Oaxaca – The Culinary Mecca of Mexico

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  • calender - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of MexicoFebruary 21 – 27, 2022
  • globe - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of MexicoMexico
  • globe - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of MexicoMexico
  • calender - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of MexicoFebruary 21 – 27, 2022
  • night - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of Mexico7 Days/6 Nights
  • women - Oaxaca - The Culinary Mecca of Mexico8 – 12 Guests

Overview

300 miles southeast of Mexico City lies the enchanting city of Oaxaca (pronounced “wa-ha-ka”). Sitting in a verdant valley with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, this area has been prized since 500BC. To this day, the state of Oaxaca (of which Oaxaca city is the capital) is the most ethnically diverse state in Mexico, home to 16 of the country’s 56 indigenous groups. Oaxaca’s ethnic diversity is the foundation for its rich culinary and cultural traditions. Oaxaca must be taken in slowly and attentively to understand and appreciate its many layers. During our 7-day, 6-night, women only, immersion trip, we will venture into the heart of Oaxacan culture in a way only locals know how.

Highlights

  • Visit a Mezcal Palenque distillery & enjoy a tasting or two
  • Savor a meal created by one of the most acclaimed chefs in the world
  • Take a cooking class with our own Chef/Guide using market fresh ingredients
  • Stay at a calm yet very chic hotel in central Oaxaca
  • Snap pictures at the widest tree and one of the oldest on earth
  • Visit Monte Albán, the ancient Zapotec metropolis dating back to 500 BC
  • Sample the creativity of Chef Rodolfo Castellanos winner of the 1st Top Chef Mexico
  • Shop ‘til you drop for the most beautiful pottery & textiles you’ve ever seen
  • Stroll through one of the largest and most impressive markets in Mexico at Tlacolula
  • Explore the Santo Domingo Church built in 1575, dripping in gold and superb statuary
  • Cleanse and detox your body at a traditional ceremonial temazcal, dating back 1000’s of years
  • Learn and taste why desayunos (breakfast) is so important to Oaxacan natives
  • Discover Teotitlán del Valle, the headquarters for rugs weavers for 1000’s of years
  • Awaken your tastebuds by trying Tlayudas, memelitas, countless types of moles, carnitas, Corn Fungus, Tetelas, Enfrijoladas, Tamalas Oaxqueños, Entomatadas, Chapulines and more!

Discard your preconceived notions of Mexican food. The culinary traditions on display in Oaxaca bear no resemblance to what passes as Mexican food in most of the US. Let’s start with mole; in the US a singular dark, chocolate infused sauce that’s often a little bitter. In Oaxaca, you’ll find variations such as – negro (the only one you’ve probably heard of), rojo, chichilo, amarillo, verde, coloradito, and manchamanteles   – but each variation is as nuanced as the great-grandmother who’s secret recipe is passed down through the generations.

But nothing is more nuanced than Mezcal. Made from a dozen different agave species, and 52 more sub-species, Mezcal is emblematic of Oaxaca’s diversity. (Mezcal’s popular cousin, Tequila, is made from a single Agave species – Weber blue). Mezcal is at the heart and soul of Oaxaca, to be sipped and celebrated with friends.

Unlike Mexico City, Oaxaca is small and its centro consists of perfectly preserved colonial buildings which alternate between ocre, pink, terra cotta, salmon and turquoise. The weather at this time is picture perfect, every day – highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s at night.

We will dine in this historic city at both high-end restaurants and off-the-beaten path street stands to experience both the regional specialties as well as more modern chef interpretations pulling from all the various pre-Hispanic influences.

During our culinary adventure will also visit some of the smaller surrounding towns for an up-close look at traditions untainted by modernity. Because we want to make sure you experience the food, beverages, and ingredients as up close as possible, we will visit a mezcal palenque to learn in detail about the spirit, and explore several markets, tasting as we go, getting to know the spices, chiles, and everything you might care to learn. One of our women only luxury trip highlights will be choosing ingredients as a group for a cooking lesson led by twice James Beard Award nominated Chef Iliana de la Vega.

