Veracruz offers up some fabulous food – the state’s coffee, fruit and vanilla are renowned, and the seafood is also superb. Huachinango a la Veracruzana (red snapper Veracruz-style) is served across the country, and is of course on every menu here; the Veracruzana sauce of tomato, chile, onions and olives can also spice up anything from steak to squid. Other local specialities include pulpos a la marinera (baby octopus), arroz a la tumbada (Veracruz-style rice, packed with seafood), empanadas de camaron (shrimp turnovers) and jaiba, a large local crab; look out too for anything made with chile chipotle, a hot, dark-brown chile with a very distinctive (and delicious) flavour – chilpachole de jaiba is a sort of crab chowder that combines the two. Sweet tamales, too, are a speciality, and to wash it all down, the brewery at Orizaba produces some of the best beers in the country. Stronger liquors include the mind-wiping toritos, made with fruits and blended with condensed milk and a tot of brandy.

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