the key ingredients, the pomegranates and walnuts, are in season. Chile en nogada season also coincides with Mexican Independence day festivities. Since this dish contains ingredients that are the colors of Mexico's flag - red, white, and green - it is considered a very patriotic and festive dish. If you happen to be in Mexico during Chile en Nogada season, be sure to try it.
Where to Try Chiles en Nogada
There are many restaurants in Mexico where you can sample Chiles en Nogada during summer and fall. In Mexico City, good restaurants to sample this traditional Mexican dish are the Hosteria de Santo Domingo, or Azul y Oro. In Puebla, where the dish originated, the Casa de los Muñecos restaurant is a popular choice. If you like to cook, consider making your own chiles en nogada. Here's a recipe for chiles en nogada from About.com's Guide to Mexican Food, or try this vegetarian version.
Dining in Mexico: