Profile: Simbiótica Fermentación, Mexico City
Tania Góngora (a food scientist) and Fernanda (‘Fer’) Iturbide (a sociologist and marketing expert) founded Simbiótica Fermentación in Mexico City in 2017. They divide responsibility between the fermentation science and marketing of their eight-year-old company, which now employs 18 people.
They produce and promote a wide range of Mexican ferments. In addition to their fermented foods and beverages, they conduct research, offer education through workshops, and provide information on regular podcasts.
They recognize the importance of consuming fermented foods daily, whether to highlight flavors in a dish or for the benefit they can bring to our health. However, they caution that ferments are not a panacea but have different properties that can strengthen our body.
They offer high-quality Mexican fermented foods with diverse flavors, crafted creatively and transparently at every stage, connecting the fields to the home. Their motto, “Naturaleza transformada con intención — “Nature transformed with intention” — highlights their commitment to the produce of the Mexican countryside and the farms contributing to organic, conscious food.
Local producers and organic certification
They are proud of sourcing supplies from local producers, such as Juan Diego Hernandez Cortes, whose family salt mill uses pre-Hispanic production methods. They source cabbage for kimchi from farmers in Tlaxcala. Other produce comes from Vivero Barrera in Xochimilco, a farm that promotes pesticide-free agroecology.
In January 2022 they were awarded Participatory Organic Certification (SCOP). This certification, recognized by Sagarpa-Senasica (Mexico’s National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality), ensures their commitment to agroecological practices and organic transformation, verifying the traceability of each ingredient used.
They offer kombucha on tap at farmers’ markets, such as the popular Mercado el 100, where regular customers bring their containers to be refilled. They are currently selling over 100 liters on tap each week.
In 2017 they started brewing kombucha and have since branched out to sell Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Coconut Kefir, Fermented Jam, Corn Miso, Tempeh, Agave Honey Garlic, Catsup, Water Kefir, and Fermented Pickles
A sample of the fermented foods include:
Garlic fermented in pulquero agave honey and spices. “We use a concentrate of unclarified mead, ginger, mint and thyme. It is predominantly sweet, spicy and citrusy. Thanks to fermentation, the flavor of garlic decreases its pungency. Culinary advantages: its flavor is similar to that of a teriyaki sauce. It can be used to cook or marinate proteins. Garlic can be marinated and used for stocks and other stews in general.”
Vegetable ferment of red cabbage with cumin and pepper.”Slightly crunchy and salty, acidity present due to lactic acid fermentation. Naturally fermented in brine. Culinary advantages: it can be served as a garnish, it highlights its flavor in foods such as snacks, red meats and vegetable proteins. Promotes salivation and increased perception of sapid notes.”
Fermented seasoning paste based on nixtamalized corn, well salt and koji mushroom (Aspergillus oryzae). “One-year fermentation, unctuous, salty, umami and with light sweetness. Culinary advantages: seasoning and flavor enhancer. It can also be used as a protein tenderizer. It can help reduce the amount of salt used when cooking.”
Vegetable ferment of white (or green) cabbage with cumin and pepper. “Slightly crunchy and salty, acidity present due to lactic acid fermentation. Naturally fermented in brine. Culinary advantages: it can be used as a garnish, it highlights its flavor in foods such as fish, poultry and snacks. Promotes salivation and greater perception of flavors.”
Their kombucha is made from organic green tea. Flavors include:
250 ml bottles sell for 54 pesos ($3.15) and 475 ml for 78 pesos ($4.50). They offer nationwide shipping in Mexico.
Fer and Tania host Fermentopia, their own lively series of Spanish-language podcasts. Check out our interview (in English!) for the latest about their thriving company.