This is our story.
It’s a story about passion, traditions, full stomachs & al pastor tacos.
It’s about a Mexican muchacho and an Aussie chica, whose passion for real Mexican food led them to pioneer an authentic traditional tortilleria & street eatery in Australia.
But we’ll get to that soon. First a snappy history lesson, because our story is rooted in thousands of years of culinary history…
It all began more than 2000 years ago, waaay back in….
The birth of tortillas
One day on the banks of a river in central America, a great discovery is made: the secret to unlocking the natural nutritional goodness stored inside of corn. Early Mesoamericans figure out that by steeping their corn overnight in water, rich in limestone from local rivers, the fibrous outer shells soften, and the grains are able to be stoneground into a pliable dough and formed into delicious tortillas. This transformation is called ‘nixtamalization’, and it is the key to releasing the B vitamins bound within the corn. Our beloved tortillas are born!
The fuel of great civilsations
Over the next few centuries, these tortillas become the staple of the peoples of Mesoamerica. Fuelled by this nutrition, the region gives rise to the great pre-Hispanic civilisations of the Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs, and many more. Tortilla-making is an essential part of daily life, right up until the 1950s that is, when this ancient culinary craft comes under threat…
¡No manches guey! Nutrition and flavour give way to convenience
As global companies look for cheaper ways to produce food en-masse, the quality of Mexico’s humble tortilla declines. A heavily-processed ‘just-add-water’ tortilla flour is invented that bypasses the traditional nixtamal process, and typically contains preservatives, additives and GMO corn. These industrial-age tortillas flood the market and largely displace traditionally-made tortillas in all but the small villages of Mexico. The difference between the short-cut tortillas and the real nixtamal ones? It’s kind of like instant coffee versus coffee made with freshly-ground coffee beans. ¡Nixtamal por favor!
Enter Gerardo, el niñito
As a small niño growing up in Mexico City, learning to cook traditional Mexican dishes from his mum and Grandma, Gerardo Lopez knew good tortillas. And he knew the best ones were the nixtamal ones found in the villages of Mexico. He dreamt to one day travel abroad and open his own restaurant, sharing the delicious dishes and traditional tortillas of his homeland with the world.
Fast forward 3 decades. Gerardo has grown from niño to adulto (…or maybe that’s still a work in progress 🤔). He’s climbed Everest (literally, and yes, to the top), and has taken the 15,000km journey across the seas to migrate to Australia. Although enthralled by the culture and culinary scene of his new home, there was something missing, something that no Mexican can live without… quality authentic tortillas.
As much as Australia had advanced in its offerings of authentic Mexican food, processed tortillas were the only ones widely available at that time, meaning that truly authentic taste was always beyond reach.
Two passionate foodies meet
One day, Gerardo meets Diana. Diana – a fellow foodie who had discovered the magic of real Mexican food while studying for her anthropology degree in Mexico City – was also longing for a good plate of tacos. You know, the kind you get back in Mexico: fresh spiced marinated pork, sliced thinly off the trompo and flipped onto a fragrant warm corn tortilla and drizzled with delicious homemade salsa roja and freshly chopped ….um where were we again?…ah yess…
An idea is born!
A common craving had brought our two characters together in a new mission: to give Australians the long-overdue authentic Mexican food it deserves. Starting with the most essential part: corn tortillas made the traditional way from scratch, just like they’re made in the villages of Mexico.
The La Tortilleria Dream Comes to Life
So, after Diana’s several trips back to Mexico to learn the authentic process by visiting and working in tortillerias across the country, ‘La Tortilleria’ was born, producing fresh nixtamal corn tortillas from our restaurant in the backstreets of Kensington, Victoria.
¡Felicidades! ¡Más GRANDE!
And the word spreads. Mexicans and food-enthusiasts from near and far begin coming to try our real corn tortillas and eat authentic Mexican street food at our restaurant. Top chefs from across the country put our tortillas on their menus, and our products fill more and more grocery stores nation-wide. Our trophy cabinet fills up after winning several national food awards. There’s a line out the door of our restaurant, and we’ve had to open a new dedicated tortilla-making site in Melbourne’s outer west to keep up with demand!
You find yourself reading to the end of a long but inspiring story, and now you’re hungry for a plate of al pastor tacos, made with real corn tortillas. You go to La Tortilleria’s [where to buy] page. Your Mexican cooking goes next level, your tacos are deliciosos, your amigos are impressed, your family’s bellies are filled with joy, and you never look back. The secret to really good bien chido Mexican is revealed to you, ¡Que padre!