Mexican Regional Series Part I
Our Regional Series Classes are celebrations of extraordinary regional cuisines that combine the insights and inspiration of a cooking class with a memorable dining experience. You will learn about essential ingredients, techniques and cultural context as classic, representative dishes are prepared, plated and served up. Congenial company, abundant and interesting food, wine pairings and a recipe booklet to take home make for a great evening out. Regional Series Classes resume with a Mexican Series in July, followed by a reprise of last winter’s Regional Thai Series.
Cuisines of the Regions of Mexico
A tumultuous history, extreme differences in climate and culture and the bounty of vast agricultural civilizations that flourished for millennia have given rise to perhaps the most diverse cuisine on the planet – and, for the uninitiated, perhaps the most underrated. The first class in Series I focuses on the cooking of the Mayan world, Chiapas & the Yucatan Peninsula, the second on Mexico City & Central Mexico and the third on the Pacific Coast. In Series II, the cooking of Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Colonial Tablelands and the Northern Frontier will be featured.
Evenings start at 7:00 pm and run until about 10:00 pm and are limited to 10–12 persons. Cost is $95.00 per class or $265.00 for a series of three classes.
You can sign up at the Victoria Drive or Public Market store or via email at email@example.com.
Those of you who have pre-purchased classes will have the first choice of bookings (thanks for your patience).
The Mayan World: Chiapas & the Yucatan Peninsula
Series I, Class 1: Thursday, July 15
All Mexican cooking rests solidly on pre-Hispanic foundations but nowhere else in Mexico have the indigenous culture and its culinary traditions remained so intact – it was well into the twentieth century before much of the Yucatan was integrated into the Mexican state, and to this day, much of mountainous Chiapas is nearly inaccessible. The food is tropical and rustic in preparation but sophisticated in its artful combination of ingredients. On the east coast of the Peninsula there are notable West Indies influences, including quirky European elements (like stuffed mini edam cheese) that reflect the “duty-free” trading traditions of Caribbean neighbours.
Mexico City and Central Mexico
Series I, Class 2: Thursday, August 5
Mexico’s high central plateau is the land of the Aztecs and of corn, the crop that sustained this mighty empire for centuries. Here at the epicenter of the fusion of Hispanic and Mesoamerican culture the food – whether it is robust stew from a market stall or a light and dazzling Zona Rosa creation – is unique, exciting and spectacular. Cosmopolitan Mexico City has embraced all of Mexico’s regional cuisine and international influences too – nueva cocina Mexicana flourishes here. Classics like mole poblano and chiles en nogales confirm Puebla as the heart of Mexican culinary artistry.
The Pacific Coast
Series I, Class 3: Thursday, August 26
The string of resorts from Mazatlan to Acapulco – beautiful beaches, lush groves of coconuts and bananas, an abundance of just-caught, simply prepared seafood – this is the Mexico that most Vancouverites are familiar with. Further inland, famous specialties include pozole and birria. The primary outside culinary influence is Asian, due in large part to the 250-year history of the Manila galleon trade; curried octopus on rice is popular in Acapulco and braised pork dishes with ginger, bay leaves, vinegar and lots of garlic are Mexican riffs on Filipino adobo baboy.
Coming in the Fall of 2010:
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec:
Series II, Class 1: (Date to be Confirmed)
It is only 125 miles from the Caribbean to the north to the Pacific to the south, but this narrow strip of land could hardly be more geographically diverse. Veracruz and Tabasco are lush and very wet, with over one hundred inches of rainfall. The interior and Pacific Coast are dry and austere but equally beautiful. Veracruz is very much a Caribbean city with a culture and cuisine influenced by both Africa and Europe. Near this coast, food is rich and varied, but seafood rules, even at breakfast. Inland, there is no better place to eat in Mexico than Oaxaca where the combination of ingredients is unconstrained and their complex transformation into exquisite moles is transcendent.
The Colonial Tablelands
Series II, Class 2: (Date to be Confirmed)
The Northern Frontier
Series II, Class 3: (Date to be Confirmed)