Mexico’s cuisine is far more than tacos and burritos. It’s full of flavor from indigenous plants and grains, and regionally distinctive. Tia Stephanie Tours, a premier operator of cultural and culinary tours to Mexico, has now created three geographically-targeted gastronomic itineraries to Mexico, specifically: Yucatan, Baja California, and Oaxaca. Each tour offers unique experiences emerging from the vibrant food culture, landscape, personality, and community of the particular locality. Notes Stephanie Schneiderman, Founder of Tia Stephanie Tours, “As a specialist in cultural travel to Mexico, we can’t think of a more important expression of Mexico’s culture, than its culinary heritage; its food. We are delighted to expand our culinary immersion offerings beyond our original Culture and Cuisine of Mexico, which we launched in 2009.”
Culture and Cuisine of Yucatan
Yucatan’s geographic location, distant from mainland Mexico and its blend of influences, including: Maya, Spanish, Lebanese, French, has created a singular culinary palate and kaleidoscope of flavors. Here, the cuisine is “Yucatecan” and not “Mexican,” with dishes such as: sikil pak, fish tikin-xic, pollo and cochinita pibil, sopa de lima, and papadzules. Beginning at the Mercado Lucas de Galvez, travelers learn about ingredients such as sour orange, native squash, red and black recados (rubs or pastes) that make this region different from the rest of Mexico. A visit to Yucatan would be incomplete without exploring the Classic and Post Classic Maya Era sites, such as Uxmal and Mayapan and swimming in the deep blue, fresh water cenotes (sink holes). The trip begins in Merida, travels to Uxmal and continues to Campeche City in the state of Campeche.
Flavors and Landscapes of Baja California
Baja Med defines the cuisine here. It was coined by pioneering Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero of Querencia in Tijuana. Like the Mediterranean, Baja California’s arid, sunny and seaside climate, is known for its seafood, olive oils, cheeses and is the epicenter of Mexico’s wine production. This journey begins in Tijuana, were the urban revival of this border city becomes very evident to travelers. Far from being a seedy border town, Tijuana has come into its own, with renowned architecture, cooking schools, museums, restaurants and cutting edge food truck parks and craft beer! Baja’s Museum of the Americas showcases the early settlers, missionaries and immigrants, who shaped the region and introduced grape cuttings here. La Quirencia by Miguel Angel Guerrero and Mission 19 by Javier Plasencia offer innovative Baja cuisine and craft beers such as Psycho Border and Insurgentes, which have an international following. Beyond Tijuana, this journey takes travelers to Tecate, the northern entry to the Valley of Guadalupe to explore the wine production here, including famed vintner, Hugo d’ Acosta’s La Escuelita, wine making school, and numerous farm-to-table, al fresco dining options from Drew Deckman, Diego Hernández and others. Moving to the coast, seafood is explored and savored in Ensenada and Rosarito, famed for its fresh fish, seafood tostadas, and lobster. It is the birthplace of the margarita cocktail!
Maize, Mole & Mezcal: Traditions and Flavors of Oaxaca
This newest tour, is designed around the pillars of the famed culinary traditions of Oaxaca. Beginning with maize, the foundation of Mexico’s ancient and present cuisine, moving to Oaxaca’s renowned molé sauces, and finishing with the distilled beverage, mezcál, this trip not only introduces travelers to these foods, buts examines them within the historic and cultural context of Mexico.
Highlights of the tour include: learning about ancient corn and its early domestication, which led to the great civilizations in Mexico and understanding how corn is the cornerstone of Mexican communities, including its daily ritual and veneration. On the tour, travelers will prepare two molé sauces, one being a rich and complex variant, molé negro, the other a more simple one, molé amarillo. Molé sauces will also be savored in the villages and restaurants of Oaxaca. Finally, the revered distilled beverage, mezcál, will be explored, from the soil, agavé varieties and to its preservation. Given the recent boom in mezcál around the world, the mezcaleros are struggling with demand. This is creating strains on the ecosystem and the industry. We’ll learn more about what it means to drink mezcál responsibly!
For upcoming cultural and culinary travel opportunities with Tia Stephanie Tours visit www.tiastephanietours.com or contact Stephanie personally at: 1260 Patricia Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48103; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org: Phone: (734) 769-7839; Facebook: www.facebook.com/tiastephanietours/