La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacation – 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 My FAVORITE Celebration in Mexico: Feria del Huipil y Cafe http://lavillabonita.com/huipilpart1/ Tue, 16 May 2017 20:28:44 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/?p=2495

Let me introduce you to one of MY FAVORITE CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO!  This festival is called the Huipil and Coffee Festival in Cuetzalan, Puebla.  We are witnessing this festival with a special week September 28 – October 5, 2017.  It is a combination of cooking in Tepoztlan and visiting the Historic City of Puebla as well as experiencing one of the most authentic and beautiful Mexican festivals in Cuetzalan.  The full itinerary can be found here.

So what is a “huipil?”  A huipil is a traditional blouse that is made by the indigenous women in Puebla.  The festival of the huipil takes place to select a huipil queen for the region.  One young woman is selected from each of 11 towns around Cuetzalan.   She is then judged by village elders on the quality of her blouse, her traditional attire and her ability to talk about her village along with its history as well as preserving traditions in both Spanish and Nahuatl (the Aztec dialect).  This is an incredibly engrossing ceremony that takes place in the town square in front of the cathedral.

Prior to the Huipil coronation ceremony, there is a full day of the “voladores” or flyers who climb an incredibly tall tree that has been placed in the town square and slide down ropes upside-down until they reach the bottom.  A flute player dances on top of the log while the flyers come down and then he or she joins the other at the bottom.  Each village has their own style and you cannot take your eyes off of them.  I have seen this day now three times and I am mesmerized!

Later in the day come the procession of dancers from each part of town.  These extravagantly costumed dancers each have their own personality or character and they come one-by-one into the town square while the voladores continue with their descent.  Each group of dancers accompanies an elaborate wax sculpture that is to be delivered to the cathedral.  As well, in previous years we have been graciously invited by the “mayordomo” or local sponsor of the event to visit his or her house in town where the dancers come to pay their respects before proceeding to the cathedral.

There is a ton of things that we do during the Huipil week like visiting Puebla – the talavera pottery plant, the centro historico for the walking-eating tour, the incredible International Baroque Museum.  We also visit our friend in Libres, Puebla to have a wine and cheese party at his very beautiful little establishment.   I have more to share about this week so more entries will be coming!  We still have space for this year’s event in September and we would love to have you join us!

 

Have a question?  Want to book space? Want to chat? Fill out the form below:



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Chef Ana’s Recipe for Sopa de Lima from Cozumel Weeks 2013 http://lavillabonita.com/chef-anas-recipe-for-sopa-de-lima-from-cozumel-weeks-2013/ Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:52:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/chef-anas-recipe-for-sopa-de-lima-from-cozumel-weeks-2013/ Day one #chefanaincozumel sopa de lima - lima soup with bell peppers, chicken and tortilla strips #lavillabonita
On occasion we will leave the comfortable confines at La Villa Bonita and cook in different environments or different parts of Mexico to add to my repertior and give guests a new and different experience. This year we had cooking sessions on the island of Cozumel. While big tourism has changed the cuisine offered in hotels, there is a local cuisine that is still delicious and good. It needs to be elevated and learned. I was amazed at the amount of Italian cuisine restaurants in both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Such food is great but there is a wonderful local cuisine that is not being appreciated. When we travel, we always try to elevate the local cuisine so that it is visible and accessible. 
 When we come back to Tepoztlán we integrate these elements into our repertoire for our culinary packages. We had a great time with our guests in Cozumel, getting to know or fish providers and the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region and discovering these great local dishes. This particular dish, sopa de lima, is very popular in the southeast section of Mexico. It calls for Limas which are a specific type of lime. We have them in Tepoztlán in our back yard and they are a different type of lime. If you do not have them substitute Key Limes and they will work fine but the Lima has a distinct flavor.

Sopa de lima (Lima Soup) 6 servings

1 chicken breast with skin and bone 10 oz. chicken feet or wings or backs
2 garlic cloves, pealed
 ½ medium white onion
 1 clove
 1 cilantro sprig
 1 epazote sprig (if possible)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 quarts or 12 cups of water
 1 tablespoon salt
 1 teaspoon olive oil
 ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
 ½ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 Limas or Key Limes or 3 Persian limes, thinly sliced
4 corn tortillas cut into strips and dried for 2 to 3 hours or overnight
 1 cup of canola oil
1 avocado (optional)

Broth
My preferred method of making broth is with a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one you may use a regular stock pot. Place chicken into the pressure cooker or the stock pot and add garlic cloves, the clove inserted into the onion (so they are not floating around in the pot), cilantro, epazote, dried oregano, water and salt. Place pot over a high heat and allow for broth to come to a simmer. Reduce the heat. Take off the foam that will form with a spoon and repeat this procedure until the broth doesn’t produce any more foam. If you are using the pressure cooker place the top of the pressure cooker and cook for another 45 minutes on medium high. If you are using a regular stock pot, cook for 1hr and 30 minutes on medium high. When chicken broth is ready take the chicken breast out. Allow it to cool enough to shred.

