Convent cuisine is the cradle of Puebla’s typical dishes. Its flavor, color and seasoning persist to this day. This is why we present the legends of its creation:

The Chile en nogada legend

This legend says that chiles en nogada were invented by the Augustinian nuns of the Santa Monica Convent in Puebla, to celebrate the signing of the Treaties of Cordoba between Agustin de Iturbide and Juan O’Donojú.

Chiles en Nogada
Photo: Agencia Enfoque

On his return from Córdoba, Iturbide passed through Puebla and the nuns prepared a dish for him depicting the three colors of the flag of the Trigarante Army: green with the chile and parsley, red with the pomegranate and white with the nogada.

All the ingredients were selected from products of each of the regions of the state: chiles from San Martin Texmelucan, ground beef from Cholula, apples from Zacatlan, pomegranate from Tehuacan, walnuts from San Andres Calpan, pears from the convent of Carmen de Puebla, peaches from Huejotzingo, cheese from Tlatlauquitepec, Zacapoaxtla or Teziutlan, pine nuts from Libres or Oriental, parsley from Atlixco, eggs from Tepeaca, Amazoc or Acajete; and the plate on which it was placed was made of talavera and the seasoning of San Pascual Bailón.

Iturbide was fascinated with the succulent dish, which since then, became one of the most typical of Puebla’s gastronomy.

Recommended to read: Traditional drinks from the Northern Sierra of Puebla.

The mole poblano legend

According to the mole poblano legend, the creation of one of the typical dishes of Puebla’s gastronomy took place in the Convent of Santa Rosa.

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A nun named sister Andrea de la Asunción prepared a special dish for Viceroy Tomás Antonio de la Serna y Aragón, Count of Paredes and Third Marquis of La Laguna, who was visiting the city of Puebla de los Ángeles.

Photo: Agencia Enfoque

Sister Andrea decided to toast several ingredients such as ancho chile, mulato chile, chipotle chile, and pasilla chile in a pan with lard; she toasted sesame seeds on a griddle and ground pepper, cloves, peanuts, cinnamon, almonds, anise, and cumin in a mortar; later, she added two slabs of monjil chocolate to the mixture. In another mortar, she crushed roasted garlic, onions and tomatoes, and mixed all the ingredients.

Finally, sister Andrea put the mixture on the fire in a clay pot and added the pieces of a turkey that she had previously cooked.

All the sisters of the convent were delighted when they tasted the stew and when the Viceroy and the guests tasted the exquisite dish, they were impressed by the delicious flavor and aroma.

Sister Marta was the one who named this dish mole, which in Nahuatl means sauce or stew. Another version says that when the dish was being prepared, one of the nuns said, “What a good mole, Sister,” in reference to how she was grinding the ingredients.

The Camote legend

It is said that in 1676, Angelina, a thirteen year old girl, was taken by her parents to the nuns of Santa Ines to be cloistered as a novice. As she performed her duties in the kitchen very well, she was appointed to be in charge of the pantry.

Photo: Agencia Enfoque

One time, Bishop Don Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz y Sahagun was coming to visit, so the mother superior wanted to give him a tasty treat and unknown to him, then Angelina decided to boil sweet potatoes in water over low heat and with them she made a consistent paste to which she added pineapple and sugar, let it cool and made some portions with the dough in the form of a bun, which she then decorated with vegetable paints.

The Bishop tasted the exquisite sweets and asked the Mother Superior to give him a small box with some pieces.

Angelina was congratulated and sent to the Convent of Santa Rosa for a while.

Years later, she married and had several children, with whom she worked in a candy shop that they set up themselves next to the Convent of Santa Clara. In little cardboard boxes they placed the candies with a label that read “Camotes de Santa Clara”.