Itinerary

Day 1, February 21st Monday

Arrival Day

After arriving in Oaxaca City, our driver will meet you at the airport and take you to our lovely and serene boutique hotel, Azul Oaxaca, located in the downtown area of the city. Take some time to settle before we meet for a welcome drink at our hotel’s rooftop.

We will then head out for dinner at one of the finest restaurants in the city, Origen. There, we’ll try modern interpretations of Oaxacan cuisine of chef Rodolfo Castellanos—Oaxacan native and winner of the first Top Chef Mexico. For our introduction dinner, we’ll sample his tasting menu and toast to our first of many unforgettable meals together.

Day 2, February 22nd Tuesday

Downtown + Traditional Cleansing Ceremony

This day begins with breakfast at a traditional and popular market stand, La Florecita, for Oaxacan comfort food accompanied with unique regional beverages. We’ll then make our way to see a breath-taking example of baroque architecture: the Santo Domingo church. After that, there will be a choice to visit either the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, housed in the Santo Domingo Ex-Convent, or the Botanical Gardens.

For lunch, we’ll head to one of Oaxaca’s most important markets: The Benito Juárez market, to sample a variety of local grilled meats at the smoke hall. But before that, we’ll walk around the market isles, shopping and tasting as we go.

After lunch, we’ll drive a bit out of town for a cleansing experience at a traditional temazcal, Ceviarem. A temazcal is a mild sweat lodge meant for cleansing our body and spirit. The tradition originated in pre-Hispanic times and it is still widely used today all over Mexico. The rest of the day and evening will be yours to explore the city’s rich culinary landscape at your own pace. If you’re still hungry, that is.

Day 3, February 23rd Wednesday

Cooking Session

Today will be all about Oaxacan ingredients, learning about them, and understanding how to use them in your own cooking back at home. Our day will start with breakfast at a popular eatery that specializes in all things corn, Itanoní, including refreshing beverages, which they make using heirloom varieties.

We’ll then make our way to a residential market nearby to shop for ingredients for our cooking session. Our culinary workshop will be led by two-time James Beard Award nominee chef Iliana de la Vega at an open-air kitchen in the home of a local artist. While our lunch is cooking, we’ll also learn how to make traditional Oaxacan cheeses guided by Rosa María, a local woman who comes from a family of cheesemakers.

After lunch, you’ll have the afternoon to rest or enjoy the city on your own. We’ll meet again this evening for a variety of appetizers, which include a memorable suckling pig taco, while we enjoy panoramic views of the city at the terrace of an upscale restaurant, Pitiona.

Day 4, February 24th Thursday  

Mezcal Traditions

We’ll start our day with outdoor breakfast tucked away in the colonial courtyard of a boutique hotel, La Casona de Tita. Then, we’re off to a mezcal palenque, a distillery, where we’ll trace the history and tradition of mezcal making—meeting local producers, touring an agave nursery, and exploring the palenque that produces small-batch, artisanal mezcal. We will of course be sampling the spirit, with a tasting guided by local experts. If you enjoy this smoky beverage, you’ll have the chance to buy it directly from the producers.

On our way back to town, we’ll stop for lunch at the Ocotlán market, where handmade quesadillas, memelas, and more abound. Back in Oaxaca, take some time to rest or explore the city on your own before we reconvene later in the evening to sample a true Oaxacan street food: tlayudas at El Negro. A tlayuda is a 12” round semi-crispy tortilla with various toppings or fillings.

Day 5, February 25th Friday

El Tule & Tlacolula

On our way to the Sunday open-air market of Tlacolula is the town of Santa María del Tule, home to the widest tree on earth. There, we will kick-off our day with a traditional Oaxacan breakfast at a popular eatery, El Milenario, before visiting El Tule tree. Afterwards, we’ll drive to the village of Tlacolula where all kinds of vendors from all over Oaxaca come to sell everything from live turkeys and fresh produce to fabrics. We’ll spend some time there, exploring and shopping before we make our way to the town of Teotitlán del Valle, renowned for its woven rugs. There, we’ll visit the workshop of a local weaver who will walk us through the process of rug making using traditional techniques and natural dyes.

