Weslaco shop owner brings Oaxaca to the Rio Grande Valley

Hispanic Heritage Month

WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — One local shop owner said her heart belongs to a special place in Mexico; the state of Oaxaca.

“I went to Oaxaca a long time ago and I fell in love,” said Claudia Cruz, owner of the Querencia Coffee & Gourmet Shop in the Mercado Weslaco. “The thing is that I love Mexico and everything that I saw in Oaxaca represented the whole Mexico.”

Querencia translated roughly means “the feeling of being at home” or “belonging to a place.”

Pictured: Claudia Cruz; Iris Karami – ValleyCentral

Cruz shares her querencia through exclusive handmade products from this southern Mexican state. The majority of her products are tasty food items that come from a local co-op in Oaxaca.

“No machine is involved in the making of this product,” said Cruz. “The main theme is the authentic Mexican food from Mexico.”

Claudia believes that food is an important part of her culture. The shop includes Mole, queso de Oaxaca, Cacao beans, coffee, teas, chocolates, and more.

“A lot of the food that we know comes from Oaxaca,” said Cruz. “Most of my products are from Oaxaca because Oaxaca is really extensive in the gastronomic.”

Cruz explained how the Mole she sells is made by hand from the Cacao bean that she sells at her specialty shop.

Pictured: Claudia Cruz; Iris Karami – ValleyCentral

“It’s a really rare Cacao,” said Cruz. “They make it with metate and Mexican Cacao, which I also have the Mexican Cacao,” said Cruz. “Because the Mole is actually a sauce that you can pour over chicken, pork, turkey or you can just eat it like this.”

Cruz has red, almond, and the traditional Oaxacan Black Mole and said they are made with over 30 ingredients for a rich aromatic flavor. Though the flavors do not stop there, Cruz said she also has special cheese too.

“I have the famous queso of Oaxaca but it is called quesillo,” said Cruz. “To make one kilo of this queso they use 10 liters of milk.”

Plus another cheese that is aged for 9 months.

“It’s an aged cheese and it’s smoked with mesquite and ocote,” said Cruz. “This tastes like Jamon Serrano.”

Special quesillo, aged cheese, mole, coffee, and cacao beans; Iris Karami – ValleyCentral

The Coop Oaxaca Sabor Y Tradicion is a family that Cruz said has passed down family recipes for years.

“They’ve been doing this for a lot of time, for generation after generation,” said Cruz. “And they make all the logistics to go out, but it is difficult because of the transportation, because of the money, because of the time they have to take to do this.”

Claudia said this is her way of sharing a little piece of home with the Rio Grande Valley.

“Mi querencia is Mexico and in this case Oaxaca,” said Cruz.

Claudia said she is finally able to expand Querencia into an in-house coffee shop as well.

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