First Annual Chocolate Clam Festival in Loreto was a great success! Perhaps best known as California’s first capital, Loreto is also famed for its almejas chocolatas (chocolate clams), June 1st, was the perfect time to sample them. The Restaurant Association of Loreto (CANIRAC), in conjunction with the state tourism department, hosted the historic town’s inaugural Festival of the Chocolate Clam, and it was awesome!
We arrived in the early evening to find the Marina transformed with beautifully decorated food booths, all serving special dishes that highlighted clams. Each restaurant prepared clams in many different ways: chile rellenos stuffed with clams, clams on the half shell with butter, wine and cheese, clams in escabeche, plus many more.
While we sampled all the delicious offerings, we were also enjoying the entertainment, which consisted of mariachis and traditional folkloric dancers, as well as the gorgeous seaside backdrop, with the sun setting over the islands of Loreto and sinking into the Sea of Cortez.
Later in the evening, we were treated to a dramatic demonstration of Almejas Tatemadas, the way locals traditionally prepared clams hundreds of years ago. First they were covered with sand, and then piled high with a brush that was lit and burned for about 40 minutes, perfectly steaming the clams.