Mole sauce is actually redundant”mole” comes from the Nahuatl word mulli/molli, which means “sauce.” Within Mexico itself, mole refers to several different types of sauce, the origins of which are a source of state pride. In addition, mole sauces feature heavily in a variety of traditional celebrations, from weddings to actual mole festivals, so much so that it was once said 99 of Mexicans had tried at least one type.Oaxaca is one state in Mexico which claims to have invented molethe other two are Puebla and Tlaxcala. The earliest recipes date back to just after the 1810 Mexican War of Independence, but folk legends place its beginnings even earlier in colonial times. Given the wide variety of sauces which share the name, it’s hard to pinpoint a common taste or flavor other than chili peppers. In fact, the tastes of mole vary so much that a certain variety could be highly unpleasant for an individual, even if they’re a fan of another version. For this reason, the Spanish phrase “en su mero mole” has come to be analogous to the English phrase “one’s cup of tea.”Mole negro is most often associated with Oaxaca. It’s a dark and heavy challenge for the senses, combining peppers, chocolate, onions, and garlic, along with the hoja santa herb. The herb’s flavor has been likened to licorice, sassafras, mint, and morethe mole itself is almost impossible to describe. Unsurprisingly, mole negro is considered the most difficult of all the varieties to make.The sauce is most commonly eaten over meat, traditionally turkey. Tortillas are usually at hand, partly to sop up the mess, which can be heavy. Depending on the consistency of the version, some question whether it’s a sauce at all. We don’t recommend encountering it plain, though.

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