The Tamale Gourmet’s Story

This week’s Olas Altas Farmers’ Market coverage is directly from Adriana Basail, the tamale diva herself:

It has been 8 years since I began the Gourmet Tamale business. I am so proud to see my happy clients, year after year, line up in the markets at Olas Altas on Saturday and at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle on Sundays, waiting to buy their fresh and piping hot tamales ! I have also developed a successful catering business for dinner parties and events. It all began during the 2009 recession when I was living in the beautiful town of San Pancho, on the Riviera Nayarit.

I love cooking. It runs in the family. I am also into health food. I have to mention that I never cooked or even saw anyone cook a TAMALE before. Tamales are an ancient Mexican food. In the Nahuatl dialect tamale means ‘wrap’ and traditional

Tamales are made with masa (corn dough), lard, and little fillings of varied flavors. As I do not like masa or tortilla made from industrialized flour, I began to search for the best freshly milled masa. One thing led to another and I bought a package of corn husks. I decided that I needed to offer something new for a more demanding palate, so….with pure butter, I made my first anisette tamales.

I gladly gave them away to close friends. Soon I got calls. “Make more and different flavors please! We will buy them from you!” So I did. They sold out in half an hour.

Later a farmer’s market close by opened and I was invited to join. So, I started thinking of unique savory and sweet flavors like those found in the culinary arts of Greece, India, Italy, and France. My first flavors were introduced with great success. I also gave the tamale a big twist in that they were made with less dough, more filling and, importantly, with butter and olive oil rather than lard!

I wanted to be part of other markets in the bay area, so I headed to Olas Altas Farmers Market in PV… although they already had someone that sold tamales. Oh! But my tamales were different! They needed to try them, so I insisted! Joyfully, I appeared with my exotic flavors. Eight seasons later I have many steady customers and the tamales sell out every week!

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Tamale Gourmet is a creative fusion of pre-Hispanic culinary arts and contemporary cuisine. Currently, the unique flavors of my gourmet tamales include the following: a curry tamale made with lentils, carrots, plantain, raisins, coconut, peanuts and fresh cilantro, spinach and pine nut, Portobella with red roasted bell pepper and gouda cheese, black bean with cotija cheese; Poblano, fresh corn and manchego cheese, the eggplant ratatouille with fresh basil, tomatoes, gouda and goat ́s cheese and, Mahi-Mahi, dill capers and almonds.

Then there are the sweet tamales made with butter, including the following: dark cocoa, almond and cranberries, piña colada, capuchino, and, the very popular lemon grass tamale. I also have VEGAN options with virgin coconut oil or olive oil. Finally there are MEAT options wrapped in banana leaves.

The tamales at Tamale Gourmet are eclectic and unlike no other. The selected fresh seasonal ingredients, the cautious assembling, and the hours of labor result in freshly made, delicious, light and healthy tamales … served with fresh, mild or hot house salsa. When you open one of our warm tamales, the aroma, flavor and texture will capture all your senses. That’s why they are called Gourmet.

Adriana Basail, The Tamale Diva, is available for catering. Please order one week in advance. Special ingredient order on request. Cell 3227798037, Whatsapp +52 1 3227798037, business (322) 2241671. It is best to contact her by e-mail at or on Facebook at Tamale Gourmet WRAP. For smaller orders, contact for pick up at the market. The markets open the first weekend of November until the last weekend of April.

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Celebrating twenty years of publishing weekly in Puerto Vallarta! Since 1997.

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