Fun Facts about Mexican Mole Sauce

Celebratory mole sauce dates back to the Aztecs.

Did You Know?

* Mole sauce is a part of traditional Mexican cuisine and used to make stews with chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Dark chocolate blends well with savory Mexican spices to bring out a rich flavor.

* The word mole comes from molli, the Aztec word for sauce. Moles often feature a variety of chili peppers (for the heat) and other ingredients that often, but not always, includes chocolate.

* In Mexico, mole sauce is commonly served with poultry and prepared in hundreds of ways. Ingredients can include cloves, coconut, peppercorns, peanut butter, raisins, tomatillos, bananas, and tortillas.

* Mole sauce ingredients were traditionally prepare on a metate, a stone with a flat or concave surface on which grain, nuts, seeds, etc. could be ground. Modern cooks combine the ingredients in a blender or a food mill.

* Most history buffs believe that the recipe for mole sauce was invented in the 1600s in a convent, where a nun created the dish to pay tribute to the Archbishop for agreeing to construct a convent for her order. Other experts say that mole was invented by a chef who was preparing a banquet dish when a gust of wind from an open window blew spices into the dish.

* Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach, authors of The Whole Chile Pepper Book (Little, Brown & Company, 1990), say mole sauce was most likely invented by the Aztecs .

* A mole cookoff is held every year at the October National Mole Fair in San Pedro Atocpan, near Mexico City. Thousands of mole aficionados sample hundreds of the creations of mole chefs, or moleros. Many of mole dishes recipes take two to three days to prepare.

* Mole sauce is traditionally served over turkey, with a side dish of unfilled tamales (cornmeal mixture steamed in corn shucks.)

* Mole is a celebratory food in Mexico. Because of its long list of ingredients, the dish is served on special occasions that include weddings and quinceaneras, fancy coming-out parties when girls turn 15.