 Soup
In your soup pot place the olive oil and red onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until transparent. Then add the green pepper and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth with slices of lime. Save a few fresh slices for serving. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take the lime slices out.

Corn strips
 In a sauté pan add the canola oil on high heat. When it is hot add the corn strips and then fry until golden. Take out and place on paper towels to drain.

In a soup bowl place the shredded chicken, tortilla strips and a slice of avocado and a fresh slice of lime. Ladle some of the chicken broth and enjoy. If you would like to print out this recipes click here for the PDF version.

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Recipe for Sopa de Lima or Lima Soup: Cozumel http://lavillabonita.com/sopadelima/ Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:12:37 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/?p=1147 Day one #chefanaincozumel sopa de lima - lima soup with bell peppers, chicken and tortilla strips #lavillabonita

On occasion we will leave our comfortable confines at La Villa Bonita and cook in different environments or different parts of Mexico to add to my repertior and give guests a new and different experience.  This year we had cooking sessions on the island of Cozumel.  While big tourism has changed the cuisine offered in hotels, there is a local cuisine that is still delicious and good.  It needs to be elevated and learned.  I was amazed at the amount of Italian cuisine restaurants in both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.  Such food is great but there is a wonderful local cuisine that is not being appreciated.  When we travel, we always try to elevate the local cuisine so that it is visible and accessible.  When we come back to Tepoztlán we integrate these elements into our repertoire for our culinary packages.

We had a great time with our guests in Cozumel, getting to know or fish providers and the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region and discovering these great local dishes.

This particular dish, sopa de lima,  is very popular in the southeast section of Mexico.  It calls for Limas which are a specific type of lime.  We have them in Tepoztlán in our back yard and they are a different type of lime.  If you do not have them substitute Key Limes and they will work fine but the Lima has a distinct flavor.

Sopa de lima (Lima Soup) 6 servings

1 chicken breast with skin and bone

10 oz. chicken feet or wings or backs

2 garlic cloves, pealed

½ medium white onion

1 clove

1 cilantro sprig

1 epazote sprig (if possible)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 quarts or 12 cups of water

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup red onion, finely chopped

½ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

6 Limas or Key Limes or 3 Persian limes, thinly sliced

4 corn tortillas cut into strips and dried for 2 to 3 hours or over night

1 cup of canola oil

1 avocado (optional)

Broth

My preferred method of making broth is with a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one you may use a regular stock pot.  Place chicken into the pressure cooker or the stock pot and add garlic cloves, the clove inserted into the onion (so they are not floating around in the pot), cilantro, epazote, dried oregano, water and salt.  Place pot over a high heat and allow for broth to come to a simmer.  Reduce the heat.  Take off the foam that will form with a spoon and repeat this procedure until the broth doesn’t produce any more foam.

If you are using the pressure cooker place the top of the pressure cooker and cook for another 45 minutes on medium high.  If you are using a regular stock pot, cook for 1hr and 30 minutes on medium high.  When chicken broth is ready take the chicken breast out. Allow it to cool enough to shred.

Soup

In your soup pot place the olive oil and red onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until transparent.  Then add the green pepper and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth with slices of lime.  Save a few fresh slices for serving.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take the lime slices out.

Corn strips

In a sauté pan add the canola oil on high heat.  When it is hot add the corn strips and then fry until golden.  Take out and place on paper towels to drain.

In a soup bowl place the shredded chicken, tortilla strips and a slice of avocado and a fresh slice of lime.  Ladle some of the chicken broth and enjoy.

If you would like to print out this recipes click here for the PDF version.

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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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Dia de los Muertos Week, Oct. 31-Nov. 6 http://lavillabonita.com/dia-de-los-muertos-week-oct-31-nov-6-3/ http://lavillabonita.com/dia-de-los-muertos-week-oct-31-nov-6-3/#comments Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:03:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/dia-de-los-muertos-week-oct-31-nov-6-3/ My Favorite Week is Coming Up – Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos week is traditionally our most popular week of the year – even in front of our popular Christmas Week.  It is a time of year that you really get to see and do some great things that we do not normally do.  First, you get to make Pan de Muertos with the master baker of Tepoztlan.  He still uses a wood-fired stove that creates some of the most delicious artisan pastry you have every tried.  As well, we will create our own altar and the neighbors with their little children come and view it.  This week as well, we will make traditional dishes for Tepoztlan during Muertos in our open-air kitchen.  Our excursion are a bit different as we visit villages nearby to see how the cemeteries are decorated with an incredible variety of flowers.  If you are a true foodie and would like to participate in a unique cultural experience, you cannot miss Dia de los Muertos week.  We have only a few rooms left and would love to have you join us at La Villa Bonita.

Peace, love, and good food!

Chef Ana

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Happy 4th of July from La Villa Bonita http://lavillabonita.com/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 18:49:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/

My son said that I could get a temporary “green card” to celebrate the 4th of July if I made a cake with him for a party we are attending. We made a vanilla chiffon cake with a layer of lemon curd plucked from our trees, raspberries and blueberries for the stars and stripes and a whipping cream icing.

More coming up soon on kids and cooking!

Peace, love and good food!

Chef Ana

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