Follow these suggestions to make your next Cinco de Mayo party a true celebration of Mexican culture.
Step 1: Know why you're partying Don't call it Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of a small group of Mexican soldiers over a much larger French force on May 5, 1862.
Step 2: Forget the nachos Serve authentic Mexican foods. Cinco de Mayo is about celebrating Mexican culture, so learn about the many regional cuisines of Mexico, and try making dishes from several regions.
TIP: Start with the Puebla region (where the 1862 battle occurred), famous for its spicy mole sauces.
Step 3: Use authentic ingredients Visit a Mexican grocer or shop online for authentic Mexican ingredients such as fresh and dried chiles, Mexican chocolate, Seville oranges, and queso fresco.
Step 4: Sample some new salsas Stir up a batch of salsa verde, salsa di mani, or salsa de arequipa. Salsa may be red or green, sweet or hot, and made with beans, fruit, corn, or peanuts.
Step 5: Serve real Mexican drinks Try a margarita made with blood oranges or pomegranate juice. Whip up a batch of horchata or Mexican hot chocolate, or try a Mexican beer with lime and a shot of hot sauce.
TIP: Look online for authentic Mexican food and drink recipes. A quick search reveals hundreds of web sites about Mexican cuisine.
Step 6: Don't forget dessert Make a flan or a batch of chipotle brownies. Try a candied jalapeno or some avocado ice cream.
FACT: Cinco de Mayo is more popular e in the United States than in Mexico, where it is observed primarily in Puebla.