It’s Sunday at The Explorean Kohunlich by Fiesta Americana resort in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, and your clients want to dig into the local culture. They’re in luck, because the resort offers guests the opportunity to learn how to traditionally prepare one of the Yucatan peninsula’s most famous dishes, cochinita pibil, a pre-Hispanic delicacy made from pork. Or, if they’re up to exploring a local food market in Mexico City, then recommend a stay at the St. Regis Mexico City, which offers a chef led-tour of the San Juan Market, where guests learn about produce, edible flowers, herbs, seasonings and sauces, as well as edible insects, one of Mexico’s ancient culinary traditions. Or maybe your clients would like to dine at a molecular gastronomy restaurant while visiting Cancun. Jesus Almaguer, CEO of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, points to Azul Sensatori Resort by Karisma’s AAA five-diamond Le Chique, which Almaguer says, “is a top hotel restaurant that foodies traveling to Cancun shouldn’t miss.” He goes on to explain that “Cancun offers unparalleled gastronomy to its visitors. Its legendary recipes, the richness of its native gastronomy, and the blending of local cuisine with international influences make Cancun’s cuisine one of the most varied in the world. The city is also host to the Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, one of the largest culinary festivals in the Caribbean. The event typically gathers the best chefs, winemakers and sommeliers of the world in Cancun. It also features a wide variety of events including food and wine pairings, special chef tributes, and mezcal and wine tastings, and much more.” If, on the other hand, you’ve booked your clients a stay on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Richard Zarkin, public relations manager for the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau, recommends clients dine at “Carolina, the only AAA five-diamond awarded restaurant in the state of Nayarit. It’s located in the St. Regis Punta Mita and serves contemporary Mexican cuisine with signature dishes such as pozole verde ceviche and suckling pig.” Zarkin adds that Riviera Nayarit offers “a diverse culinary landscape where travelers have the option to enjoy masterfully prepared seafood and indigenous produce at San Pancho’s charming Bistro Organico, or something casual that offers a true sense of place such as a palapa serving ceviche tostados right on the beach.”
Mexico does indeed offer a diverse culinary landscape, so here’s a trail of new experiences to further entice your foodie clients to one of the world’s leading culinary destinations:
- Opening in late 2016, the all-suite Grand Velas Los Cabos will offer six restaurants, four bars, a cevicheria, a designated mezcal and tequila tasting room, and a coffee bar that, says Ignacio Mendoza, the resort’s managing director, will “allow guests to explore and savor a worldly fusion of flavors without leaving the comfort of the resort. For example, Cocina de Autor will be helmed by two star Michelin chef Sidney Schutte; and master sommelier Don Pedro Poncelis Brambila will be in charge of the resort’s wine program inspired by the proximity to the region producing Mexico’s fine wines. Wine pairings at dinner, ultra-premium wines from Ensenada, and wine tastings, among other features, are already on tap. Then there are the foodie experiences—a margarita trolley; juice mixology; and tequila, mezcal, wine and even hot sauce tastings.”
• In Playa del Carmen, at Playacar Palace there’s a new sensory dining experience, Alkimia, which stimulates the five senses over the course of a 2-hour dinner. The experience features innovative culinary techniques such as liquid nitrogen and low-temperature cooking to create such dishes as frozen roses and carnation petal soup, complemented by an audiovisual spectacle that features theatrical music and visually appealing art. Guests are even asked to don dark glasses for some “dark dining” (the experience is for up to 10 guests).
• UNICO Hotel Riviera Maya, the first resort to debut under the UNICO Hotels brand in early 2017, will be home to Cueva Siete, the property’s inaugural rotating chef restaurant concept that will pay homage to regional Yucatan dishes. The rotating chef, all-day dining restaurant concept will take guests on an edible tour of Mexico by serving dishes rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions, including Mexican street food for breakfast, such as antojitos like flautas and tamales; and for dinner a more refined chef-driven menu with familiar and lesser-known Mexican specialties. Diners will receive a short hand-signed letter from the chef explaining his inspiration for the menu, and every meal will conclude with a shot of top-shelf mezcal and small chocolate. There’ll even be table-side preparations of iced or hot Mexican chocolate, with traditional xocolat disks, a molinillo for whisking, and authentic vanilla beans.
• At Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort, guests can participate in the new Interactive Kitchen Tours featuring hands-on cooking demos. They’ll learn first-hand what it takes to feed hundreds of guests 24 hours a day.
• And tell your clients headed to Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta to stop in at the onsite La Cevicheria, where chef Betty prepares cuisine that is rooted in tradition, but with a modern touch. As she herself says, “Every dish needs to be exquisitely prepared with passion—I am very proud of my Mexican roots and it makes me happy to share them in every plate and with every guest who visits us.”
Azul Sensatori Resort by Karisma: karismahotels.com
The Explorean Kohunlich by Fiesta Americana: fiestamericana.com
Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau: cancun.travel
Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta: fiestamericana.com
Grand Velas Los Cabos: grandvelas.com
Playacar Palace: palaceresorts.com
Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau: rivieranayarit.com
Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort: sandos.com
St. Regis: starwoodhotels.com/stregis
UNICO Hotel Riviera Maya: unicohotelrivieramaya.com
Heading to Los Cabos?
The Sabor a Cabo Festival (Flavors of Cabo), which takes place Dec. 4-10 throughout Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, gathers the top chefs and culinary talents from the region’s best restaurants to share culinary creations reflecting Baja and beyond.