Día de los muertos has always been an important part of my life and a day I eagerly look forward to each year. I spent a good part of my youth at Aztec dance ceremonies, dancing barefoot on cold brick in Lincoln Park to honor the dead. Those days are past me now. My middle-aged bones don’t like the cold brick and I can’t jump around like I used to, though occasionally, I attend the ceremonies, just to breathe in the copal and hear the drums. The past few years, I’ve spent Dia de los muertos in quiet reflection here at home, with a small familial altar where the tattered remains of my dancing days line the bottom of it. The remnants of my danzante past are my muertitos too.
This year I was invited to NESTLE® Dia de los muertos celebration at their corporate headquarters in Glendale which I attended with Chef Gianfranco Minuz. The event was beautiful, informative and fun. We were both very impressed by the organization and style, with deep attention paid to honoring the culture. I always admire a brand when they are not only culturally sensitive, but in fact, honor that culture with true respect.
We met with Chef Natalie, who shared her recipes for delicious concoctions made with ABUELITA™chocolate and other NESTLE® products. She shares those and more on the Abuelita recipes website. My favorites were the cafe de olla cookies featuring Nestle’s Cafe de Olla coffee. There were also skull cookies to decorate, ABUELITA™ covered pretzels and delicious cafe del olla to drink.
We were privileged to hear speakers like Carlos Velasco Reinold, President International Brands Division, NESTLE® who talked about Dia de los muertos and what it meant to him as well as learn about Nestle and its brands.
The altar commanded the attention in the large cafeteria area where the event was held. It was artsy, multi-layered and eloquent, and of course featured chocolate. I spent some time speaking with the artist who’d put it together, Jennifer Gutierrez. She was inspired by her family traditions as well as by the ingredients of Mexican cooking. We spoke for a time about how many different meanings it had for her and each person that viewed it. Everyone had a different perception which made it personal to them. I found the ingredients laid upon it to be homey, comforting and filled with memories of my grandparents. Another person saw the ingredients for mole. Still another saw the old chair as a resting place.
Makeup artists were also there, painting the faces of the guests. I had my face painted too and was amazed by the job the artist did on my face. It was the perfect ending to a great morning spent at Nestle. They sure know how to throw a party.
Suggested hashtags: #diadelosmuertos #drinkabuelita #nestleddlm2015
About NESTLÉ® ABUELITATM
For more than 80 years, NESTLÉ® ABUELITATM has played an essential role in the lives of Hispanic consumers. The tradition of drinking NESTLÉ ABUELITA hot chocolate has been passed from one generation to the next, creating special moments with family and loved ones. Its chocolate and cinnamon flavor paired with a rich and frothy consistency that makes this hot chocolate uniquely special.
About NESTLÉ USA
Named one of “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for 17 consecutive years, Nestlé provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with LEAN CUISINE® to baking traditions with NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE®, Nestlé USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverages that make good living possible. That’s what “Nestlé. Good Food, Good Life” is all about. Nestlé USA, with 2013 sales of $10 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to nutrition, health and wellness — with 2013 sales of $99 billion. For product news and information, visit Nestleusa.com or Facebook.com/NestleUSA.
Disclosure: I was invited to this non-compensated event by NESTLE®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.