Inflation has driven a lot of prices higher this year but by using an iconic Mexican dish as a gauge it is evident that there has been upward pressure since 2012.
Connoisseurs of chiles en nogada are paying almost double to enjoy the delicacy this year compared to 2012 because all of its essential ingredients have been hit by higher prices.
The price in cheaper eateries for the patriotic specialty, whose colors match those of the Mexican flag, has risen by 87.5% in the period corresponding with Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency. That means the dish is usually selling for at least 150 pesos (US $8.40) whereas in 2012 the cheapest price was around 80.
White tablecloth restaurants have increased prices to as much as 400 pesos (US $22) although in Hostería del Santo Domingo — Mexico’s City’s oldest restaurant and considered the cathedral of chiles en nogada — the signature dish is selling for a more reasonable 230 pesos.
The dish is most commonly eaten during the month of September when independence celebrations coincide with the greatest availability of some of its ingredients.
Today, a kilogram of green poblano chiles costs 29 pesos, up 55% on their 2012 price of just over 18 pesos.
Other essential ingredients have also increased.
Beef is up by just over 50% to 128 pesos per kilogram, cream has risen by a similar percentage while pomegranate —which gives the dish its distinctive red-speckled appearance — has spiked by an exorbitant 242% from 18 pesos per kilogram to 63.
The price of the dish’s most expensive ingredient, walnuts — used in its white sauce, has also risen sharply from 306 pesos per kilo in 2012 to around 800 today, a 161% increase, although its price is expected to fall.
Despite the price hike, the vice-president of the restaurant industry association Canirac, Guadalupe Lozano, told the newspaper Milenio that 2.3 million orders of chiles en nogada were still expected to be sold in the state of Puebla alone this year.
Traditionally served at room temperature, dish originated in Puebla but has been adopted by and become popular in many other states.
Nuns reputedly served the dish to Agustín de Iturbide when he passed through the city of Puebla with the Army of the Three Guarantees in 1821 — the year Mexico won its independence from Spain — adding to its patriotic flavor and the esteem in which it is held. Most of the ingredients are still grown in the state.
Lozano explained that San Nicolás de los Ranchos, a mountain town in the shadow of the volcano Popocatépetl that holds an annual chiles en nogada fair, was a primary source for ingredients while the poblano pepper mainly comes from nearby San Martín Texmelucan and pomegranate is harvested in Tehuacán.
For those thinking about making the classic dish at home, Lozano said the cost to make six chiles en nogada was between 1,200 and 1,500 pesos.
Source: Milenio (sp)