Chile Cook Off in New Mexico & NM Cuisine Options
Chile & New Mexican Cuisine
Red or Green?If this is your first visit to New Mexico, you may be wondering why the waiters keep asking you the same question: red or green? In case you haven’t figured it out by now, your friendly New Mexican server isn’t asking you about your preferred holiday color palate. No, he’s asking you which color chile (not chili) you’d like atop your burrito or relleno.
Chile is much more than just a condiment in New Mexico; it’s virtually its own food group. Hatch green chilies, growing only in the town of Hatch, New Mexico, are renowned. Hatch, and other varieties of New Mexican chiles are, in fact, the defining ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. Chimayo, New Mexico is renowned for the distinctive heirloom Chimayo chile with a robust earthy flavor.
Here you’ll find chile added to just about anything and everything from pizza and beer (yes, green chile beer), to cheeseburgers and chocolate. In the fall when the smell of roasting chili floats through the air throughout the state, you'll find an incredible number of festivals, fiestas and chile cook offs dedicated to this humble capsicum. The level of heat varies widely between different strains of pepper, the time of year, even the crop from which it came. Even if you don’t enjoy spicy foods, you may find a type of chile in New Mexico that you just can’t live without.
Three chile festivals not to be missed include: