Best Oaxaca Cooking Class: Review of Mimi’s Mole Class

by | Last updated Dec 17, 2023 | Best Food Mexico, Mexico

One of our favorite things to do in new countries is take a cooking class with an expert local. From making homemade pasta in Tuscany to pho in Vietnam, we love learning about a destination through its food. Oaxaca has been on our foodie bucket list for some time. It’s famous for its mole and mezcal. Our quest to find the best Oaxaca cooking class led us to a charming, witty lady named Mimi. Here’s our full review of one of the highlights of our Oaxaca trip.

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A Little About Your Hosts

Mimi from Oaxaca in Mexico Vogue

Mimi in Mexico Vogue

Let me introduce you to Noemí López Hernández aka Mimi.

She’s full of personality and wit and will have you laughing with her sarcasm and great sense of humor.

She is a talented Oaxacan Chef (but don’t call her Chef, just Mimi). She came in 2nd in a major cooking competition of over 65+ chefs and was recognized as a “Master Cook of the State of Oaxaca.”

Mimi’s story was even recently published in Mexico Vogue

Her son Charlie is equally kind and charming and does most of the translating during the cooking class.

They are a power team and run an incredibly engaging, well-paced cooking class.

Part 1: Salsa Time

Making salsa with Mimi

Making salsa with Mimi

Knowing how to make a great salsa is part of Mexican Cooking 101.

We had just learned how to make green and red salsa with Arturo in Mexico City, but it was still fun to test our recently learned skills.

Mimi had our ingredients ready to go (roasted tomatoes, garlic, and dried chilis). We mashed them up with a tejolote and added the dried chilis based on our spice level preference.

I prefer “poco” but my husband prefers “muy picante.” Warning, even the “poco” chilis have a little kick!

Part 2: Icebreaker + Breakfast

Memelas for breakfast at Mimi's Cooking Class

Memelas for breakfast at Mimi’s Oaxaca Cooking Class

After our salsas were ready, we sat down at the long wooden family table to pair them with memelas Mimi had made for us.

Memelas are little griddled cakes adorned with toppings such as beans and cheese. Mimi’s husband is a cheesemaker, and it was delicious!

Mimi made her way around the table, chatting with each of us and asking questions to better understand who we were, while her son Charlie skillfully translated. It was a wonderful way for us to connect before diving into our group cooking adventure.

We all felt very comfortable together by the end, like hanging out at a friend’s house. The conversation was natural and flowing. Mimi is a great storyteller. 

Part 3: Mezcal, Mole, Tamales, & Tortillas!

Cooking with Mimi in Oaxaca

Mimi giving us cooking instructions

Time to cook!

But first, a little mezcal. I like how Mimi thinks.

All the fresh ingredients were displayed on the table that Mimi had just picked up from the local market.

We were making corn husk tamales and coloradito mole at the same time.

Making corn husk tamales with Mimi in Oaxaca

Team Tamale getting ready to assemble their tamales

You could either be on Team Tamale or Team Mole.

Since my husband and I had just made tamales in Mexico City, we joined Team Mole.

Mole ingredients for Oaxaca cooking class

Mole ingredients for our Oaxaca cooking class

There were a lot of ingredients in our mole such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, dried ancho and guajillo chilis, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, whole cloves, raisins, black peppercorn, Mexican chocolate, parsley, bolillo (type of bread), and ripe plantains.

My husband was put on the rice station, which was more technical. Mimi is very picky about her rice, so I was thankful it wasn’t me.

With my limited cooking skills, cutting up the plantains and bread suited me perfectly.

As a group, we all assembled the corn husk tamales, which included the masa, salsa, and pork. Before we put the tamales in, we each gave it a blessing.

Grinding some of our mole ingredients on a metate

Seeing if I can work the metate better than the hubby

Grinding some of our mole ingredients on a traditional metate

Grinding mole ingredients on a traditional metate

One cool skill we got to try was grinding some of our mole ingredients on a traditional metate. It is a lot of work and makes me appreciate all the hard work that goes into this complicated dish.

After all these wonderful ingredients were blended and simmered with chicken in a large pot, it was time to make the tortilla.

Making tortillas with Mimi on the comal

Making tortillas with Mimi on the comal

Super fun! We got our masa ready, smashed it with the tortilla press, and threw it on the comal. There is an art to it!

There’s nothing like a hot homemade tortilla.

In Mexico, a woman is considered ready for marriage when she can prepare and inflate (puff up) all her tortillas.

I think I passed (barely), lol. 

Part 4: Lunch Time

Eating mole and tamales with Mimi in her beautiful courtyard

Getting ready to eat mole and tamales with Mimi in her beautiful courtyard

My favorite part- eating!

The ambiance was incredible. We sat in the shaded open courtyard surrounded by greenery and brightly colored papel picado (intricate tissue paper banners) hanging above. 

Pot of delicious chicken and mole

Pot of delicious chicken and mole

Mimi graciously served us our coloradito mole with chicken and rice.

So delicious! I dare to say even better than Pujol’s 3264 Days Mole Madre.

Coloradito Mole with Chicken at Mimi's Oaxaca Cooking Class

Coloradito mole with chicken at Mimi’s Oaxaca Cooking Class

The pork tamales were also incredibly moist, I could have eaten the whole batch.

Making Tamales with Mimi in Oaxaca

Our pork tamales 

Paired with some fresh cucumber juice and more beer and mezcal, I don’t see how a day could have been better.

The food, ambiance, great fellow travelers, and warm hospitality from our hosts truly made this experience the highlight of our Oaxaca trip! 

Final Thoughts on Mimi’s Oaxaca Cooking Class

We joined several Oaxaca tours including a mezcal tour, a hike to Hierve el Agua, and sightseeing throughout Oaxaca City. Our Oaxaca cooking class was the favorite part of our trip due to our amazing warm hosts, Mimi and Charlie. This culinary adventure is my #1 thing to do in Oaxaca! Book this special experience without hesitation.

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