Festival Sabor Por Favor!!!

Posted on October 30, 2018 by Siobhan Chretien

Photo credit: Michaela Guzy

A Look into the Mayan Culture & Cuisine of the Quintana Roo

order generic tadalafil There is nothing I love more than to learn about a foreign destination then by way of their food and drink scene.  So when asked if I would head to Mexico to attend an inaugural gastronomy event in Mexico called the Sabor Festival, my answer was easy. Si si!  Having worked in Mexico City for many years, I was never drawn to the allure of oceanside yoga retreats, beaches and dare I say, all-inclusive resorts. Instead, I always chose to stick to the charming, challenging and diverse capital city.

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Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

 

Enter the Sabor FestivalThe festival whose objective is to enhance the gastronomy of Quintana Roo (the state on the Yucatán Peninsula) and promote food sustainability and local consumption in Playa del Carmen. The Sabor Festival believes firmly that gastronomic culture is a viable way to generate tourism in the region and at the same time promote food awareness. I subscribe heavily to this vision.

 

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

I did not anticipate how impressed I would be. From my arrival at the Cancun airport, surrounded by complimentary tequila shots and sun hungry Americans vying for transportation, I was greeted by my very friendly host.  My home for the next few days was the new XCaret Hotel and ResortResorts generally give me hives but on arrival to the XCaret,  I knew I was in for something special! 

 

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

Located between the Riviera Maya forest and the turquoise expanse of the Caribbean, their architectural vision incorporates modernism, nature and tradition. Its eco-integrating design responsibly adapts the architecture to the aesthetic and ethics of the landscape. Coves, rivers, inlets, caves and forests are throughout the resort, built with the principle of sustainability. The hotel is the first in America to receive the EarthCheck Building Planning and Design Standard certification.

 

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

The “ Casas’ or buildings, each represent a natural element, symbols of great importance to Mayan culture. My room was located in Casa Fuego. Fuego or fire, in the Mayan K’iché language is born from the aromatic spices offered in a Mayan ceremony. The sacred fire is the principal element in almost all of the Mayan festivals.

 

The immersion of guests in Mayan culture did not stop at the architecture. The food was exceptional. One of the many restaurants ( not included in the all-inclusive packages) is Hã. A special dinner for the festival was hosted by Chef Carlos Gaytán.  Chef Gaytan is of Mexique fame in Chicago. He is the only Mexican born chef to be granted a Michelin star and also starred on Top Chef. Chef Gaytan and his team introduced us to horse mackerel, agave plant worms (delicious!) and local wines all from the producer Casa Madero.  

 

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

The Casa Madero estate was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1597 as a Jesuit mission with the purpose of planting vineyards for wine and brandy. Evaristo Madero purchased the vineyard in 1893, transferring the reins to a lineage that includes Mexican President Francisco I. Madero. It is considered the oldest wine cellar in the Americas.

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

During the festival five such dinner experiences in spectacular locations were held. Bespoke evenings were created by the prestigious Mexican chefs Lula Martín del Campo, Josefina Santacruz, Fernanda Covarrubias, Carlos Gaytán, Daniel Ovadía and Salvador Orozco. Also, new culinary talents from national gastronomy circles, such as chefs Rodrigo Carrasco and Diego Sobrino, were invited by the collective La Escena imminente (LEI). Of course, the participation of prestigious chefs from the Riviera Maya region, such as Pedro Abascal, Juan Pablo Loza, Daniel Manzano and Orlando Trejo, were not absent.

 

These magnificent dinners were held in such important locations as the Rosewood Mayakoba Hotel, the number one resort in Mexico according to the Forbes Travel Guide and the Traveler’s Choice of Trip Advisor. The Xcaret Mexico Hotel, the sophisticated Hotel Thompson Playa del Carmen and the Hotel IT whose It Guilty restaurant has garnered global attention for setting trends in Playa del Carmen also hosted.

 

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

There were many events that could be attended by the public. As part of our educational platform, two Sabores Saber workshops were conducted.  With the themes “Sustainable Gastronomy: Products of the Land and Sea” and “Sustainable Gastronomic Tourism” they took place at the Technological University of the Riviera Maya campus.  Many diverse organizations participated and granted awards to chefs and restaurants in favor of sustainability and food awareness. These included Slow Food, Comepesca, Sustentur and SmartFish.

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

The Festival Sabor included a culinary competition awarding the winners of the first State Contest Sabor Joven, presented by Ciudad Mayakoba and whose purpose is to promote the young talent of gastronomy in the Quintana Roo. The final cook-off took place at the University UNID Playa del Carmen and had a brilliant jury composed of chefs Juan Pablo Loza, Josefina Santacruz, Carlos Gaytán, Xavier Pérez Stone and Daniel Manzano. The young Luis Alberto Basto and his assistant Itzayana Martínez Palacios, of the Gastronomic University Center, formed the winning team. The prize consisted of a position category of Chef B in Mexico, for three months in a prestigious restaurant in the Riviera Maya with the opportunity for ongoing employment.  In addition, an economic incentive of $ 10,000 MXN was awarded to the team.

 


Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

The festival ended with a successful feast, the Sabor en Boca de Todos, a community event held in the heart of Playa del Carmen and whose purpose was to bring the locals and visitors to the ingredients that are sown and fished in the territory of the Quintana Roo. The feast had numerous gastronomic and sustainable tourism options, showcasing what is currently offered in the Riviera Maya.

Photo credit: Siobhan Chretien

The Festival Sabor, Riviera Maya will be held again from 9 to 13 October, 2019 with activities to promote sustainability in gastronomy, workshops and the second edition of the Sabor Joven contest dedicated to new talent.  It is a perfect gateway into the minds and hearts of the culinary talent and Mayan culture of the region. Gracias!

 

www.festivalsabor.com

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