There is a nice little Mexican import shop in Zurich that we’ve been to a few times. The last time we were there, among other things, we picked up two packages of flour tortillas and a package of handmade tamales. I grabbed the former, and as the baby was screeching, and the store was a little crowded, I had my husband pick out the tamales.

When we got home, I realized I’d failed to read the package of tortillas, and found that they were actually white corn tortillas. We’ve made do with them, though i’m still craving some flour tortillas for some quesadillas. I’m going to Zurich next week and hope to pick some up then.

Tonight I decided I’d cook up the tamales – they were so fat and inviting looking. With one of my chef friend’s help, I jerrigged a steamer for them out of a colander and some tinfoil. When I was putting the tamales in the colander, I noticed a slight cinnamon smell, and thought maybe they tried to do a mole or something, but just popped them in anyway. I also cooked up some rice and spicy beans with chipotle chilies. I served up the rice and beans, and started unwrapping the tamales.

Something was definitely wrong. The tamales were cooked, yes. But there was an overwhelming sweet smell. One of them broke apart as I was transferring it to my plate, and I noticed beans, and no meat, in the tamale. Upon closer inspection, the beans were actually raisins! So, instead of a spicy beef or chicken tamale, we appeared to have a light sweet cinnamon raisin tamale!

They definitely weren’t what we were expecting, but they were absolutely delicious! The corn filling was light light a cake. Heath thought they were a bit like a British-style steamed pudding.

Have any of you ever heard or tasted something like this?

Note to self – you know the words for foods in several different languages – READ THE LABEL!


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