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New film project Molca tells the stories behind traditional Mexican food

A new platform shares long-form and recipe videos telling the story of the traditional Mexican cooking found in Oaxaca's mezcal distilleries

We've seen food trends come and go, but if there's one that's stood the test of time, it's Mexican cuisine. No matter how much you take notice of food 'fashion', it's unlikely you'll have missed that London remains in thrall to the vibrant flavours of the Central American country's cooking, nor that you'll have completely avoided the lure of a taco (or a margarita, for that matter).

But for all the delicious mouthfuls that land upon our plates here, there's a whole food culture that spawned them, an ancient, diverse culture with traditions and stories aplenty.

New film project Molca aims to tell the stories of the real Mexican master chefs: the women in Mexico feeding their communities with their home cooking.

The project began through the work of filmmaker Leo Stamps, who was filming at a distillery in Matatlan in Mexican state of Oaxaca, the spiritual home of mezcal, for Dangerous Don, purveyors of coffee and now the Dangerous Don Con Mandarina (yes, they're as delicious as they sound).

Dangerous Don was set up by Thea Cumming, who works with artisanal mezcal producers in Mexico to create the mezcals. She met Leo Stamps while at art school, and they reconnected year later over a love of the spirit and the culture that it comes from. She and Stamps work together to tell the stories of the mezcaleros and their families.

So it was while Stamps was working and staying at a palenque (mezcal distillery), he lived on the food of Lorena Martinez, the wife of mezcalero Celso Martinez.

"Lorena cooks classic Oaxacan dishes everyday to feed a hungry family, all of whom pitch in with the hard work of running a mezcal distillery. These are often ancient recipes handed down from mother to daughter through generations," says Stamps.

"From humble egg and black bean breakfasts served with huge Oaxacan tortillas (known as tlayudas) to complex mole sauces that take days to prepare, Lorena makes truly some of the best food we have ever tasted."

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Stamps' aim is to turn the traditional narrative around mezcal on its head: usually the mezcaleros – the male head of the family – that receive all the glory. Instead, Molca's first film, which premieres this month, De Mujeres y Maguey (Of Women and Agave) focuses on the talents of Lorena. It's her cooking that provides Celso with the energy and inspiration to create Dangerous Don mezcal, and her talents deserve just as much respect as her husband's.

De Mujeres y Maguey is a delicious insight to Mexican culture, as Lorena cooks carne asada with chorizo, cecina (marinated pork steaks) and skirt steak, cooking the meat on coals still hot from the distillation oven.

Stamps' creation tells a beautiful story about life at the Martinez mezcal distillery – and if one thing's for sure, it's fuelling our love affair with Mexican cooking…

See more of Molca's films at @molca_ig

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