When you visit the market, be sure to look for Manuela and her ice chest full of wonderful meats.
Making sausages, or wursts, is a full time job for frau Manuela Matthiesen. She buys whole hogs from the nearby ranchos as needed, finds sausage casings in Guadalajara and the vacuum packaging that is a linchpin of the business arrives in care packages sent by Mom, back in Germany. Quite conversant in German, English and Spanish, Manuela has a loyal following for her meats. Known as the German Sausage Lady, she includes her constant companion, daughter Jacqueline, in the day-to-day operations.
As a teenager, she studied in Dachau, Bavaria and with her skill and knowledge, opened and ran a successful restaurant. Her young family’s dream of opening a butcher shop in California was shattered by 9-11; their visas were rescinded. Mexico, however, embraced their arrival to La Paz two years later and they opened the first, only and last German restaurant on the Malecon of the city. Today, Manuela happily makes all manner of delicious smoked and cured meats, cooked and ready to cook sausages from home kitchen carniceria. Manuela’s only disappointment is that Jacqueline does not share her passion for butchery. “Who will make the sausages after I’m gone?” she laments.
Nearby, brother and sister Ana and Dario offer whole chickens and brown eggs. Newcomers to the Tianguis Natural as well as to retail selling, they make the long drive from the family farm, El Arete just off highway Carretera al Sur between Calafia and San Pedro. Sometimes Mom, a retired teacher, comes along instead of Ana. Dad, with his advanced degree in Agronomy, stays at the ranch working the goat and sheep herds and the chicken flock. It is a small family business begun some three years ago with a dozen goats raised and slaughtered for neighbors wanting to prepare birria, a rich goat meat stew reserved for weekends or special occasions. The sheep came next, and now the chickens. The flavorful flesh of the large birds is due to their exclusive diet of soymeal and organic corn, mixed up for them by the farm’s consulting veterinarian. The chickens are kept in pens during the day, separated by age, allowed to scratch and exercise. At night, they sleep in the clean chicken coop.
There are only two places to buy these free-range chickens and the AA grade jumbo eggs, selling for 50 pesos per kilo and 5 pesos per egg: At the Tianguis Natural, or at the ranch itself.
By the way, did you know that all unbroken shell eggs start out as AA grade? it actually refers to the amount of days the egg has been in the light. An egg classified AA will be 1-3 days fresh, and when cracked open, the yolk will be firm and tall, and the white will be thick, not runny.
The post office park is at Revolucion de 1910 and Constitucion, across the street from the main post office and Corazon Café. The park is private property and its use is gratefully acknowledged.
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