A few weeks ago my boyfriend went to a Mexican cooking class and came back all excited telling me we had to make authentic Mexican at home. I had no objections, he seemed like he knew what he was talking about and I know he is a great cook! And frankly, who doesn't like Mexican?
We invited a few friends and set the date for a Sunday. After some googling some specialty stores in Melbourne that are also open on a Sunday we found La Tortillera in Kensington, a combination of restaurant and specialty store. It was a bit of a drive but oh man was it worth it!
The little restaurant located in a more industrial area of Melbourne is a bright dot of colour on the street. A Mexican flag out the front, the bright blue brick building and the big sign of a woman holding a stack of tortillas told us we had arrived at the right place.
We were greeted by the owner herself and after we asked for masa (Mexican corn flour for the tamales) she was extremely passionate about the food, preparation and cooking process and happy to help us.
We didn't only get the masa from them, they even incorporated the lard for us, which made it a lot easier for us! (Our other option would have been to buy a big fatty piece of pork to get the fat and then somehow incorporate that...)
Apart from the masa we also bought some tortillas, chipotles in adobo, tajin (a delicious mix of dried lime rind, chili, salt and sugar) and Cuitlacoche (corn truffle also known as corn smut).
Tajin, Chipotles in Adobo, Achiote and Cuitlacoche (corn truffle)
You might be asking, what the hell is corn smut and believe me, when you see if you initially don't want to try it. It's basically a corn fungus that grows on the corn and is a delicacy in Mexico but disliked in the States because it ruins their corn crops used for mass production. It comes as a black paste and has a slight truffle taste, when mixed with mushrooms it is absolutely delicious. I was converted!
The kitchen that makes the food for the restaurant at La Tortilleria is behind a glass wall, so you can watch the chefs and cooks being busy preparing tamales and tortilla and let me tell you - it smelled devine!
Tortillas from La Tortilleria
Tamale dough - masa with lard
Unfortunately we didn't have time for lunch at La Tortilleria, but we will definitely go back! Just so you know and don't end up disappointed, due to the time needed for preparation and steaming they only do tamales for dinner, not lunch!
You can find La Tortilleria and their friendly staff at