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Learn the basics of Mexican cooking from a team of expert chefs, explore Tlaxcaltecan cuisine and its signature prehispanic ingredients, and soak in the culture of the countryside; all while staying in a gorgeous, restored seventeenth century hacienda. During this holiday, you will return to natural life; a life that is simple, tranquil, and in harmony with nature!
Your home during this holiday will be Hacienda Santa Barbara, a restored seventeenth century agricultural hacienda. The hacienda is located between two tiny villages on the outskirts of Huamantla, in the state of Tlaxcala. From here, you will experience the tranquility of small-town life in rural Mexico, while also having the unique opportunity to discover a Mexico lifted from hundreds of years ago.
For the duration of your visit, you will feel like the hacendado (landlord) of this hacienda, with access to all of the shared indoor and outdoor spaces, including the kitchen, dining room, game room, patios, gardens, and the remarkable baroque chapel. From the roof of the chapel, you will observe magnificent sunsets, the twinkling of lights from nearby towns in the distance, the majesty of La Malinche, the beautiful inactive volcano that is their neighbor, and even the Pico de Orizaba in Veracruz and Iztaccihuatl in Puebla on clear days.
Each of the rooms are equipped with either a gas heater or a wood burning stove to provide cozy warmth during the chilly winter evenings. The climate and soil fertility here ensure that the gardens are productive all year long, making Soul Food Mexico always able to offer you what they harvest in house, including fresh seasonal fruit from the main patio; salads featuring homegrown lettuces, spinach, arugula, herbs, and vegetables; hearty eggs from the fabulous hens; and fresh teas prepared to order from the medicinal herb garden.
Their philosophy within the hacienda is to utilize everything that they have available at their fingertips without wasting anything, and to share with you the joy that comes from seeing exactly where your food comes from.
Soul Food Mexico offers a 10% discount to students, and children under 8 are welcome for no additional charge. Pets are also welcome with an extra charge of $100.
The mission of Soul Food Mexico is to introduce you to what they consider Mexican soul food. Through hands-on cooking classes with different expert Tlaxcaltecan chefs, tours of local markets, and additional excursions, you will learn what makes Tlaxcala, and its food, so special. As their guest, you will immediately find yourself immersed in Mexico’s rich cultural history.
Your home during your stay will be the beautiful Hacienda Santa Barbara and your cooking classes will take place in the hacienda’s kitchen, using ingredients grown within the property or sourced from their friends and partners.
During this holiday, you will learn how to make your own tortillas on a comal de barro (clay comal), which are made by potters in nearby towns using clay dug from the soil of their patios. You will also taste pulque, known here as the drink of the gods, an alcoholic, medicinal beverage made from fermenting the aguamiel produced by the great maguey cacti.
Additionally, you will meet local artisans who create beautiful work using the resources they have readily available and close your week by taking a temazcal, a traditional steam bath ritual representing rebirth. Please note that this is just a sample schedule and it may shift depending on your arrival date as certain items are only available on certain days.
Maria Mila Juárez
Maria is from and lived the majority of her life in Chapultepec, Huamantla. When Maria was thirteen years old, her mother passed away. At this point, her father began guiding and teaching her how to cook in the traditional Tlaxcaltecan style of her mother. From then on, she has always been the chef of her household. She worked several years as a personal chef in Apizaco and in Mexico City before returning to her roots in Chapultepec. Maria is the resident master of maiz (corn), making fresh, handmade tortillas and atoles using ground corn harvested from her own land.
Maria Elena García Montes
Doña Elena is one of Tlaxcala's most celebrated experts in traditional Tlaxcaltecan cuisine and often appears at expositions around the state. Elena lives in the small community of Javier Mina, which sits on the border of Tlaxcala and Puebla and in the skirts of La Malinche. This unique location allows her to be the resident expert in the incredible variety of mushrooms that grow in La Malinche, and thanks to her dehydrating, delicious and diverse mushroom varieties are available year-round.
Galo Hernández Martinez
Galo is from the nearby San José Teacalco, where he lives with his mother and son. Galo learned to cook traditional Tlaxcaltecan cuisine from his mother and learned to be a temazcalero from his father; knowledge he is now passing on to his son. Galo is the expert on medicinal and culinary herbs that are native to the area, many which grow like weeds in the fields. In addition to being a talented chef and an excellent temazcalero, Galo is a skilled masseur.
This holiday will take place in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Tlaxcala is located in the high plains, elevated from the neighboring states, and surrounded by mountains. It is bordered by the states of Mexico, Puebla, and Veracruz, making it easily accessible from both, Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and Puebla International Airport (PBC). The major cities of Tlaxcala are Tlaxcala, the capital of the state, Apizaco, and Huamantla. The climate is mild year-round, being quite warm during the day and quite cool in the evenings thanks to the elevation and proximity to the mountain. The dry season lasts from November to April and the rainy season goes from May to October, with rainfall occurring more frequently in the afternoons and evenings.
The food of the state of Tlaxcala is well-known throughout Mexico for its prehispanic ingredients. While much of Mexico’s culinary heritage stems from species of plants and animals brought to the continent by the Spanish, the roots of Tlaxcaltecan cuisine are the incredible, diverse plant species abundant in Central Mexico long before the arrival of the Spanish.
Traditional Mexican food was largely vegetarian prior to the Spanish conquest, as none of the animals now seen as essential to contemporary Mexican cuisine were native to Mexico. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, native indigenous tribes imaginatively utilized corn, cereals, beans, and local fruits, vegetables, and herbs to compose their meals.
Representing their roots, Soul Food Mexico offers you a customizable, but mostly vegetarian, kitchen and classes. They are happy to adjust to your specifications and their kitchen and classes can easily be made vegan or can include meat dishes upon request.
Each of the chefs will present a different side of Tlaxcaltecan food and each class will culminate in dinner, where you can experience the results of your work, ask questions, and share feedback. You will return home from your trip with a book full of not only recipes, but also notes on the history of the dish, the ingredients, substitutions you can make at home, and tips and tricks directly from the chefs.
Additional excursions are possible upon request and they may include advanced hiking trips to La Malinche and Cuatlapanga, archaeological excursions to Cacaxtla, and tours of Tlaxcala or Cholula. You can also request sunrise or sunset yoga classes with Ambien, as well as massages with Galo.
Please book your flight to arrive at Mexico City International Airport (MEX) or Puebla International Airport (PBC). Transfer from and to these airports is included. Soul Food Mexico will pick you up from the airport.
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