Darn it, no ponche this year

From left: Guavas (guayabas), Hawthorne apples (tejocotes) and sugar cane (caña de azucar) are items used to make the traditional Mexican holiday punch, Ponche. These are prohibited from being transported across ports of entry because they pose significant pest risks. (photos & info from CBP)

Customs and Border Protection always has to kill my holiday trip! No ponche at the Fregado house this winter season. I can’t wait to see the release prohibiting Santa Claus from flying across international borders. This is their full release:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reminds Public

Ponche Ingredients are Prohibited from Entry

SOUTH TEXAS — Ponche, a traditional Mexican holiday punch, is shared and enjoyed among many families along the Southwest Border during holiday seasons. However the ingredients used to make it, guavas, Hawthorne apples and sugar cane are all illegal when imported across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the ports are expecting an increase in the attempted importation of the prohibited ingredients through passenger ports.

CBP is advising the public the prohibited items pose significant pest risks. Both the guavas and Hawthorne apples are prohibited, under 7 CFR 319.56, and the sugar cane if imported freshly harvested is prohibited under 7 CFR 319.15.

Leticia Moran, Director of Field Operations, Laredo Field Office, noted that the South Texas ports of entry are expecting an increase in attempts to illegally bring the Ponche ingredients across the border.

“I want to remind the public that these products are prohibited and failure to declare them could result in penalties,” he said. “Historically, we’ve seen an increased rate of interception of these items during the holiday seasons.”

Moran further advised that CBP officers and agriculture specialists will be on the lookout for individuals attempting to import these ponche ingredients through the passenger environment and will refer vehicles for secondary inspection that are believed to be transporting these and other prohibited items.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Lest I give my good friend over at CBP a heart attack, he should know that I completely understand why there are rules for transporting seeds and soil to the U.S. and also into Mexico. I will stop bugging him about having to eat slightly brown aguacates (avocados) because the seed is removed at the fruteria (fruit store) in Nuevo Laredo. I will stop telling him how many times my friend gets sent back to Mexico because she has too much mud on her tires and needs to wash them off. I really do get it. I hope we all do honor these rules or risk confiscation of our fruits, plants, and anything else prohibited. So then…

Forget the ponche and bring on the eggnog… oh wait, is there raw egg in there? That is another no-no in the U.S. – domestic salmonella, bah, humbug!


About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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8 Responses to Darn it, no ponche this year

  1. Poncho1950 says:

    The egg in the Mexican eggnog, aka rompope, is heated until it thickens, so it is sterile. A friend of mine from El Salvador considers a rompope type of drink, made with eggs and milk, as ponche. One of his more clever sayings from the country, referring to somebody who had trumped up academic credentials, was to call the man a “doctor de ponche”: “porque tiene los huevos de llamarse doctor, y la leche de que le crean.”

  2. stxparrothead says:

    Try a new tradition this year- Wassail- my fav Holiday Drink 🙂 Bonus- your house will smell amazing! And the ingredients are all available at HEB, well, maybe not the rum 😉

    2 quarts apple juice
    1 pint cranberry juice
    3/4 C sugar
    1 tsp bitters
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 sm orange, studded with cloves
    1 cup rum (optional)
    Combine ingredients in a crock pot. Heat for 1 hour on high, then 4 to 8 hours on low.

  3. rick78 says:

    Santa does not visit Mexico anymore . Remember Cheech and Chong’s Christmas song that Santa was given a hard time by US Customs. Then it’s deer season someone in Laredo will take a shot at his reindeer. So no border visit from jolly red .

  4. macast says:

    Tang has a powdered “Ponche Navideno” It’s really good.
    I’ll take you some so you can try it.

  5. Maricela says:

    good golly, Que Fregados , i read your blog , thats a nice blog and perfect. i’m going to plan to read and comment more on your site.

  6. Professional says:

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  7. James D says:

    Thanks for the great post. Bookmarked.

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