Ark of taste
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Taberna, a traditional alcoholic beverage, originates from the natural fermentation of coyol palm sap (Acrocomia aculeata), primarily found in southern Mexico. This sweet and effervescent beverage, akin to African palm wine, holds cultural significance, especially in rural communities of Chiapas, where it is consumed during Lent and Easter festivities. The coyol palm, also known as "palma coyol," is native to Mesoamerica, with various applications ranging from oil extraction in Paraguay and Brazil to fermented beverages in Panama and Venezuela.
In Mexico, taberna production is concentrated in municipalities such as Villaflores, Cintalapa, and Chicomuselo, where local producers undergo the labour-intensive process of extracting sap from mature palms, aged around fifteen years. This extraction involves felling the palm, creating a hole in its trunk, and collecting the sap, which is then filtered and left to ferment. The resulting beverage, rich in minerals and probiotics, is sold cold or at room temperature, contributing to the social fabric of the community.
Despite its cultural significance, taberna faces challenges in production and preservation. Obtaining suitable palm trunks for sap extraction proves difficult, and limited cultivation practices endanger the tradition. Furthermore, the beverage’s limited recognition outside of Chiapas hampers efforts for conservation and awareness. Efforts to promote taberna’s cultural heritage and sustainable production practices are essential for preserving this traditional beverage and its associated cultural identity in southern Mexico.

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Distilled and fermented beverages

Nominated by:Adriana M. Ortiz de Zárate Bauza