When Penta Tequila invited me to a tequila tasting + tamale making class this afternoon, I was ecstatic. I’ve never made tamales before and I’ve never taken a tequila tasting class so I was intrigued!
Penta Tequila was created by five Napa Valley winemaker friends who love enjoying tequila together and is made using 100% blue weber agave made from five states in Mexico: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. (Penta, by the way, means five in Greek.) They are passionate about their tequila, which is diffuser-free and additive-free and is made from a winemakers perspective. Joe Pat from Penta Tequila explained to our group that good tequila starts with good farming and Penta does something unusual: the farmers remove the green fronds from their agave plants, which removes the bitterness from the tequila. It’s naturally quite sweet and delicious!
We started the tasting with Penta Tequila Diamanté Reposado Cristalino ($100), which is so crystal clear that it looks like water. It’s incredibly smooth and very easy to drink. It smells a bit like caramel and vanilla bean but to me it tastes like papaya and ripe melon. I loved it! Joe recommended trying tequila with sushi and crudo dishes. I’ve never tried tequila with sushi. Sign me the heck up!
Next we tried the Penta Tequila Reposado ($125), which has a light amber color and a distinct smoky flavor. This is when Joe brought up why there were oranges on the table. He said that people always have limes with tequila but the acidity in limes kills the agave flavors whereas orange slices complement it. I took a sip of the Reposado and then took a bite of orange and was blown away. I’m never going back. I have seen the light. Tequila and oranges, people! Tequila and oranges.
We then took a tamale break. (I wish I could take a tamale break every Tuesday afternoon!) Chef Olivia Lopez, one of Dallas’ rising stars in the Mexican food scene, taught us how to make traditional holiday tamales in the Aztec tradition. Just when you think your day can’t get any better! Chef Olivia imports heirloom corn from Mexico and makes everything she can with masa. Chef Olivia and her partner Jonathan are passionate about farming and you can taste the difference in the food. Jonathan, for instant, grew all of the peppers in the salsa and well…we’ll get to the salsa in a minute.
I had a blast learning how to make tamales and Chef Olivia made my whole week when she looked over at my tamale mid-wrap and said, “Your tamales looks perfect!” *grin* We made a plant-based tamale with sweet potato and peppers during the class but Chef had also prepared pork, chicken, and turkey mole tamales for us to go. (I kept thinking this event couldn’t get any better but it just kept getting better!)
They set a couple tamales in front of us to sample (food blogging is hard work but somebody’s got to do it) and that’s when I saw the love of my life, Chef Olivia’s salsa, for the first time. I took a tentative sniff. I’m not really a salsa person. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this on The Rose Table before but I don’t really like spicy food so I don’t typically try salsa. The word salsa doesn’t even cover it. I was so captivated by the layers of flavors and intoxicating scent, I dove a fork straight in and I swear I heard trumpets sounding with that very first bite. If anyone tried to speak to me in that moment, I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard them. All I heard was Ella Fitzgerald singing, “Heaven….I’m in Heaven….” Buy her salsa from Molino Oloyo in Dallas and see what I mean.
Okay, back to the tequila. Last but not least was the Penta Tequila Añejo ($150), aged 14 months in seasoned Hungarian, French, and American oak barrels. It’s a beautiful rose gold color and to me tastes a lot like caramel frosting. Delicious!
I hope you had fun reading about my tequila tasting/tamale making afternoon! Learn more about Penta Tequila here. Thank you so much to Penta Tequila for hosting me at this event and to Chef Olivia and Jonathan for teaching me how to make tamales!