Yorkshire and Mexican cooking are rarely heard in the same sentence. But Emma Woodward, the impresario behind Chinampas, is determined to change that. For past two years, the Sheffield street vendor has worked hard to convince her fellow Yorkies that Aguas Frescas are the perfect substitute for sugar-laden fizzy drinks and a tasty option at alcohol-free festivals. In Mexico, Agua Fresca is a national drink with origins dating back to the Aztecs. From Chiuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south, Aguas Frescas can be found on the bustling streets and in the food markets all year long. Ice cold and colourful, they’re a perfect complement to the rich, spicy and complex flavours found in Mexican cuisine. The drink is made with fruit, but it is much different from juice. Fruit juice is typically made by squeezing the liquid from the fruit. Agua Fresca starts with fresh water, and the fruit is blended or squeezed into it, resulting in a much lighter and more refreshing drink.
All of Chinampas’ drinks are made to traditional recipes, most of which Woodward collected from vendors in her travels through Mexico. Scribbled on napkins and torn envelopes, once home, she tweaked the recipes to meet British tastes (toning down the sugar content, for one) and hit the road selling her homemade concoctions. Her drinks are produced in small batches, using as many seasonal ingredients as possible. “We keep it simple and don’t add anything that doesn’t need to be there, which means all our drinks are free of artificial flavours, colours and preservatives,” the website notes.
From the website, here are a few of Chinampas’ latest flavours:
- Horchata: Smooth, refreshing rice milk sweetened with almonds, cinnamon and vanilla.
- Sandía: A refreshing summer favourite made with delicious, juicy, Spanish watermelons.
- Piña: Sweet and juicy pineapples whizzed up with fiery Jalapeños and fresh lime.
- Pepino: Yorkshire’s finest cucumbers brought alive with a zesty kick of Mexican lime.
See for yourself!
Hasta la próxima!