Culinary Tours Oaxaca 1

Food & Festival Culinary Tour

CATEGORY

Culinary

DATES

 

COST

 

* Carnival a la Oaxaca, and Candlemas festivals

* Hands-on cooking class

* Visits with cheese, chocolate, bread and tortilla makers

* The making of pre-Hispanic cacao and corn beverages

* Fiesta arts: piñatas, papel picado, fireworks, ritual candles

* Sunday market!

* Village visits and off-the-beaten track travel

OVERVIEW

Through food, festival and the exotic of daily life, we travel behind the scenes and into the heart of Oaxaca. This trip is a joyous mixture of festivals, ritual arts, foods and daily deliciousness.

We’ll experience the elaborate process of making mole and chocolate atole, as well as the daily ritual of producing farm-fresh tortillas and cheeses. We’ll met a candle maker whose art plays a key role in winning the hand of a bride, a man who makes 12 foot tall parade puppets, learn what a real piñata is and visit a mezcal still. And there will be traditional festivals, with parades, bands, fireworks, masks, baby Jesus, men dressed as women, motor oil smears and all the fun you’d expect at a Oaxacan party.

To see it all, we travel from one village to another, visiting households, churches, markets and getting an inside panorama of a fascinating, vibrant, creative world very different from our own. Bring your camera, bring your napkin, bring your earplugs, bring your curiosity and let us show you the eating and arts of fiesta and daily life in Oaxaca.

B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner included in trip cost

Day 1, WELCOME TO OAXACA (D)
Arrivals in Oaxaca. Transfer to Hotel. Meeting with guide, introductions, trip overview and orientation. Group dinner.
Evening in Oaxaca.

Day 2, CANDELARIA (BLD)
CANDELARIA or Candlemas is celebrated today with family tamale feasts and dressing and blessing little baby Jesus figures from the Christmas nativity scene. We won’t dress Jesus, but we will make tamales (and eat them too) preparing them in a traditional household in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle. We’ll also visit an artisan who makes one of Mexico’s iconic party decorations, papel picado, or cut paper flags. And we’ll visit a town that does up the Candelaria festival extra big with a parade, a band and good times.
Evening in Teotitlan.

Day 3, SOUL FOOD ALA OAXACA (BLD)
Though good food happens in the fine restaurants of Oaxaca city, our favorite food comes from the humble eateries and village kitchens of rural Oaxaca. Fresh cheese, Oaxacan chocolate, wood fired bread, organic, handmade tortillas and Oaxaca’s pre-hispanic power drink, tejate are grand examples of the timeless foods of Oaxaca valley. Hopping from village to Zapotec village on back roads in the Tlacolula valley we go far beyond the tourist routes and into the real thing, visiting artisanal food workshops and mama’s kitchen with the smoky seasoning of a cooking fire. On the trail of essential Oaxacan treats, we’ll wind our way into the villages and homes that give flavor to this delicious land.
Evening in Teotitlan.

Day 4, TORTILLA (BLD)
The tortilla was invented in Oaxaca 2,700 years ago according to archaeologists, so what better place to learn about this true Mexican food of the soul? This simple disk of corn is much more complex and important than most of us imagine. Our journey today will show us why, and we’ll have a grand time on the way. Our route is way off the beaten path and right into the heart of Oaxaca, visiting a traditional Zapotec corn farmer, an artisan who makes the stone metates used for grinding corn, a storefront mill where we’ll see the modern version of a metate in action and a family of potters who make comales, without which a tortilla cannot be cooked. We’ll learn about the hidden ingredient in tortillas so important that without it the great civilizations of Mexico never would have existed (no, it’s not fluoride!) and or course we’ll give tortilla making a try ourselves…and get to eat the results as part of a home cooked village meal. This journey is about the food that feeds the Mexican soul and upon which ancient nations were built, and it is a trip that takes us from one small village to the next, meeting farmers, artisans and cooks and truly giving us a taste of what Oaxaca is about.
Evening in Teotitlan.

