Talking Tortillas With Piet and Frik from Santa Annas
What do you do if you love Mexican tortillas but can’t find an authentic one anywhere in South Africa? You could settle for a corn flour wrap but for Piet and Frik of Santa Annas, that wasn’t good enough. They wanted a real deal, 100% ground corn tortilla with no added flour or funny stuff. So they did what any self-respecting obsessed foodie would do, they imported equipment from Mexico and made their own.
Part barbecue catering company, part tortilla and corn chip company, Santa Annas is one of South Africa’s most exciting ventures.
As Piet says, “It’s all about the gees,” and in Santa Annas case, that means epic smoked meats and authentic Mexican products. They also build custom smokers that range from large to hooks-onto-the-back of-your-bakkie-large.
How are Santa Anna Tortillas made?
What makes the tortillas so awesome is that they are as pure as you can get. The boys use organic dent corn that they cook in limewater to break down the cell structure. The corn becomes soft and malleable and from there it goes into the volcanic stone grinder. The result is a soft corn dough that is seasoned and then fed into the tortilla machine.
This clever machine rolls the dough flat then cuts it into rounds. The newborn tortilla goes down the conveyor and into the fire chamber to be toasted then comes out the other side. This all happens in a matter of minutes and the machine can do a thousand per hour.
Cooking with Santa Annas
Once the tortillas are cooled they are packed into bags or they are sent off to the fryer to make corn chips. The chips are cut by hand and fried in coconut oil and are without a doubt the best I’ve ever had. If you buy a pack I suggest you get the big one and go for two bags at least. After watching tortilla TV for a while, Piet offered to make us some tacos. He lead us to the in-house smoker and opened it to reveal the most beautiful barbecued brisket I’ve ever seen. I actually had to take a step back to avoid drooling on the meat.
Santa Annas Taco Recipes
Piet, a chef by trade, whipped us up three epic tacos. First up was the smoked brisket with grilled cabbage, fried onions, pickles and Jack Daniels sauce. Next was the vegan option of nacho crusted fried avo with refried beans and cashew nut cream. And, lastly we had a nacho crusted fried fish taco with pickles and Jack Daniels sauce. All three tacos were delicious, different and each had bursts of fresh flavours ranging from zesty and spicy to sweet and creamy. Piet says the taco is the perfect vehicle for any food and, after scoffing all three tacos, I couldn’t agree more.
Piet and Frik are just two guys that love Mexican and South American cuisine. They found a way to make what they couldn’t get and we food lovers are better off because of their success. Gracias and adiós!