The Capirotada Fair 2019 at Ajijic Malecon
The fifth annual “Féria de la Capirotada” was held again at the park along the Ajijic malecon, Saturday, April 6th, 2019. It started at three in the afternoon but this year I went an hour early so I could get photos before the crowd arrived.
This event also celebrates the beginning of spring. Capirotada, bread pudding, is only made during the Lenten season, especially on Good Friday.
For people who are not Catholic, lent begins six weeks before Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday, March 6th this year, and ends on April 18th. The next day is Good Friday. It is a time of fasting and penance to reflect what Christ went through on those days.
These days people often choose to give up something they like instead of fasting. Maybe giving up their internet? Or Cell phones? But Good Friday is the day when Capirotada is served the most.
The first Capirotada recipe was recorded in 1640. Through all these years it has been revised by probably thousands of creative cooks. But the basic ingredients are always there. Each ingredient represents a part of the passion of Christ. The bread represents the body of Christ.
The sweet syrup represents his holy blood. The cinnamon sticks represent the wooden cross. The raisins are reminders of the nails in the cross.
The cooks varied from individuals to couples to groups. Both men and women were involved. But they all had smiles in common.
At the end of the day there are prizes given out to the most popular capirotadas. Votes are cast by the People’s Choice tasting and voting system and also by a panel of qualified judges.
The group in the above photo were from the Tecnológico de Chapala 1.
Believe it or not, that is a watermelon in the above photo. Carved by the young woman in the previous photo.
In 2017, there were 17 stands. In 2018 there were 27 stands. And this year, 2019, there were 34 stands. Obviously, this event is becoming more popular every year.
You can see from all these photos that all the capirotadas are different. They range from the traditional dark ones to the light ones, made with cream and fruit in the above photo. But they all are delicious.
I was told that the woman in the above photo was responsible for making three different Capirotada dishes. Yet she still managed to look relaxed and beautiful. I can’t imagine doing that without being a wreck.
Lee Hopper was born in the United States but grew up in Ajijic. He started this contest five years ago to promote the preservation of the traditional Capirotada because he loved it in his youth.
The samples were served two different ways. Above is a photo of the paper muffin cups and below is a photo of the small pottery bowls. These bowls were also sold for twenty pesos if you didn’t want to use the muffin cups.
The above recipe had many nuts and dry fruits. I didn’t taste this one. I couldn’t taste them all, unfortunately.
Among the crowd, these children managed to find a spot for playing. Do you think they are having fun?
Finall, the event opened up for tasting and each booth was flooded with hungry people. As I looked around at the crowd I didn’t see many expats. The ones I had talked with before the event did not know what Capirotada was and so they weren’t going to the event. Too bad for them. I hope next year the word will get around and more expats will attend and maybe even participate in making a Capirotada of their own to share.
Lee Hopper sold raffle tickets again this year. The profits go to local charities. Many restaurants donate free meals as prizes. It is good advertising for them and helps the charities. Win win for everyone, especially for the lucky ticket holders.
After reading this article, if you want to be part of next year’s Féria, you can contact Lee Harper by way of his e mail address. Feriacapirotada@earthlink.net
I took a walk along the malecon. The water was all the way to the edge of it. It was a beautiful day. I am the lucky winner to be living here.
Looks like we are coming to the end of this year’s Féria. Not much left to serve.
I felt about as tired as the little boy in the photo above after eating all that bread pudding. Time to go home and take my own nap.
I hope to make it to next year’s event. If you are around, don’t miss it. Your stomach will be grateful.