Earlier this week, Victoria chef Israel Alvarez announced that in honour of Cinco de Mayo, MAiiZ customers would be able exchange any masa powder and store-bought corn tortillas at his business for his freshly-made nixtamal masa dough and tortillas.
Today, due to an overwhelmingly positive response from the Victoria community, chef Alvarez announced that he will be extending the offer through to the end of May.
“My mission with MAiiZ is to share the nutrition of Nixtamal with as many people as possible! I have had customers come to visit me at the shop after experiencing the flavour MAiiZ tortillas at a restaurant or grocery store, and they want more!” he says. “For me, tortillas made from powders are not tortillas at all, they are a sad imitation, lacking the real flavour and texture of corn. The expression on someone’s face when they try a MAiiZ Tortilla for the first time is what inspires me.”
For those unfamiliar with the process of nixtamalization–the culinary technique dates back to Mesoamerican period during which cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans would soak and cook corn in an alkaline solution before washing, hulling, and grounding into masa dough.
The result is a product that offers a flavour, aroma, texture, and nutritional value far beyond that of a standard corn tortilla, and chef Alvarez may very well be the first to bring the product to life using exclusively organic B.C.-grown corn.
“When I switched from using non GMO Mexican heirloom corn to organic B.C. yellow corn, I needed to completely reinvent my process to fit with this new variety of corn,” chef Alvarez explains. “The skill needed to adapt this local variety of corn is challenging, and making tortillas this way is incredibly labour intensive. My passion and commitment is to share a better tortilla with my community.”