I look back over this year and I can count seven trips to Mexico! What a lucky fellow I am! One of the highlights was surely a magical weekend at Dianne Kushner's Casa Luna in San Miguel de Allende. Dianne runs what must be one the most beautiful places to stay in town and now she has an incredible ranch that sees a lot of weddings, parties and cooking classes.
I was at Rancho Luna for a big pig cookoff with Dianne's friends but after a tour of the ranch and meeting some of the gardeners (who are producing some incredible organic vegetables), we arranged to plant some of the rarer beans from the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project and see if they could adapt to Rancho Luna.
We planted some cream-colored runners among the established heirloom corn Dianne had growing.
The hope is that she'll have a crop she can save seed from and start a tradition of bean-growing at Rancho Luna. We ate the leftover seed as part of the big luncheon at the ranch and we all agreed their flavor was worth preserving.
Above you can see me with the Xoxoc kids, Gabriel, Yunuen and Antonio. We'd been traveling a lot this summer and it was a real treat to rest awhile in the lap of luxury at Casa Luna.
My beloved Ruth Alegria was there to prepare what appears to be some magical pork!
Making a xoconostle salsa.
After dinner, we talked a little bit about our dishes and I of course went on about the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project. In the photo above, I'm volunteering Yunuen to explain Xoxoc's unique work with the sour prickly pears, xoconostle, and she is clearly thrilled that I have caught her unprepared. She did great, despite my ambush!
In addition to us, Casa Luna hosted the hummingbird nest above. I've never seen anything like it.
I hope you get to experience Dianne's hospitality at Casa Luna sooner than later. Her sense of style is legendary and in addition to a flair for decorating, she has an incredible eye for textiles and personally I think she should do a book on her collection. She's also incredibly fun.
Judy Witts Francini is bringing Italy to Mexico for a special series of classe at Casa Luna in January. More information.
(The photos are from Ruth, the Xoxoc kids, and me)