The traditional process for corn tortillas dates back centuries and is still widely practiced in Mexico to this day. Now, nixtamalization has made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to one country that, up until a few years ago, was mostly a taco-free zone: the Netherlands.
Flour or corn? That’s a debate that can lead to heated discussion.
But it all started with the corn tortilla, dating back to pre-Columbian times in what we know now as Mexico and Central America. It often involves soaking corn kernels in an alkaline solution, hulling the corn and grinding it with a volcanic stone wheel in a mill, a molino, into a masa.
Today, we can grab those tortillas off a grocery store shelf or if we make them ourselves, we can use Maseca flour and add a little water and salt.
Karla Plancarte Solorzano took the traditional nixtamalization process from her little town near Mexico City to the international hub that is the Netherlands.
Plancarte Solorzano started her business, Tortilleria Tayairi, with her former partner Kelly van Harten. The two met in Mexico and decided to open a business in Kelly’s home country of the Netherlands.
They opened a tortilleria, a tortilla factory, in the Benelux, the economic intersection of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The couple eventually broke off romantically and professionally. Plancarte is now the sole owner of the tortilleria, the only one in the Netherlands making authentic corn tortillas.
Tortilleria Tayairi is one of many businesses around the world struggling to keep its head above water during the pandemic, but Plancarte is doing whatever it takes to keep her tortilleria alive.