Tasty Tacos At Xalapa
The journey to Noosa’s freshest taqueria started with a 95-year-old lady named Elena. Jolene Ogle chats to Xalapa Craft Taqueria y Café owners Bree and Andrew to find out how a lady from Bree’s childhood led to the opening of a hot new food outlet on Hastings Street.
Bree and Andrew Peter are like most of us; they holidayed in Noosa for most of their childhoods and when the chance came to escape the Sydney chaos, they jumped at the opportunity to move here. With their three boys in tow, aged 6, 4 and 2, they settled in Noosa Heads late last year and started a life of sunshine, sand and the sea.
Bree and Andrew brought their furniture and kids to Noosa, as well as their shared love of everything South America. But the story of Xalapa Craft Taqueria y Café starts way back in Bree’s childhood.
While studying at the University of Technology in Sydney, one of the courses required the students to live overseas for 12 months. Most of the students went to Europe, but Bree chose Mexico.
“My heart went with Mexico,” Bree recalls. “When I was little, we had a gorgeous lady who was a part of our life. She cleaned our house every now and then. Elena was from Uruguay, she spoke Spanish and she was a beautiful, strong lady; I just loved her.
“That sparked my obsession with South America and its language. When the choice came up at university, I could choose between Chile or Mexico. Living in Xalapa was one of the best years of my life.”
Showing that you never know when the next twist or turn will come, it was while walking along Hastings Street that Andrew had an idea. The former Information Centre hut was for lease and Andrew saw this was a chance to realise a dream.
“We had been in Noosa for about seven months and we were having such an amazing time but, we thought we had better create an income so we wouldn’t have to drag the family back to Sydney,” Andrew says.
“I was going for a walk along Hastings Street and I saw the stand was for lease. It’s rare to find something this size for lease on Hastings Street.”
“He rang me puffing and said he had the best idea,” Bree recalls. “I thought ‘oh no’ because I was teaching, had three kids and two short-term rentals, plus the normal cleaning and cooking. But Andrew said, ‘what about a taqueria’? We did the numbers and realised it was achievable, so I was in.”
Xalapa is a fresh and fast take-away taqueria where local and seasonal produce is on show. For Bree, integrity in the food created at Xalapa is more important than the difference in cost between bulk bought foods and those sourced from locals living right here in Noosa.
“Even if it costs more, we just can’t skimp when it comes to quality,” Bree explains. “It shows in the food when you take the time to source quality.”
Xalapa’s tacos and homemade sauces are created using free-range meats from Eumundi Meats, farm fresh eggs from Dragan Farm, tomatoes from Noosa Reds and an abundance of organic produce from Good Harvest Organic Farm.
The tacos are handmade to order on a taco maker imported from Mexico and Bree makes all the sauces and nut milks.
“I’ve been cooking my whole life,” she said. “I always try to cook healthy meals for my family, and it has been so fun putting my passion on a plate and sharing it with Noosa locals and visitors.
“My dream job as a kid was to be a chef, but I’m a teacher and have studied writing so it’s great to finally be here with Xalapa and share my passion for healthy food.”
Bree and Andrew said the best thing about bringing their dream to life has been how supportive and encouraging the local community have been.
“Noosa has such a community feel,” Bree says. “We didn’t expect that when we came from Sydney. Not one person has said anything negative about Xalapa and our menu and everyone genuinely want us to succeed.”