Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Product Review: Guadalajara Wild Agave Nectar

One afternoon while wandering around Matehuala, San Luís Potosí, México, as an LDS missionary [1], a street vendor approached my companion [2] and me. As we chatted with him, he offered us something from his cart, free of charge. What he gave us was called quiote (kee-OH-tay; mouse over for IPA).[3] It comes from the maguey cactus (Agave americana).[4] When the maguey cactus is ready to reproduce it sends up a flower stalk. This stalk is filled with agua miel (literally "honey water")—which is what we call agave nectar. To make quiote, this stem is harvested, toasted, and cut into slices. To eat quiote you bite off a piece and masticate it, extracting the juices, but don't swallow the pulp (similar to the way you would eat fresh-cut sugarcane).

My verdict: This was only 15% agave nectar. The rest was water. So it was pretty dilute and noticeably so. Even diluted, the agave nectar is slightly tangy and has, for lack of a better term, a 'wild' flavor to it. I can imagine some people not liking that aspect of it. I didn't appreciate that it came in a sealed bag with no identifiable way to open it without spilling it all over the place. (I only spilled a little bit.) I like agave nectar, but not enough to go to the trouble of finding it—especially when it's only 15% juice and comes in poor packaging.[5]


[1] For those who are unsure why Latter-day Saints (Mormons) go on missions, I recommend you visit here and here, where you can learn more about LDS beliefs concerning sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have more questions, ask and maybe I'll do a full post on the topic.

[2] LDS missionaries preach in pairs, which we call companionships.

[3] The word quiote is derived from the Náhuatl word quiotl, which means "stem" or "shoot".

[4] The agua miel is often fermented to make several alcoholic drinks—mezcal and pulque are made from the agua miel of the maguey (Agave americana); tequila is made from the related plant, blue agave (Agave tequilana).

[5] See my posts The Woes of Packaging Part I and Part II.

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