Eat Your Way Through Latin America’s Vast Variety of Tamales at This DC Fest

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Whether you call them hallacas, humitas, pasteles, nacatamales, or simply tamales, it’s undeniable that the pre-Columbian dish is beloved everywhere from the Midwest to the tip of the Southern Cone and beyond. The masa-filled food may have originated in Mesoamerica, but tamales belong to all of Latin America. And that’s exactly what Hola Cultura wants to highlight at the second annual TamalFest DC – a part culinary fest, part cultural exchange.

“Tamales have been around for centuries,” according to the organizers. “It is truly a pan-American dish passed on for generations across Latin America – and more recently the United States, where Latino immigrants, and other tamal lovers, establish new traditions. Last year, we, at Hola Cultura, had the idea of bringing residents of Washington DC together for a new twist on a tamaliza, or tamal party.”

Taking place on April 19, 2015, the first tamal meet up fed 400 people. The gathering featured tamales from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, and El Salvador. This year, the festival coincides with the holiday season (aka tamal season). Organizers promise that it’ll be even bigger than last year’s festivities. But in order to do that, Hola Cultura is turning to tamale lovers across the DMV to help make the event possible.

The organization set up a Kickstarter campaign and is looking to raise $4,000, which will go toward cooking stipends, entertainer fees, venue rental, staff time, and outreach costs. “By becoming a financial backer, you are supporting local culinary impresarios – from restaurant owners to small ma and pa (or mami y papi) operations, as well as local performers providing the festival entertainment,” the page reads. “You will also be supporting the empowering social mission of Hola Cultura, celebrating the wide variety of high quality Latino arts and cultural expressions unfolding year-round across the greater Washington region.”

Those who contribute to the crowdfunding campaign can purchase tickets for $12, which is $3 cheaper than the door price.

TamalFest DC will take place on Sunday, December 4 at Bell Multicultural High School Cafeteria, 3101 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20010, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, December 2.