If you don’t know too much about glorious Oaxaca in central-south Mexico, you might not be aware that this place is a bonafide gastronomic paradise. Like, f’realz, people travel half way around the world just to eat here and with good reason. In fact, I did just that on my first ever trip to Oaxaca way back in 2010. At that time, I visited Mexico because I was doing a medical trial for travellers’ diarrhoea (glam, glam, endless glam) and I could pick a place in Mexico to visit. Me and my flatmate chose Oaxaca pretty much because we read that it’s “the street food capital of Mexico” again and again.
And that is exactly what it is. Now that I am living here, I am going to be uncovering all of the incredible things to eat on the streets of Oaxaca, and telling you exactly where you can find them – and this is my first instalment.
This time, I am going to be covering “nieves”. When I ordered a nieve in Mexico City, it would always mean a water based ice cream – so essentially a sorbet. Here in Oaxaca, it can refer to milk based or water based ice creams, and more often than not, they actually taste as though they are somewhere between the two – milky and icy at the same time.
Frosty and delicious nieves.
And while you can grab a nieve in many spots in Oaxaca (by walking along Alcala, or visiting Llano Park on a Friday) there is one nieve selling spot that trumps all the rest and that is Nieves la Soledad. In fact, “Nieves la Soledad” is a nickname that is given to the plaza outside of a beautiful church called Basilica de la Soledad, and it is so called because obvs, there are amazing nieves to be had there. In fact, in the whole plaza, nieves and a few other little sweet tidbits are the only things that you can purchase and it’s kinda sweet to see old Mexican couples, tourists, and local families all tucking into their delicious nieves side by side.
The church and the plaza where you can devour nieves.
When you choose your flavour of nieve, you will be spoiled for choice. Like, usually it takes me a good half an hour to actually decide which combination I am going to devour. But the good news is that all kinds of flavours exist to suit every kind of palette. You can opt for something fruity such as fresa (strawberry), zaramora (blackberry) or mamey (a local fruit), or something alcoholic in the form of tequila and mescal nieves, or something sweet and creamy like coco (coconut) or chocolate.
A typical nieves menu
BUT if you are visiting Oaxaca and want to try something that is typical of the region, the flavour you absolutely need to try is “leche quemada”. The translation is “burned” milk, and as you might guess, the taste is like milk with a smokey and sweet edge – totally delicious. Enjoy!
You can find Nieves La Soledad at El Calvario 107 in the centre of Oaxaca.