One of the best ways to learn about the culture of a city, I find, is to immerse yourself in the food scene and I was lucky enough to be able to experience that during my press trip to Mexico City.
Thanks to Jorge and Beto from Casa Jacaranda, we first spent an early crisp morning exploring a local food market, called Mercado Medellin,which has over 500 stalls featuring specialties from all over Mexico and Latin America, where we saw various local produce and ingredients and also sampled a few different varieties.
Jorge explained what various popular ingredients were used for in Mexican cooking, and it was such an interesting tour around the market. He really enhanced the experience and it just would not have been the same if I had wandered around the market myself as I would not have stopped to appreciate the aspects he highlighted.
Along the way he told us lovely stories about each part of the market and the different vendors. For example the gentleman pictured below, is Don Julio, and has manned his stall since 1968! Selling produce from the Yucatan province, he has some pretty awesome sauces in his stall, as well as lots of fresh chillies. How adorable is he 🙂
We also had the opportunity to try Mexican chocolate, which was a real treat. I had never previously thought that Mexico was a producer of chocolate but you always learn new things.
A very famous Ice Cream stall can be found in the market too and we had great pleasure trying a few different flavours. The owner of the stall is Eugenio Palmeiro Ríos, and he makes Cuban Ice Cream from real cream, fresh fruit and sugar. He doesn’t use artificial flavors or chemicals. The icd cream is so refreshing and delicious!
After the market, we stopped off at a local tortilleria, where the warm scent of toasted corn filled the air and the tortillas are made using the same ancient process as the Aztecs, and the same machinery. Nothing electronic here!
We simply ate them while they were hot with a little salt and oh my goodness were they delicious!
We then took a short walk through Colonia Roma and soon arrived at Casa Jacaranda, where we spent the rest of the day having a cookery class in Mexican food, as well as a cocktail masterclass.
Casa Jacaranda is an early 19th Century home, which has been restored by Jorge and Beto. It is so gorgeous and the kind of house which would be a gem to find in an Air BnB search. It is also totally Instagram worthy.
There is a stunning spacious cooking area in the house (pictured above), which is just fantastic. We split into teams, and prepared dishes with very easy to follow recipes in our teams, and then all got together to eat the Mexican food we had made on the long black glossy table.
In my team we learned how to make Corn Tamales and had such fun doing it, from the mixing, blending and filling of the corn husks with the tamale mixture and then waiting for them to patiently steam.We had a great team too!
After cooking and then eating a fantastic meal, we ventured upstairs to the terrace of Casa Jacaranda, where we were treated to a fabulous cocktail masterclass by Patrick Seppa.
Pictured below is the crafted Paloma cocktail, which is made from pink grapefruit juice, Altos Plata Tequila, lemon and agave syrup.
We also had another delicious cocktail with Altos Tequila, which was equally as refreshing.
The weather was stunning on the day s0 we had a great time relaxing on the terrace, right before we were due to attend the Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurant Awards.
The whole day was amazing, from the market to the cookery class, and just so much fun. Jorge and Beto are superb cooks and teach in such a engaging way and you learn real nuggets of information along the way, which you would never pick up in a book. This is such a great way to learn more about Mexican food and the culture in a unqiue way.
If you are travelling to Mexico City and are looking for something different to do, I can’t recommend this enough as a must do experience. I learned so much and this was one of my favourite days from my trip to Mexico City.
There are a variety of cooking classes available so there is bound to be one that suits everyone! The hosts are fantastic and you leave feeling like you have made friends for life.
For more information on Casa Jacaranda go here.