Yucatan Cooking Classes (Lots of Photos)
Last autumn, I took a trip to the famous ex-hacienda San José El Marquez, owned by my friends who run Xoxoc. They were having a special event and a lot of chefs were coming in from Mexico City to meet Elidae and Delfina of Semilla de Dioses, visiting from Merida in the Yucatan. Most of the instructions were over my head but the flavors weren't and we all had a swell time learning about this particular and beautiful cuisine. A breakfast of good coffee and gorditas. Getting started in the hacienda's woodburning kitchen. For many of the chefs from Mexico City, the food of the Yucatan is as exotic as if it were from China. Not quite, but it was a new experience for many of us and certainly having a great teacher like Elidae was unique. Cesar Galvan Arciniega, who runs a wonderful store featuring artisan food from all over Mexico, La Nicolasa, helps out during break time with a round of tequila. I call them the "Xoxoc Kids" but Gabriel and Yunuen are much more. They're good friends and they've made it possible for us to start importing from Mexico. And they keep a room for me at the hacienda! The menu was very ambitious. Classic dishes included cochinita, mucbipollo, queso relleno, sopa de lima, sikilpak, papadzul, and relleno negro. The cooking took place over two days and on the second day, even more people came for the feast, again mostly from Mexico City. ` The day of the feast was incredible. One rich dish after another came out, one tasting better than the previous. I was incredibly full but I'd never tasted food like this and the risk of bursting was worth it. Beautiful wines from Baja, new friends, old pals, incredible food...... I imagined creating another weekend like this, geared towards my buddies stateside, mostly in English, but it's a huge undertaking and it's not going to happen for awhle. We also wanted to get a group together to tour the beanfields and meet some of the great resources we've been offering but there aren't enough hours in the day to plan and make something like this work. One day we will.