PRESS TRIP: Mexico Part I

©Instagram.com/grandvelasmaya
©Instagram.com/grandvelasmaya

Mexico is featured atop many lists of “foodie travel trends” in 2015. Also trending right this instant are American chefs who love to revisit the rich flavours of traditional Mexican ingredients: corn, beans and chilli peppers: Sean Brock, Paul Kahan and Enrique Olvera just to name a few.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Mexico’s traditional cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Its conquistador-inspired recipes (meat, churros, rice), ancestral practices (nixtamalization, grinding stones, stone mortar) and native ingredients (avocado, tomato, cocoa, vanilla) are recognized throughout the world and in all form of gastronomy.

On January 24th I am leaving Quebec City on a direct flight for Mexico’s gastronomical heritage. I am traveling via Air Transat, because it’s the cheapest and easiest way I found to travel south from Quebec City. Hold on to your avocados Mexico, here I come!

©Instagram.com/grandvelasmaya
©Instagram.com/grandvelasmaya

Mexican food defined by flavours, tradition and a modern zest!

I am staying at the Grand Velas resort in Riviera Maya, mostly to enjoy four days of their luxurious all-inclusive Mexican lifestyle, but primarily because it is home to the only five-diamond AAA/CAA rated hotel restaurant in Mexico. Since Mexican food is defined by flavours, tradition and history, the Grand Velas’ gastronomic experience will bring a modern zest to the trend.

If Mexican cuisine landed on the “foodie travel trends of 2015”, it’s mostly because of its young chefs and… the Food Network! For the last few years, Marcella Valladolid, Aròn Sanchez and Rick Bayless (PBS) have popularised Mexican cuisine and the use of more refined/authentic ingredients. And, as any other food trend, younger chefs are revisiting mexican classics and steering away from the Americanized Tex-Mex. Chef Xavier Perez Stone is one of the latter gang. He was recently crowned Mexico’s “Chef of the Year” at the Alimentaria Expo Mexico, the country’s largest food & beverage trade show. He also won the 2014 International Iron Chef competition serving grasshoppers. Grasshoppers! Yet another trend for 2015.

His playground, along with chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso, is the Cocina de Autor. The Cocina is featured among the “100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences in the World” according to Food & Wine magazine. Travel + Leisure thinks its one of the “Best 23 Restaurants in Mexico”. The Cocina de Autor is located inside the Grand Velas Riviera Maya hotel alongside seven other restaurants, two of which are rated four diamonds by the CAA/AAA: Piaf and Frida. Luxurious dinning experiences in an all-inclusive resort is definitely my kind of foodie destination!

I am invited to stay at the Grand Velas. Since opportunities like these don’t come often, I will be as active as I can on social media. If you want to follow my Mexican adventure, Instagram is your best friend. You can expect lots of pictures of food (I already signed up for cooking classes!), my overall experience at the resort, as well as my visit to the Grand Velas gardens where authentic mexican flavours are born.

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