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This cooking holiday is for the culinary aficionado. You will have the chance to stay on site with Chef Ana, on the grounds of her premier culinary hotel complete with heated pool carved out of volcanic rock, organic citrus orchard and vegetable garden, as well as specially designed open-air kitchen with a stunning view of the Tepoztlan Valley. Chef Ana Garcia offers you a glimpse into a world that few outsiders ever experience on a year round basis.
La Villa Bonita is located on the up slope of the Tepozteco mountains with a privileged perch above the town and an incredible view of the convent below. It is a 15-minute walk to the central downtown circuit, so there is not an excessive amount of traffic in front of La Villa Bonita, but they are just steps away from the centro and zocalo. Stay on-site on the grounds of La Villa Bonita as Chef Ana's personal guest.
Enjoy the beautiful six guestrooms complete with private baths and rooms with choice of king or two twin beds. Spend your time on the upswing of the Tepozteco Mountains, enjoy the heated pool, and organic orchard. The spacious kitchen, where you can enjoy your classes, is just steps away as well as the wonderful gourmet meals offered on the elevated terrace.
This itinerary is posted to give the guest a general idea of the seven-night premier package schedule on a normal week. The schedule may change to take advantage of season's dishes, ingredients, or the interests of the guests. Depending on where holidays fall, packages may begin on a different day of the week.
La Villa Bonita reserves the right to modify this schedule and the dishes contained therein. The five-night packages follow the same schedule with the exception of breakfast and departure on Friday morning. Dinner on cooking days is not necessary, as you will eat lunch at about 15:00. It is a big meal, so most of the participants do not want dinner.
Gourmet chef’s table dinner is provided on Sunday and Saturday night, giving you Wednesday to try dinner in the downtown.
Guests arrive at Benito Juarez Mexico City International Airport (MEX) with airport pick-up. The trip takes one hour and 30 minutes hours from Mexico City to La Villa Bonita and guests will be greeted upon arrival with a delicious homemade cocktail such as Chef Ana’s famous margarita made with her own calamondine orange liquor and refino (the local Tequila).
Later that afternoon or evening, guests will enjoy Chef Ana’s four-course gourmet dinner made from primarily local ingredients grown in the garden or from local providers. Dinner is served within the ample open-air kitchen with view of the valley below or above the kitchen in the elevated dining area with 360 degree view of the mountains. Chef Ana will explain her dishes to the guests and also discuss how the week will unfold.
The day begins with Chef Ana’s famous big breakfast with fresh fruit, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies, along with a new traditional Mexican main dish each morning.
Guests will go after to the local Tepoztlán market to select the best ingredients from Chef Ana’s local providers and bring these ingredients back for the cooking session in the open-air kitchen.
An example of dishes that may be created that day are mole colorado with chicken, pork in pipian sauce (mole verde), refried beans, classic red rice with vegetables, and vanilla flan.
Mole technique is an important part of Mexican cooking and guests will learn from a pro. Cooking generally goes from 11:00 to 14:30 in the afternoon with lunch of dishes prepared in the open-air kitchen or the elevated terrace with wine and beer service as well as coffee or tea with dessert. An agua fresca made with fruit or horchata, Jamaica, or tamarindo accompanies each lunch.
Learn to make your own tortillas and place them on the comal with native women such as Mari, your “ama de llaves” or mayordomo, during your stay at La Villa Bonita.
The day begins as always with a fabulous breakfast and a trip to the market to select ingredients and to meet the local butcher and cheese vendor. Guests return to La Villa Bonita to cook up a storm. An example of dishes on this day may be fillings or “guisados” for classic morelos quesadillas such as squash blossoms, huitlacoche, fresh pork rinds in a green tomatillos salsa, potatoes, and chile poblano strips.
Learn how to use white, blue, or red masa produced from ancient corn varieties grown locally. Guests will enjoy lunch of dishes prepared with drink service in the open-air kitchen or the elevated terrace. After late lunch, guests will have an opportunity to take a walk into the downtown, relax around the pool with a good book, or take a great nap. You are on vacation, it is up to you!
After breakfast, a day of pottery and incredible local cuisine starts ahead. The guests will witness a demonstration of how to make traditional lead-free pottery from a producer in Tlayacapan by the name of Don Margarito. His family has been producing pottery in the traditional way for generations. Guests will have an opportunity to purchase his traditional rice and bean pots, flatware, cazuelas among many other great items.
In the late morning, guests will join Chef Ana on a walking and eating tour of the Tepoztlan market, visit the ex-convent and museum, as well as try a wide variety of local delicacies in the market. Walk, learn, and eat as a native delicacies such as itacates, pancita, cecina, and traditional morelos quesadillas. This is the farmer’s market day in Tepoztlan with an opportunity to see the wide variety of ingredients and dishes that Tepoztlan has to offer.
After a hearty breakfast, guests will dedicate the day to the production and use of masa with a trip to the masa mill to produce your own masa from corn grown locally. The original “to go” packet in pre-columbian times was the tamale in corn or banana leaf husks. This easy-to-carry and nutritious meal could be put in a bag or satchel and carried for sustenance on long journeys to neighboring villages.
