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More than just a cooking school this is an experience of Mexico and its cuisine that is rarely found. Give yourself the pleasure of a quiet haven of cooking and relaxing; a wonderful way to spend a week with others from around the world, glass of wine in hand swapping tales and hearing stories about Mexico, its culture, cooking and tasting its food. Sightsee in the afternoon and return in the evening for cocktails and a candlelit gourmet dinner. If the evening is cool relax in front of the fireplace in your room with that book you never have time to read at home.
Casa Carmelita is the "hacienda style" home of Doa Estela and her American husband Jon. It is a comfortable family home where you will experience the routines of a Mexican family in its kitchen. The accommodations include your choice of a double room, detached garden cottage and a two room suite. Each is unique, built and furnished using local materials in the traditions of indigenous, Spanish, Moorish, and French cultures that mixed in this area. Each accommodation is spacious with private bath and a fireplace for cool evenings. All rooms have daily maid service. Each room is the same price and reservations are made on a first come first serve basis.
Mexican Home Cooking invites you to join them for a week of immersion in Mexican cuisine and life in their house, Casa Carmelita, where you will cook and experience the routines of a Mexican country home. What they teach is the traditional cuisine from the city of Puebla. They are passing on what has been kept alive in their family of these dishes and traditions.
Their desire is to offer a special experience and open a door to Mexico that is rarely available to tourists. The wonderful part is that you don't have to be an advanced cook to learn this type of cooking. They base the classes on the ability of each person and make the techniques simple to learn. You'll be surprised how complex the flavors turn out and you will return home able to reproduce these dishes in your own kitchen.
The City of Tlaxcala is located in a valley surrounded by three majestic volcanoes - Popocatpetl, Ixtaccihuatl and La Malinche. It is a two-hour drive from Mexico City and 45 minutes from the Puebla airport. You can tour the city on foot or on a tram ride, the main form of transport for the citizens of Tlaxcala in the 19th Century.
The lovely colonial city of Tlaxcala was founded in 1524 by the Spaniards and Franciscan monks. Its heart is the Zocalo or main plaza, considered one of the prettiest in Mexico. Fountains play beneath old trees and a 19th century wrought-iron bandstand is surrounded by gardens reminiscent of Renaissance Europe and bordered on two sides by 16th century colonnades shading shops, sidewalk cafes and strolling musicians.
Magnificent colonial buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries enclose the other two sides. A second plaza (Xicohtencatl) is the site of an art and crafts fair each weekend. On the hill above, reached by a cobblestone path, is the 16th-century Franciscan cathedral.
Apart from a small chapel in Veracruz it is probably the oldest church in Mexico. It is particularly exquisite, with its cedar ceiling and baroque golden altar. Next door in the cloisters is Tlaxcala's regional museum, with exhibits of pre-Hispanic artifacts and colonial religious paintings. Near the river, close by, is the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions, with spirited folkway demonstrations and a museum shop.
Long before there was "Mexican Cuisine" the Olmecs, Zapotecs, Totonacs, Toltecs and Aztecs came and intermixed their cultures, customs and kitchens. For thousands of years before the Europeans arrived, before Rome was even a village, a sophisticated cuisine was developing here. When the Spanish came in 1619 the mixture of kitchens began.
Many indigenous dishes were accepted and adapted but many more were lost. The most common ingredients for the endless varieties of today's "Poblano" Cuisine include tomato, onion, cinnamon, tortilla, chiles - including anchos, pasillas, mulattos and chipotles - pumpkin seeds, raisins, cloves, sesame seeds, almonds, tomatillos, oil, garlic and salt.
Nearly half these ingredients arrived in the New World with the Spanish. What is not often noted is that all the forms of "Spanish" culture came with a strong "Middle Eastern" influence due to the Moorish rule of Spain for 500 years. The influence of the Middle East and Persia are particularly apparent in the cuisine of Puebla in its use of numerous fruits and spices - such as cinnamon, ginger, sesame seeds, cloves, cumin and nutmeg.
In 1863 the French invaded putting Maximiliano on the throne and a French Court to Mexico City. Puebla took in the French adding a touch of their cuisine to ours making our sauces, soups and pastries even more complex and unique. The real gourmet cooking here was kept in households as "Home Cooking" for special occasions; it is never found in restaurant kitchens and nearly lost to the present generation of Mexicans as the culture is changing from outside influences.
Your afternoons are free for sightseeing or relaxing. The colonial city of Puebla famous for Talavera tiles and dishes is just 45 minutes away for an afternoon visit. Sightsee in the afternoon and return in the evening for cocktails and a candlelit gourmet dinner. If the evening is cool relax in front of the fireplace in your room with that book you never have time to read at home.
There are a wide variety of local events and festivals throughout the year, such as a state fair, bull fights, Mexican folkloric dances, concerts and the running of the bulls and flower carpets in the streets of nearby Huamantla. To round out your Mexico vacation we will be glad to help you with arrangements to take part in any local activities. Other trips also available in the afternoon on request.
Various types of in room massage available at various prices.