“Authentic Tortillas from Tipperary? Nah, that has to be a mistake!” Nope, rest assured, my local food hero of today, ‘Blanco Niño‘, is nothing short of sheer brilliance. The founder of the company, Phil, had a very simple idea: open up Dublin’s first Taqueria. Unfortunately he was struggling to find real authentic corn tortillas in Europe, which is of course essential for making real good tacos.
Luckily for us here in Ireland though, Phil didn’t give up that easily and decided that he would just have to open a Tortilleria first. So off he went to Mexico to learn all about the history and process of making corn tortillas.
The result is a wide variety of tortillas, including blue corn options which is a very rare thing to find in Ireland. I only recently tried some blue corn chips as a colleague brought them over, and I nearly ate the whole bag in one go! Want to try Blanco Niño tortillas too? Quite a few restaurants around the country are using these lovely tortillas in their kitchens already. If you’re looking one of those restaurants who serve them, keep an eye on Blanco Niño’s facebook page for some photos shared by restaurants who have it on their menu.
Prefer to make something at home? You can buy the tortillas directly from Little Ass Burrito Bar in Dublin (started by the founder Phil) or from the factory in Clonmel. Next year, they have plans to move into retail, so if you’d like to stay in the loop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The journey to Mexico
Phil travelled to the corn farms where he learnt how to sow, harvest and identify really great quality corn.
He then travelled to the mills where he learned the ancient cooking process of known as nixtamalisation. Here he also learned how to carve volcanic stones used to grind the cooked corn into at a dough called masa.
Phil then travelled to the Tortillerias where he learned about the equipment and process of turning the masa dough into really incredible tortillas and tortillas chips.
During this time, Phil didn’t just learn about corn tortillas, but about the history and evolution of the process of making corn tortillas in Mexico. He learnt about the Olmec, Maya & Aztec who each advanced the process of nixtamalisation and about the wide and wonderfully rich food culture of the country.
This journey through Mexico emboldened Phil to return to Ireland to launch what was, and what still is, Ireland’s most successful crowd-funding campaign.
Home in Tipperary
He then brought together a really incredible team, and found a home in Clonmel in the beautiful county of Tipperary in Ireland – which is where I happen to live (and that has absolutely stolen my heart). There they turned what was an idea into what is the Blanco Nino Tortilleria and today they are working with lovers of great food across to Europe.
So what exactly can you buy from Blanco Niño? All tortillas are naturally gluten free, low sugar, low fat, all natural and non GM. Their range extends to both soft and frying tortillas then, with the following options:
All their products are made using just three simple beautiful ingredients; non-GM white sustainably grown corn, water, salt and lime. “We cook, then steep the corn for 16 hours before grinding into a dough called masa using our hand carved volcanic stone grinders. This process is called nixtamalisation and was invented by our buddies the Olmec then developed further by the Maya and Aztecs.”
For a visit to the factory: Carrigeen Business Park, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary