Taste of tradition: Celina’s Biscochitos and tamales at La Mexicana Tortilla Co.
KOB 4 asked viewers to tell us where to get the best tamales and biscochitos — two holiday staples in New Mexico. After hundreds chimed in, two places in the Albuquerque metro came out on top.
At La Mexicana Tortilla Company, they are making hundreds of tamales a day. Over at Celina’s, they’re churning out thousands of biscochitos. Both shops say they are honored to be such a big part of the holiday celebration for so many.
LA MEXICANA TORTILLA CO.
La Mexicana Tortilla Company has been around since 1932.
“Started out of my grandpa and grandma’s living room, making tortillas and selling them out of the front door to the railroad workers and stuff,” said Marco Nuñez, the owner.
Now, they hand roll hundreds of tamales daily. They made a thousand pounds of masa just Thursday.
The family operation has served them well for 90 years, but Nunez says they do 60% of their business between November and January.
If you need more than a dozen tamales for a holiday gathering, La Mexicana is still taking orders until Dec. 19. For a dozen or so tamales, they say just stop by the store.
Celina Grife is the mastermind behind Celina’s Biscochitos. People from all over the world count on them every year to keep the holidays sweet.
“We’re making probably about 600 to 700 dozen a day of biscochitos,” Grife said.
700 dozen is… 8,400 cookies.
“We are still making them the absolute traditional way, so we’re still using the old-fashioned blue and white snow-cap lard, we’re still using brandy in our biscochitos, we’re still using the whole anise,” Grife said.
The cookies are definitely a hit — it’s grandma’s recipe.
“I’ve realized from doing this over the years that it’s personal for a lot of people,” Grife said. “They have had family members who either aren’t with them anymore or that used to make them. It’s Christmas. It’s home. It’s a feeling.”
Celina’s is finished shipping orders for this holiday season, but they’re still selling out of their bakery in Los Ranchos.