Delfina, better known as “Doña Delfi” is my mother. We are the soul and heart of ‘La Reina de las Tortillas’, a family business started from scratch fifteen years ago in Madrid and, now currently the European leaders of artisan Mexican gastronomy.
From the tequila region of Atotonilco el Alto, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, my mother decided one day that it was enough of more than 33 years taking daily domestic violence from my father. She gathered my brothers and I, already in our twenties, and told us that we had three days to pack all our belongings. We fully supported her and together we voted for the destination. Australia was the first option but Delfina was not fluent in english, so we decided to go to Spain.
Luis, my older brother flew to Madrid with eight hundred euros in his pocket. After a few weeks living on the streets he found a job at a Mexican restaurant. Delfina joined him a year later sharing a 30m2 flat. One night after having dinner at this Mexican place she asked for three tacos which were served with wheat tortillas. She could not believe it. So she decided to try making one kilogram of real corn tortillas at her flat, following the ancient method of “nixtamal” used in very specific places in Mexico even today. Her son took these first samples to his boss, and the reaction was immediate- he wanted more.
In the meantime I went to the United States to work on a triple waitress shift for two years, allowing me to save enough money for my mother to buy a small machine that produced 10kg per day. Eventually I flew to Madrid and joined the rest of the family. All together again we moved to a bigger flat with rooms to rent which allowed for extra income. From then on, La Reina de las Tortillas was born.
Since 2006, the company has been supplying authentic products to more than 90% of Mexican restaurants in Spain, and most Mexican specialized shops.
From the factory in Madrid, we distribute tortillas and 200 other products to more than 12 European countries, with a consistently growing demand. The objective of our family business is simple: we are passionate about bringing the most celebrated Mexican culinary delights, in their purest form, to every corner of the European continent.
Today, after almost 15 years of hard work, La Reina is considered in Spain to be the company that brought to the “nixtamal” real corn tortilla to Europe (as it happened with chocolate or potato in the XVI century.) This invaluable cultural contribution allowed for infinite potential gastronomic business development. With good corn tortillas the “taquerías” started to open all over Europe, bringing with them an extraordinary range of exquisite and innovative Mexican dishes created by the best chefs. Basically because we put everything “in a taco”.
Two very basic concepts define the spirit of La Reina de las Tortillas. The first is providing high-quality products and the second is knowing our customers just like you would enjoy chatting with people at a Mexican taquería- about how to prepare them, the many different ways of cooking them, and just talking about basically anything.
My dream, making the first tortillas by hand at her dinning table in a tiny apartment in Madrid, is built around a simple idea: nothing unites countries, cultures and people like good food.
When I look at Lucy’s plans for helping women entrepreneurs, I see a much needed service that we didn’t have 15 years ago. It would certainly have allowed us to grow faster and I can clearly see how it will help people start and grow their businesses.
Artist: Hilal Fauzi, from Indonesia