christmas traditions – La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacations http://lavillabonita.com Mexican Culinary Vacation Packages in Tepoztlan, Sayulita, and Puebla, Mexico with Chef Ana Garcia Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:41:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The "Commonality" of Food http://lavillabonita.com/the-commonality-of-food-3/ Tue, 11 Jan 2011 15:54:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/the-commonality-of-food-3/

Many people ask me, how is it that your guests seem to get along so well when they come from all different walks of life, different ages, different places?  I have to tell you that I have been offering my culinary vacation packages for over ten years and it is amazing and very gratifying to watch every week how my guests come together and become friends.

The holidays for us are always busy with guests, and of course . . .the holidays!.  This year was no exception.  We had guests from Virginia, New York, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and even Tabasco, Mexico and Australia.  This year we had women traveling by themselves, friends traveling together, families with adult children and their spouses, a family of three generations – grandmother, mother and 2 year old granddaughter, and couples.  The amazing thing is people who perhaps under different circumstances would not have a reason to say “hello” on the street, become such great friends so quickly making their first mole at La Villa Bonita at what is supposed to be such a hectic and stressful time during the holidays.

I attribute it to the “commonality” of food and the culture that goes along with it.  If you enjoy good food, like to travel, and are open to appreciate another culture, you have so much in common with other people who on the surface seem so different.  In this day and age, we tend to compartmentalize and categorize everyone.  Society gives you a label and you are supposed to act in accord when in reality there are so many other areas of common ground that people of different walks of life share.

When you come to La Villa Bonita, you have made a conscious decision to not “veg on the beach” during your vacations.  You appreciate learning about another culture and are open to try new things.  You are a “learned” person — not necessarily with titles or degrees — but  with a thirst for knowledge and new experiences.  And, of course, you must love food.  If you have all of those qualities, you are very likely to enjoy this type of vacation at La Villa Bonita and have lots of things in common with our guests.  But there is no template for who our “normal” guest is with respect to age, race, sex, or nationality.

I have to admit that I was very pleased this year because it was such a great cross-section of all the guests of different walks of life that come together making their first tortilla from scratch.  It makes my job so much fun to see how people of such seemingly diverse paths converge and enjoy themselves.

Peace, love and good food,
Chef Ana

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Christmas Tree Tradition in Tres Marias http://lavillabonita.com/christmas-tree-tradition-in-tres-marias-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/christmas-tree-tradition-in-tres-marias-2/#comments Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:38:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/christmas-tree-tradition-in-tres-marias-2/

I have never been a big fan of the Christmas tree. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and decorating my house fully for the season, but the tree has never been high on my list. I don’t like the fake trees and I feel bad about buying a real tree that has been trucked in from who-knows-where. My husband convinced me that there were local trees that you cut yourself that support some worthy rural areas that are trying to create sustainable businesses that are good for the environment. I also have two young boys and would like to create a tradition with them of going to get the tree and decorating it.

In Mexico, the cutting of a tree is serious business. All trees are federally protected. If you do not have an official permit to cut a tree you can be pulled over for violating federal law. In Morelos, my husband found one of only two state-designated Christmas tree farms. This one was located close to Tres Marias in the mountains.

We gave a call to Fidelina Vasquez the propietor of the farm and met her in the intersection of the old highway to Mexico City that crossects the road to Huitzilac. She joined us in our car to guide us to where the trees are. She brought her handsaw, twine, machete and a very charming disposition. We had a wonderful conversation about her farm and the type of trees that she grows. She struck me as a very hard working and entrepreneurial person. The boys were very excited as we travailed the dirt road up in the mountains. She explained to us that the variety that she has is a native one called ayacahuite and is very renewable variety. Fidelina had been taking classes on how to care for the trees, grow them, and how to re-grow them not only from seedlings but also from the stump that is left after it is cut.

We selected our tree and wrapped it in twine. Fidelina told us that it takes about 5-8 years for the tree to be Christmas tree size from a sapling. However, the stump will usually grow two “new” trees which cuts the growth time by 2-3 years.

After bunding up the tree, my husband pulled the tree to the car and we loaded up the family. We took Fidelina back to her home and she gave us a special factura or receipt saying that this was an authorized tree cut.

The drive back from the tree field was very picturesque with the drying stacks of hay.

Here is our finished product at home at La Villa Bonita. It is a very charming tree. Not your usual Christmas tree. For those of you in southern Mexico City, Cuernavaca or Tepoztlan it is an easy drive to pick out your Christmas tree next year and you will be supporting the local economy as well as a very hard-working and entrepreneurial woman. Fidelina Vazquez Tel: 01(739)393-0267.

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