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There are so many people, places and events packed into the few weeks we call “The Holidays,” including Las Posadas. The modern-day celebration of Las Posadas is a sort of reenactment of Mary and Joseph going from inn to inn seeking shelter in order to give birth to Baby Jesus. In fact, “Las Posadas” means “lodging.” The reenactments take place over 9 days, to signify the 9 months of pregnancy, between December 16th through the 24th. The participants go from house to house, usually predesignated, and sing songs asking to be let in. When the travelers are finally let in, they gather around the nativity to pray before sharing in a feast of traditional dishes like tamales and pozole, with beverages like champurrado and Ponche Navideño.
When the season becomes to too frantic, it’s nice to remember the struggle and triumph of a couple with a donkey. So in preparation for Las Posadas, I put together a little DIY Honeyed Ponche Kit with the help of Don Victor Honey, to share with your guests or to make and give as a hostess gift at your next posada. Don Victor Honey is completely raw and unprocessed, but can live at room temperature year-round in your pantry. And if it begins to crystalize, which is a perfectly normal occurrence, simply place the jar in a pot of near-boiling water until the crystals dissolve. The Don Victor Honey I buy has the honey comb inside the globe shaped jar, and YES, it is edible. Think about spreading some of the honey and comb on your morning toast, or dabbing some on your weekend pancakes. I enjoy putting a bit of honeyed comb into my tea or coffee.
These ponche ingredients can be found in most markets this time of year, and especially in Latin markets, but I found I already had most of the ingredients in my kitchen and was able to pick up the rest at my local Wal-Mart. Here is run-down of the ingredients for your ponche kit: tejocotes, guavas, apples, oranges, firm pears, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and Don Victor Honey, which can be found in the Hispanic aisle near the baking items. You can use all or some of the ingredients, along with other firm fruits, dried hibiscus flowers and sugarcane, but I find I prefer the sweetness of honey. Fill your own stock pot, or buy one to give as a gift to your host. You don’t even have to cook anything, but remember that the best stories are often shared over food and drink, usually right around the stove.
It’s easy to get caught up in the frenetic energy and lose sight of what’s important during the holidays, so in the spirit of Las Posadas, bring a little sweetness in your life and invite a friend or neighbor over for a shared cup of ponche with Don Victor Honey. For more information about Don Victor Honey, click here for sweetness!