Thursday, May 16, 2024
Home SW Planning SW Meeting Notes The Flavors of Tucson

The Flavors of Tucson

By Todd R. Berger

City of Gastronomy
El Charro in Tucson, Arizona, is a certified City of Gastronomy restaurant || Photo by Steven Meckler

Tucson, Arizona, is one of two cities in the U.S. designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy (the other is San Antonio, Texas). The distinctive flavors often found in Tucsonan foods have roots in Mexican and Indigenous foodways, the latter primarily from the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham tribes. Specific ingredients eventgoers might find in Tucsonan dishes include flour tortillas, chiltepin peppers, mesquite pods, and various cacti.

“A lot of Tucsonan dishes are Mexican dishes,” notes Mo Calderon, communications manager for Visit Tucson. “It’s not that you can’t get them anywhere else—it is that you won’t find the same flavors anywhere else. It’s less about unique dishes and more about the flavors.”

Groups coming to Tucson looking for such local flavor can find a list of restaurants, caterers, wineries, and others that are certified City of Gastronomy establishments on Tucson’s City of Gastronomy website.