ROUTE OF THE HACIENDAS CULINARY ADVENTURE
Similar to the plantations of the southern United States, the Mexican hacienda was not only an enormous acreage that produced cattle, cotton or other crops for commercial ends, but it was also a way of life. Anywhere from 1000 to 2500 people lived on each hacienda, including the owner’s extended family and of course the indigenous peones who worked the land as indentured servants. All work and social life revolved around the hacienda. In the 1800s, most haciendas in Yucatán converted to the production of the lucrative crop henequén – the agave plant from which the sisal fiber is extracted. Fortunes were made overnight, and haciendas often became elaborate demonstrations of wealth. But just as quickly as the fortunes were made, they were lost in a series of crises including a bloody civil war and the invention of nylon. There are still close to 2000 haciendas in the Yucatán peninsula – some now romantic if crumbling ruins, others restored gems featuring 5-star resorts and sumptuous restaurants. In this exclusive Los Dos package, you will experience what life was like in that gilded age, and enjoy the finest in regional Yucatecan cuisine along the route. Visit a 17th century hacienda that now is the scene of rum and liqueur distillation, and learn how some of the old henequén fields are being revitalized through the production of agave for tequila. Enter the finest of the hacienda kitchens and learn from the master chefs who are contributing to the peninsula’s remarkable culinary heritage. And naturally Chef David Sterling will offer instruction in Yucatecan techniques and ingredients at Los Dos. We will also have ample time to visit some of the peninsula’s most important archaeological zones and natural wonders. Shorter stay packages also available upon request; luxury accommodation upgrade available.
DAY 0 Arrive Mérida International Airport; transfer airport/hotel
DAY 1 Continental breakfast at hotel. Transfer hotel/Los Dos
Chef David Sterling will greet you at Los Dos, and invite you into his kitchen where he will present an overview of Yucatán’s unique ingredients and culinary heritage. Follow him on a tour of Mérida's colorful central market, then you’re off to visit Hacienda Sotuta de Peón – an impressively restored sisal plantation where you will ride a mule-drawn train into the henequén fields, then see how the fiber is extracted then turned into twine and rope. Lunch included. Return to hotel; afternoon free. Evening dinner at local restaurant.
DAY 2 Continental breakfast at hotel; pick-up hotel lobby
Get your bearings with a fascinating tour of this charming colonial city. Stroll through the main square and visit the cathedral – the hemisphere’s oldest. Next, visit a mansion built with the wealth from sisal, the spectacular Palacio Canton – which now preserves vestiges of Maya art and culture as the Museum of Anthropology and History. Lunch at a local restaurant; afternoon free. At cocktail hour, we will travel to the romantic Hacienda Xcanatún, once a sisal plantation, now a luxurious resort, spa and restaurant. There, as we enjoy their signature “Lima Margarita”, the chef will present to us several regional ingredients, and describe how he has introduced a French twist to update Yucatecan classics. The presentation will segue into dinner; return to hotel.
DAY 3 Continental breakfast at hotel; transfer to Los Dos
Today is all about cooking – and eating! In the Los Dos kitchen we will prepare several of the region’s most famous dishes, then sample them in the stunning Los Dos dining room. In between courses, cool your feet in the lovely terrace pool.
DAY 4 Continental breakfast at hotel; pick-up hotel lobby
Now for a romantic and exotic excursion into the heart of Maya Yucatán. First, an English-speaking guide will drive you to Uxmal – considered the most beautiful of the Maya archaeological zones. En route, you will stop at Hacienda Ochil and participate in the preparations for a traditional Maya pit barbecue, and snack on the results. In the tiny pueblo of Santa Elena, you will visit a family living as the Maya have lived for more than a century. For lunch you will stop at the 5-star Hacienda Temozón, one of the Luxury Collection owned by Starwood, where you will enjoy the beautiful presentation and updated classics of Yucatecan fare. Finally, you will visit Hacienda Yaxcopoil, one of the most authentically preserved and magnificent of all the haciendas in Yucatán. At night enjoy the best in regional “fusion” cuisine at a fabulous Mérida restaurant.
DAY 5 Continental breakfast at hotel; pick-up hotel lobby
Excursion to Hacienda Vista Alegre that produces the famous Yucatecan honey/anise liqueur Xtabentun as well as a variety of incredible rums. Transfer to Los Dos for another afternoon of cooking instruction. Evening free.
DAY 6 ¡Adios! Transfer to Mérida airport for departure
Four or six nights' accommodation based on double occupancy; continental breakfast each morning of your stay; two additional meals a day; wine/beer service during main meals at Los Dos; one alcoholic beverage at all other meals; workbook including all recipes we prepare in class; complimentary Los Dos apron; all transfers, excursions and entry fees; all taxes and tips except as noted.
Air fare between departure point and Mexico (Mérida, Yucatán); service tips at hotel; service tips at evening meals.
NOTES: Rates based on two-person minimum, double occupancy. Single supplements available. Available as a Standard Package or as a Luxury Package. The Luxury Package features the same itinerary as the Standard Package but includes an accommodation upgrade. Package subject to minimum enrollments. Prices are subject to change in January of each year when new tariffs are posted by third party service providers. Specific itinerary details are subject to change according to third party service providers. All terms subject to standard POLICIES which will be forwarded at the time of your booking. All prices in U.S. dollars. All classes at Los Dos must be reserved at least 48 hours in advance Please contact us.
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