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A look into Saturday's Tucson Tamal Festival contest

2018 2nd place winner vies for the top spot
Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 11:05:32-05

TUCSON, ARIZ — It's that time of year again when many families get together to make tamales or head over to the Tucson Tamal Festival at Casino Del Sol.

That's where you find tons of tamales to buy and taste. A big draw December 7th -- the celebrated tamale contest.

2018 2nd place winner Chef Maria Sotelo invited KGUN9 into her home as she prepares a bunch of different flavors for competition.

She has her eye on the top prize -- $750 dollars along with the title Best All-Around Tamale Winner.

She's making spinach tamales, which she said was a very popular flavor last year.

Quality of the tamales is critical and she has one complaint this year. "They sell these beautiful corn husks. Not happy with them this year, because they raised the price."

Sotelo is not in the competition solely for the money and bragging rights. "It's fun. It's very entertaining. You have to plan for the day and have fun," she said.

The fun includes featuring her the sweet tamales, which will include strawberry, marmalade and cream cheese. "Pineapples are very popular. Coconut and sweet beans," she said.

The contest is determined by more than 50 judges in four categories -- traditional, corn, gourmet and sweet.

She'll be there to win, but she's also inviting everyone to visit her tent "La Cosina de la Maria" to try out her tamales.

The 15th Annual Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival is taking place December 7th from 10am to 5pm at the AVA Amphitheater. It's free and open to the public.

Click here for more information.