You will learn how to make this Mexican classic as families have done for generations with squash and corn, shrimp, pork tamales in red sauce as well as delicious dessert tamales such as pineapple and pecan, or strawberry. Mmmmmm, delicious! You will never look at the tamale in the same way again!
You will start your day with a fabulous breakfast as usual (with departure to the airport for five-night guests) and begin your preparations to enjoy the grandeur of the poblano chile. Options include use of the dried as well as the fresh chile stuffed with picadillo, cheese and corn with white sauce, or the famous chiles en nogada - the national dish of Mexico representing the colors of the Mexican flag.
Guests will learn the proper technique for blistering and preparing fresh poblanos as well as the dried version. Depending on the option chosen, side dishes may include claypot beans, classic white rice, and the sinfully delicious tres leches cake.
Ancient varieties of corn grown in the region range from red to blue to white to yellow. Make tortillas from corn grown in Tepoztlan during the week.
After your delicious breakfast, you have a day to enjoy on your own. Take a hike, enjoy the weekend artisan market, go out for lunch or just relax. Today is a day to do whatever your heart desires.
In the evening, enjoy your final farewell dinner with Chef Ana as she prepares a four-course chef’s table dinner. Feel free to come up to the kitchen as Chef Ana prepares the gourmet meal and enjoy a glass of wine as you reminisce about the week you had at La Villa Bonita.
After breakfast, your return to the Mexico City airport will be organized and you will count the days until you come again for a new culinary adventure.
Ana Garcia is one of the most vivacious traditional Mexican chefs and teachers in Mexico today. The inspiration for Chef Ana’s recipes and hospitality grow out of her long, rich family history in central and northern Mexico. She has taken this extensive knowledge and incorporated it into a culinary repertoire that includes traditional central and northern Mexican specialties, as well as nouvelle Mexican cuisine using traditional ingredients in new and gastronomically adventurous ways.
This cooking holiday will take place in La Villa Bonita, Tepoztlan, Mexico. Tepoztlan, Mexico's original Pueblo Magico (magic villages) and one of Mexico's most unique destinations, is located about 5280 feet above sea level and roughly one hour 15 minutes south of Mexico City making transportation easy. Its wonderful adobe facades, incredible local festivals, and cobblestone streets attract Mexicans and foreign tourists from all over the world.
Tepoztlan is one of the most unique, authentic, and safest places you can visit. You will get this impression in the first 15 minutes after setting foot in the village. It is a place that time seems to have forgotten with time-honored culinary traditions, wonderful local produce, and a very enjoyable pace of life focused on family and friends. Tepoztlan is made up of stubborn townspeople and subsistence farmers who vigilantly guard their traditions from change which makes it an ideal destination for the foodie and the traveler who enjoys experiencing a rich culture.
Tepoztecos, as they are known here, appreciate the foreign tourist because you appreciate their culture and are here for that reason. You can walk anywhere day or night and people will say hello to you, be cordial, but not overburdening. This magic village with its mystical vibe is known as the Sedona of Mexico and consists of a very small, tight-knit community where people are very content with their lifestyle - a full social calendar that consists of constant cultural events, celebrations, and festivals during both the week and weekend.
While the media tends to paint Mexico with broad strokes without definition, Tepoztlan is a piece of art without comparison - exquisite but not commercial. In Tepoztlan, you will hear the enveloping sounds of the community, the church bells, the rooster crowing, the occasional fire cracker and the music wafting through the valley. So, enjoy your stay and when you go home, please tell everyone about your experience in the hidden culinary jewel of Mexico.
This culinary vacation is all about the food and using food as a window into a beautiful culture. You will cook, but you will also understand the significance of food in traditional Mexican society. Cook as a member of the family as Mexican's have done for generations in a fun and relaxed environment in the spectacular open air kitchen with a view of the valley below.
The fabulous breakfast at La Villa Bonita are included, and consist of biscuits made from scratch, locally made pastries, home-made jams and jellies, a different main breakfast dish every morning, fresh fruits of the season, coffee, fresh juice, yogurt, and granola.
Upon arrival, you will be treated to a gourmet delight as Chef Ana builds a menu based upon local seasonal ingredients for her welcome dinner. On Saturday night, you will also be invited to recount the week's events with a bon voyage meal prepared by Chef Ana in the culinary mountain sanctuary that you have called home.
You can choose a day tour with Mexican history professor, Arturo Marquez, to the ruins of Xochicalco and silver city of Taxco and or other sites such as Cuernavaca and Puebla. For these trips, there is an additional fee per person plus tax, and a minimum number of participants of two people. Guided hiking in the mountains is also available with a local biologist, or you can go rappelling in the mountain waterfalls during the summer season.
Walking around this lovely ancient town is highly recommended. You will get a chance to see the local chapels that mark each barrio, visit the ex-convent and museum in the main cathedral, shop in the wonderful artisan stores in the center square, and also attend local celebrations throughout the year and as a local.
In-room massage is available upon request and for an additional fee. Traditional temazcal or sweat lodge experience are also available upon request for an additional cost. Please reserve at least 48 hours prior, to assure availability.
Mexico City International Airport
Book your flight to arrive at Mexico City International Airport (MEX). La Villa Bonita will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.
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