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Cooking in the Yucatan, Mexico
with Chef Anita Lo:
October 25-31, 2018
To quote Chef Anita Lo from her book Beyond Borders, “Travel is one of the most obvious ways to expand your palate and integrate new flavors into your cooking.” Now you have the opportunity to spend a week with Chef Lo exploring the beauty and bounty of the Yucatán. Visit the food markets and each day, learn from local cooks in hands-on cooking classes where you prepare salsas and guacamole, panuchos, poc chuc, pollo pibil, tortillas and so much more. We can’t be in this area without a visit to the Mayan archaeological site, Uxmal and our timing is perfect to celebrate and eat the traditional foods on the Day of the Dead. Chef Lo finishes off the week by teaching us how to make a meal with her signature, contemporary take on Yucateca cuisine.
During this 7 day/6 night culinary adventure stay in an elegant 17th century hacienda that has the luxury of a world class resort. There are 250 acres of gardens and natural habitat with walking trails, swimming pool, spa, salon and gym pavilion. The Casa Principal with its traditional hacienda architecture has expansive terraces, elegant living rooms and a library with a well-stocked bar. You’ll also enjoy the sound of waterfalls and bird songs while lounging on outdoor terraces. The beautiful bedrooms have luxurious baths, high ceilings and elegant tile floors. An attentive staff makes sure you are looked after properly.
Day 1: Thursday, October 25Arrival at the Hacienda – Welcome cocktail and botanas/snacks
Day 2: Friday, October 26Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. followed by a tour of the Hacienda – You will meet the staff you will be working with in the kitchen during the coming days!
After the tour of Hacienda, you will begin your first day of cooking classes. Fully hands-on, you will help the cooks make the entire lunch, Frijol con Puerco. This succulent meal is the traditional Monday fare in the Yucatan. Guests will also learn how to make Dulce de Papaya for dessert.
After lunch and a bit of relaxation time, perhaps by the pool, or a walk on the grounds, the group will be treated to a class in how to make some of the local snacks, including Xnipek, or our special Guacamole, and Sik il Pak, a hearty dip made from roasted calabash seeds and roasted red tomatoes. Keep in mind that daily you are welcome to practice your handmade tortilla technique. It’s harder than it looks! Optional - The girls will also be happy to give a mixology class of some of the more popular and delicious cocktails.
Supper in one of the outside terraces.
Day 3: Saturday, October 27Breakfast at approximately 8:30 a.m. followed by a departure for the Merida market tour and visit to the landmark sorbet shop, Sorbeteria Colon and then on to the delicious Chocolate Store and Museum. During the busy market tour you'll see the produce of the local diet and select spices and chiles that we’ll use during the week. Chile Xcatic, achiote, and lots of chile habaneros and Serranos will be included in our selection.
Return to the Hacienda where another traditional Mayan meal will be waiting for us. We can rest and regroup for a couple of hours before the evening hands-on class. The supper class is Sopa de Tortilla and the traditional Poc Chuc with its compliment dishes of Chiltomate and salsa of roasted red onions. The guests will also learn how to make the spicy Chile Habanero sauce, Chile K’ut. Another optional session with the Hacienda’s bar menu will be offered.
Evening entertainment will be open to guests in the Media Room where there are approximately 250 movies on the 80" TV screen available to choose from for viewing.
Day 4: Sunday, October 28Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. The group will head to the stunning Mayan archaeological site of Uxmal today, leaving the Hacienda at 9:30 a.m. The charismatic and knowledgeable guide will accompany you on this excursion.
Next stop will be at a nearby cenote, or sinkhole. Cenotes are crystal clear, pure watering holes where you will be able to swim or just relax and photograph the natural beauty of these Yucateca sites. You will have a gourmet picnic lunch here before returning to the Hacienda in the mid afternoon.
Back at the Hacienda after some down time to recuperate and enjoy a Margarita or Paloma, you will return to the kitchen to begin today’s class. Tonight’s meal will be Sopa de Lima and the achiote and sour orange seasoned and banana leaf wrapped dish that is cooked in the in-the-ground oven. This chicken dish is called Pollo Pibil.
Day 5: Monday, October 29Breakfast at a leisurely 9:00 a.m. followed by a morning of full immersion cooking.
Today you’ll cook with Chef Anita Lo, as she prepares her contemporary American meal based on the flavors on the Yucatan.
After lunch you are welcome to use the pool, use the fitness center, or relax with a book in a nook in one of the gardens.
Late in the afternoon you are welcome to join the ladies in the kitchen to learn how to make the coconut sweet treat, Cocada, for tonight’s dessert.
After supper, movies will be offered again and of course the Game Room is always open!
Day 6: Tuesday, October 30Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m.
The group will head to the town of Merida to celebrate the Day of the Dead which dates back to pre-Hispanic times. Come November, every house and cemetery will become a veritable shop window display! As mentioned above, the primary tradition here involves constructing private and incredibly decorative altars, called ofrendas in memory of the deceased.
Return to Hacienda for evening cocktails with music by Los Tres Yucatecos. A farewell dinner follows.