Legend has it that once the building of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral came to a close, right on the heart of the city of Puebla, the question of how to raise an 18,000 pound bell to the top of its towers (the highest ones in Latin America) came about. This question caused sleepless nights for the engineers and construction workers. It looked like an impossible task.
However, one morning, the city of Puebla awoke to the news that the bell was already atop of the tower, pealing with joy. “But who took it up there and how?” everyone was asking. And since it looked like a miracle, no one doubted that angels probably had come down to raise the bell to what is its resting spot since then.
This legend is the reason this beautiful city is known as Puebla de los Angeles. However, there are many other reasons to assure that its streets, views and specially, its flavors, are full of a heavenly sense.
Nestled in the middle of Mexico, under the imposing view of the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes, Puebla opens its doors and boasts its official titles: It was named a “heroic” city for being the site where Mexican troops’ defeated the French army in 1862 (Battle of Puebla); and it was also named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Nevertheless, what makes this beautiful city most proud is its food, one of the most emblematic and delicious in Mexico. Known as the world’s mole, chiles en nogada and chalupas capital, Puebla takes us close to paradise with deserts that can only be attributed to a heavenly creativity: sweet potatoes, the Santa Clara cakes, and the pecan and pine nut fudge are just the beginning of a long listing that could very well be accompanied with chubby cherubs’ faces.
Puebla is one of the oldest Mexican cities. Its design, also attributed to angels, goes back to 1532. A pleasant climate and a strategic location soon made it the second most important city in Colonial Mexico.
On their route towards Mexico City, the merchandise of ships arriving from the Philippines would first go through Puebla, which slowly but surely assimilated artistic expressions from the Far East. This characteristic is reflected on the beautiful talavera ceramic vases, pottery and the tiles that decorate facades in churches, big houses, fountains, patios and kitchens. Another example is the legend of the “China Poblana”, an Indian princess that arrived as a slave on the Manila Galleon, and who designed for herself a beautiful dress embroidered with sequin, which today is Puebla’s traditional dress.
If there is a word that defines Puebla, then it is baroque. Complex flavors that seduce our palates, elaborated shapes that capture our sight, an irresistible mix of legends and stories, winding streets, fountains, gardens, craft markets, artistic alleys… and a view studded with the churches’ domes. So, it is not outrageous to think that Puebla is the place that angels call home.