There’s nothing better than picking up some super cool, unique souvenirs to either hand out to your family and friends back home or keep for yourself in a show of totally understandable selfishness. Although often, the word ‘souvenir’ can bring to mind ‘overpriced tat’, with that in mind, here are Mexico City’s coolest and most highly recommended souvenir options that won’t leave you with buyer’s regret.
Mexican coffee beans
Mexico tops the world rankings for production of organic coffee and so what better place to pick up some top-quality beans than the country’s capital? While coffee isn’t produced in Mexico City – in fact, the beans are principally cultivated and harvested in the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas – there are certainly a ton of certified brands you can pick up there. We recommend either the Oaxaca Pluma brand, or just heading to Café Villarías.
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Don’t stock up on the Doña Maria brand of mole paste while in Mexico City. It’s undeniably convenient, but when you’re in the Mexican capital you should try and pick up something a little more authentic. Head to any of the city’s indoor markets, such as Mercado Medellín in Roma, and you’ll find vendors selling a bewildering variety of freshly ground mole powder. While it’s still not totally ‘the real deal’ (you should ideally make the powder from scratch yourself), it will suffice as a delicious memento from your trip to Mexico.
This strange looking implement might seem an odd thing to pick up in Mexico City, but it’s one of those practical items that you won’t want to ever go without again. A molinillo is typically a hand-carved wooden implement used to make stove-top hot chocolate. Get rid of the powdered variety and prepare yourself a real hot chocolate (from blocks of drinking chocolate!) before whipping it into creamy, aerated perfection with your molinillo. A unique souvenir for sure, you can pick one up in most markets, like La Ciudadela.
While we’re on the subject of chocolate, drinking or otherwise, you really ought to pick some up while in Mexico City. While typically produced in the more temperate climes of Tabasco, you can definitely find real artisanal chocolate in Mexico City. Places such as New Art Xocolatl and Que Bo! make for solid chocolate buying options. As an added extra, you might also want to buy some real fresh vanilla in Mexico City too, which will surely give your hot chocolate a delicious kick.
It’s a classic and traditional Mexican womenswear item, and one that can be picked up for very little money all across Mexico, which means that Mexico City is no exception. The huipil is a simple fabric blouse, which is often heavily and beautifully embroidered, although many versions exist. Head down to the (admittedly tourist oriented) Mercado de la Ciudadela and you’ll find a wide variety – always haggle on price though, because you’re sure to knock off at least a few pesos.
As the name suggests, silver from the Guerrero town of Taxco is one of the best souvenirs you can take home from Mexico. Although not originating in Mexico City itself, and more than likely cheaper in Taxco itself, you can still find reasonably priced and high quality Taxco silver in the capital. Depending on the quality and size of the piece you want, the items can be very cheap or very expensive, but they’re always worth picking up if you want a long-lasting memory of your Mexican vacation.
Lucha libre mask
Want a gift that’s a little different, inexpensive and completely iconic? We recommend you get yourself down to the luchas and buy yourself a replica mask. Choose from designs that are the same as current luchadores such as Shocker and Rey Mysterio, or go for a classic and buy the mask of El Santo. Either way, you’ll love this colourful memory of Mexico City. You don’t have to attend a match to buy one, as they’re sold all over the place, but, when in Rome…
Mezcal is starting to become big business outside of Mexico, with numerous countries boasting their own underground mezcalerías; however, you should take the opportunity in Mexico to buy some authentic mezcal. Take your pick between some of the smaller, artisanal brands or buy a more well-known mezcal like Amores Joven. You can pick up bottles from the excellent Sabrá Dios.
Another favourite souvenir of visitors to Mexico is hand-crafted pottery from either Puebla, in the brightly coloured talavera style of the region, or the polished black barro negro pots found in Oaxaca. While both are somewhat alien to Mexico City in terms of production, the relative proximity of both Puebla and Oaxaca to the capital means you can for sure pick up some pottery while you’re passing through. Again, La Ciudadela is always a great place to start, but don’t rule out smaller, more obscure markets either.
Finally, everyone who visits Mexico comes back proudly toting a stripy Baja California surf-style sweatshirt and with good reason – they’re cheap, comfy and cozy! However, if you want something a little different, try shopping around for a real wool blanket or rug from Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, or a handwoven rebozo instead. Always make sure you’re getting a legitimate, naturally dyed version though, and not a mass-produced knock-off.
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