Dove and wheat

In the beak of the flying white dove is a stalk of wheat. This is the emblem on the mix for wheat tortillas that comes from the Guenther family’s Pioneer Mills in San Antonio. Products containing soft wheat used to be called White Wings in English and La Paloma for the Spanish-speaking trade. Now anything called “La Paloma” carries the “White Wings” name as well, it seems. The sack has directions both in English and in Spanish for making tortillas and bunuelos. The ingredients in the mix nearly duplicate those on the El Galindo tortillas, which may even be made from flour that comes from San Antonio. But El Galindo tortillas are not always easy to find. More stores carry El Galindo yellow corn tortillas (corn, lime, and water only, a rare ingredient list these days) than stock either of the flour tortillas (Homestyle or Mexican Press). At my H-E-B, they’re given the very lowest shelf and are sold out more often than not. So I’ve been trying substitutes for those times when El Galindo wheat tortillas cannot be found.

Here’s an ingredient list for the worst of the flour tortillas tried: bleached wheat flour, water, shortening, rice flower, salt, butter flavor [!], sugar, baking powder, yeast, preservative blend, dough conditioner, and soy lecithin. The taste and texture were vile, and this is from a company making tortilla chips that are pushing tostaditas made by El Galindo (and in some places those made by El Lago, too) right off the shelves.

On our recent second visit to the new Whole Foods, though, we found these: Margarita’s Original White Tortillas, made in Manchaca by Margarita’s Tortilla Factory. On the comal, they puff right up in the same way that El Galindo tortillas do. They have a light flour dusting and are just a bit more salty than I would make myself from scratch. But they are beautiful and just right for carne guisada and they also work as pretend (non-buttered) naan substitutes to accompany Indian food. Here are the ingredients: organic wheat flour, water, canola oil, non-aluminum baking powder, and salt.

So it may be a while before I try the Paloma mix, and I may never be required to try making flour tortillas entirely from scratch in the old way: flour, lard, water, and salt. It won’t be so long again between visits to Whole Foods, now that I’ve tried Margarita’s fresh and tender tortillas, which I’ve not seen elsewhere. Did I say that they’re delicious? They are.

2 Comments so far

  1. sonia (unregistered) on February 19th, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

    Thank you for the accolade. We strive to make tortillas and tamales with the authentic homemade taste! 100% natural & organic. Thank you for your loyalty and we’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary this year!

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on February 19th, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

    I’m only sorry that I didn’t find them sooner. There are some truly terrible flour tortillas out there, really revolting! And Margarita’s continue to please for their fresh, wholesome, unadulterated quality. They are what draw us to Whole Foods (although lamb and chocolate decadence are beginning to play a role); they are the prime attraction. Gotta try tamales soon.

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