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Mexico Culinary Holiday

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in The Americas & Caribbean

On this culinary adventure in Oaxaca, you’ll get to meet several traditional cooks and taste their food, while also visiting local markets to get a deeper sense of the ingredients they use and the efforts being made to safeguard them. You’ll also go beyond the kitchen, learning about Oaxaca’s long tradition as an artistic center, even getting a chance to try your own hands at one of the most famous local art forms.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a hands-on cooking experience
  • Enjoy agricultural visits and tour hidden historic sites
  • Take guided tours through bustling city markets to taste what is in season
  • Be with hungry group travelers excited to explore all that Oaxaca has to offer
  • All meals and drinks are included
  • 6 nights accommodation

Styles


7 days with instruction
Group size: 6-12 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00

You will stay at a boutique hotel called Hotel Parador del Dominico during this holiday on a single or double occupancy basis.

Program

Of course, this being Oaxaca, you’ll also spend a day taking a deep dive into the fascinating world of mezcal, the agave-based spirit that is an essential element of Oaxacan life and culture. You’ll finish your trip with a hands-on lesson on making Oaxaca’s most famous creations, mole, a dish that, much this Mexican region’s rich culinary heritage itself, is the result of numerous ingredients being lovingly and carefully mixed together.

Day 1: Arrival and welcome

Oaxaca is a city of history and tradition, especially when it comes to its cooking. After settling into your hotel, you’ll walk together to Catedral, a classic Oaxaca restaurant, located inside an old mansion, that’s been celebrating this history and tradition with great skill since 1976.

Day 2: Earth, corn, and fire

You'll start your trip’s full first day with a walk that will give you an overview of Oaxaca’s downtown markets and neighborhoods and also give you a sense of how this city defends its native ingredients and cooking techniques.

Starting at the intimate Merced market, work your way through the city streets and several other markets, stopping for classic Oaxacan bites along the way, finishing with lunch at a small family-run spot. In the evening, have dinner at Zandunga, where chef Aurora Toledo cooks the unique regional cuisine of Oaxaca’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, a narrow strip of land between the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.

Day 3: The mysteries of Mezcal

Today, you’ll head out of town and into the countryside to learn all about the making of mezcal and the important role this agave-based spirit plays in Oaxacan culture. You’ll make your way to a "palenque", an artisanal distillery, where the "mezcalero" will take you through the process of making the drink, from collecting the agave to bottling the mezcal.

Along with a mezcal tasting, you will also have a rustic country-style lunch at the palenque, eating dishes made from items freshly collected from nearby fields and cooked over an open fire. That night, back in Oxaca city, have dinner at a small restaurant run by one of the youngest “Cocineras Tradicionales” of Oaxaca. Her cooking features the cuisine of the Sierra Sur, a mountainous region in southern Oaxaca, home to unique native strains of corn, tomatoes, and herbs.

Day 4: Art, history, and street food

Along with cooking, Oaxaca is also famed for its arts and archeological sites. Today, explore both of those, starting with an engraving workshop at a local graphic arts studio, where a local artist will tell you about Oaxaca’s dynamic arts scene and help you make your own art using a printing press.

Later in the day, head out for a sunset visit to the dramatic and well-preserved ruins of Monte Albán, a pre-Columbian city that dates back to 500 BC, to learn more about the history of Oaxaca's indigenous people. Back in town, you’ll have dinner at the restaurant of Doña Flavia, a third-generation maker of tlayudas, an iconic local street food specialty made of large charcoal-grilled tortillas topped with an incredible array of local ingredients.

Day 5: Sunday in the market

Your day will revolve around a visit to the small town of Tlacolula, just outside of Oaxaca city, which holds what might be the most spectacular weekly market in the whole region. Filled with food vendors, fruit and vegetable stalls, and craftspeople selling their wares, the market is a colorful celebration of the richness of Oaxacan life

After working your way through the market, finish up with lunch at a restaurant run by another of Oaxaca’s “Cocineras Tradicionales,” this one highlighting the cooking of the region’s central valley, which is famed for its moles and use of chiles. Once back in Oaxaca, city, you will have a free evening.

Day 6: Shop, cook, and feast

You will focus on Oaxacan ingredients and cooking today, starting with a visit to Oaxaca’s wholesale market, where local chefs do their shopping, to learn more about what’s on offer and also pick up some items of your own. After lunch in a market restaurant, head over to the kitchen of Las Quince Letras, where noted local chef Celia Florián, who helped create the “Cocineras Tradicionales” program, will lead you in a mole making workshop. After you make your mole, sit down for a celebratory farewell dinner prepared by chef Celia.

Day 7: Farewell

With your trip done, group members will either head home or continue on their onward journeys.

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. Culinary Backstreets expects to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Activity level

Travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking three to five miles each day and remain on their feet for long periods of time. Keep in mind that Oaxaca is a bustling and crowded place!

Included excursions

Agricultural visits

You'll be tracing your way back to the source of the foods you’re eating, investigating the farming and production systems that feed Oaxaca.

Hidden historic sites

Oaxaca has many obscure points of interest and you’ll be sure to explore this side of things.

Market tours

Take guided tours through bustling city markets to taste what is in season.

Hands-on cooking experience

Learn how to make classic Oaxacan mole from a local traditional cook.

Location

Culinary Backstreets likes to think of Oaxaca as the heartland of Mexican cooking. All those things that seem so classically and elementally Mexican, corn, chiles, moles, and mezcal can be traced back to the fertile area that surrounds this historic city. This is true about not just ingredients but cooking techniques as well.

The use of smoke and fire to flavor food and of the comal, the large circular griddle that is essential for making tortillas, are all deeply connected with the Oaxaca region and its indigenous people. Oaxaca plays another important role: that of a place where many of Mexico’s traditional ingredients and techniques are maintained and protected. Many of those doing that protecting is Oaxaca’s “Cocineras Tradicionales,” a loosely affiliated guild of female cooks that often come from the area’s smaller villages and towns.

Food

Culinary Backstreets encourages an adventurous palate! They try their best to accommodate dietary restrictions, though in most cases, ingredients can’t be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. If you have a particular food allergy or intolerance, please send an inquiry to find out if this is the right trip for you.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • All meals and drinks in CB activities, a belt-popping experience
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events
  • Professional guides throughout the entire experience
  • 6 nights accommodation in stylish, boutique hotels
  • Private coach for visits inside and outside the center city

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Transportation and to and from Oaxaca, including airport transfers
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Culinary Backstreets offerings, including one lunch, one dinner, and some alcoholic beverages
  • If applicable, applying for a Mexican visa (not required for U.S. citizens)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 6 participants

Availability

Arrival: Tuesday February 1, 2022
Departure: Monday February 7, 2022

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