Mexico’s epic history has bequeathed it some of the richest cultural traditions on the planet. A combination of more than 50 pre-Hispanic cultures and its Spanish invaders have left a unique and iconic legacy. For the shopper there’s a wealth of goods to buy, from time honoured crafts to modern quirky design.
Judith Jones seeks out the best in traditional craftsmanship in the tranquil village of Patzcuaro. Fishermen and master carvers produce outstanding pieces depicting nature and religious themes in this tranquil haven by the side of a lake. Spiritual communication is also at the heart of Huichol art, known for its colourful bead design, which uniquely has recently been applied onto a Volkswagen bug in collaboration with the Museum of Popular Art.
Even chocolate comes in many colours here, but the most commonly used is mole, a savoury chocolate sauce usually served with chicken. For a sweet version of the local treat the best destination is Tout Chocolat where chocolatier Luis Robledo turns Mexican chocolate and flavours such as lime and passion fruit into delectable pralines.
For upmarket shopping the silver town of Zacatecas presents a haven for magpies with sillversmiths offering their unique designs hewn from silver that for centuries has been mined in the town’s very own hills.
Ciudadela Market in Mexico City is the place to come for souvenirs, including Aztec inspired masks and sun stones, but for something a bit more special, such as a made to measure mariachi suit you have to go off the beaten path. The Arreola family are known as the Christian Dior of the trade and they offer the whole range from sombreros to neckties and boots. Another family famous for its craft are the Linares who design fantastical paper mâché sculptures that are valued by museums and collectors around the world.
For spells and magic potions the witches market is a treasure trove of weird and wonderful gifts reflecting Mexico’s rich belief system. Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most famous artists, was a proud promoter of local folklore, much of which are depicted in the celebrated murals that can be found all over town, including the splendid Palacio Nacional – but you can also see how the great artist lived and worked at his modernist studio that caused quite a stir with its construction.
Read our Mexico shopping guide here
with thanks to
MINISTRY OF TOURISM MEXICO
MEXICO CITY TOURISM
MEXICO CITY FILM COMMISSION
SECRETARIA DE CULTURA MEXICO DF
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ANTROPOLOGÍA E HISTORIA
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES
MUSEO DE ARTE POPULAR
MUSEO CASA ESTUDIO DIEGO RIVERA Y FRIDA
MUSEO FRIDA KAHLO
GRUPO REAL TURISMO – QUINTA REAL HOTEL, ZACATECAS
HOTEL MANSION ITURBE
PLAZA SUITES HOTEL, MEXICO CITY
TISA GABRIEL, CARTA – THE CAMINO REAL TRAIL ORGANIZATION
CAMINO REAL, CHIHUAHUA (JOSE ESQUIBEL, JOSE LUIS PUNZO DIAZ, DR. R. B. BROWN)
LA FAMILIA LINARES
LA COMUNIDAD HUICHOL
titles and graphics
SOHO SQUARE STUDIOS
title music by
MALCOLM LAWS & NAINITA DESAI
post production coordinator
post production assistant
PETER BOYD MACLEAN
Produced by Pilot Film and TV Productions for:
© Pilot Productions MMXII