For lunch, we’ll enjoy a traditional Zapotec feast at the private home of a wonderful local cook, Reyna Mendoza. Once back in the city, enjoy some time to rest before we meet again for a margarita at the bar of a downtown hotel that’s housed in a former convent. Afterwards, we will return to our hotel for a candlelit tasting of traditional Oaxacan tamales from our favorite local street cart.

Day 6, February 26th Saturday  

Zapotec Legacy at Monte Albán

Our last day will begin with an outdoor breakfast at the terrace of La Olla restaurant, which offers lovely views of the city accompanied by a delicious meal. Then, we will make our way to visit the largest and most important archaeological site of Oaxaca: Monte Albán, where a local expert guide will explain the legacy and history of the Zapotec site.

Then, we’ll return to the city for a lunch of traditional food from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec—a completely different cuisine from one of the eight regions of Oaxaca—at the private home of a local woman cook known in town as “La Teca.”

After lunch, you’ll have some time to relax or enjoy your last day in Oaxaca on your own before we meet again for our farewell dinner. We’ll meet again for our final dinner at the gorgeous modern space of two incredible and world-renowned chefs who are putting their minds together to create new flavors using traditional Oaxacan ingredients.

Day 7, February 27th Sunday

Farewell

After a week of exploring and eating your way through Oaxaca, it’s time to head back home with a head full of memories and perhaps a couple of bottles of mezcal. Our driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport. You may depart early in the morning or enjoy breakfast at the hotel beforehand.

GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!

NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.

Trip Cost

Trip Cost: 88,800 Mexican Pesos

 

  • * All our trips are organized and priced based on single occupancy at all the places we stay. If you’re traveling with a friend/relative, or would prefer to save some money by sharing a room, we can usually organize double occupancy and a reduction in cost.
  • * All our trips are priced in the home currency of the trip’s location; however, we will invoice you in the equivalent USD calculated at the exchange rate at the time of invoice.
  • Savings can be had if you choose to room with an old or new friend. Please inquire.
  • Interest-free payment plans are available, which can bring down your 4500-euro trip to just 375 euros a month depending on how far ahead you book. Please inquire.

What’s Included?

  • All ground transportation (including airport transfers)
  • Welcome gift
  • All meals except for 1 dinner on day 2, including beer, wine, or mezcal (when specified) to accompany your food
  • Welcome drinks
  • Entrances to museums, Monte Alban as well as costs of all activities mentioned
  • All market visits and mezcal visits and tastings
  • A unique Temazcal ceremonial experience
  • A cooking class and cheese making demonstration
  • Your stay at a boutique hotel in downtown Oaxaca.

What’s Not Included?

  • International airfare
  • Cocktails are buy-on-your-own
  • Souvenirs
  • Trip Insurance
  • Medical travel insurance (required for anyone over 50 years old)

I’m interested, so what do I do next?

If you have questions, press the Inquire Now button above, and complete the form. We’ll get back to you ASAP.

If you’d like to come, press the Reserve Now button above. You will be prompted to complete a form with your pertinent details, put down a refundable $250 deposit, and schedule a time to speak with a GG2P representative.

We like to speak with everyone before they embark on their first trip with Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond. This allows you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. These are intimate, small group trips; a quick yet personal conversation allows you to get to know how our trips work and make sure it’s right for you. If it’s not, we’ll immediately refund your $250 deposit.

If it’s a Go! after your call, we’ll bill you for 25% of the trip’s cost (less the $250 deposit you already paid) and your place is reserved. This is non-refundable; you’re committed to the trip. The balance is due approximately 2 months before the trip.

Our cancellation policy is here.

Inquire About This Trip

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