Day 5, MOLE (BLD)
Mole (pronounced MOL-eh, is not a rodent) like Thanksgiving turkey in the US, is the mother of all festival foods. It is rich, complex, filling and deeply rooted in Southern Mexico’s heritage and legend. Today we venture into mole, learning the ingredients and going to work making ourselves a big pot full for our lunch. We’ll be guided by a Zapotec chef in her lovely home kitchen with its combination of clay pots, wood fired griddle and Vitamix blender. As if making and eating mole wasn’t enough for the day, we’ll also go to the Teotitlan church, bless our stomachs, and then look at the ornate beeswax candles adorning the 14 altars. Then we’ll go meet the candle maker and see how it’s done, for both the art, and the stories of the ritual uses of these unique candles, is fascinating.
Evening in Mitla.

Day 6, MEZCAL (BL)
Mezcal is the wine of Oaxaca, each distillation with its own terrior; the essence of the unique agave it was distilled from, smoke, moisture and the earth of a certain hillside where that agave grew. Our journey takes us into the traditional world of Oaxacan mezcal, where we’ll head to a certain hillside and learn about the cultivation of agave. Then to a humble little village that smells of wood burning and fermentation and calls itself “the world capital of mezcal”. With nearly 200 micro distilleries, it may well be! We’ll visit one of those distilleries…a copper still and a mule, a father and grandfather, small production, deep pride and an opportunity to learn how true Oaxacan mezcal is made; in small batches, simple stills, sweat, axes , smoke and experience. Leave the frills somewhere else. There is more…we’ll get behind the scenes, visiting a potter who makes clay mezcal bottles, a recycler who provides the village with their glass bottles and perhaps best of all, we’ll meet a producer of mezcal’s distant cousin, pulque, made of fermented agave sap. The icing on the cake is a home cooked lunch complete with agave tortillas!
Evening in Mitla.

Day 7, SUNDAY MARKET! (BL)
Oaxaca comes together at the market! Ancient ritual of exchange, people watching extraordinaire, sights, sounds, smells, tastes …overload of everything! For centuries Sundays in Tlacolula have meant all of this and today we’ll become a part of this delicious, living history as we immerse ourselves in Sunday Market. Then it’s off the beaten track, heading back to the deeply traditional village of Quialana for lunch with acquaintances we made earlier this week, and a visit to a household where one of Oaxaca’s ancient ritual drinks, chocolate atole, is being made. A rare kind of cacao that has been fermented for 6 months is the key ingredient in this foam heavy, pre-Hispanic beverage. Afternoon will find us in Oaxaca city, which will be our base camp for the rest of the trip.
Evening in Oaxaca.

Day 8, RITUAL ARTS (BL)
We venture into the Ocotlan valley, visiting artisans who produce some of the riotous ritual arts used in Oaxacan festivals, from the swirling fireworks and gigantic monos de calenda, or parade puppets, to floral head baskets and piñatas! From artisan workshop to artisan workshop we’ll get a behind the scenes peek at what goes into making a fiesta pop!
Evening in Oaxaca.

Day 9, MARDI GRAS (BLD)
Today is Tuesday, and not just any Tuesday, it’s fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. We are a long ways from Rio or New Orleans, but there will still be wild goings on today. We’ll travel to the village of Tilcajete where a brass band and a masked parade moves through the streets, and masked characters painted in oil roam wildly about…carnival, a time of abandon! In the afternoon, a bit of free time so that you may roam, though perhaps not so wildly, the streets of Oaxaca city, followed by a visit to the fiesta happening on the outskirts of the city around one of the old churches that used to belong to Hernan Cortez!
Evening in Oaxaca.

Day 10, DEPARTURES (B)

Date: to be arranged

Duration: 10 days/9 nights

Category: Culinary

Where: Oaxaca City

Departing and Ending point: Oaxaca City

Cost: to be arranged

Single Supplement $230 usd

Trip Guide: Alex Muñuzuri and Alejandro Leyva

Included:
* All Lodging during trip based on double occupancy
* Most Meals (listed on itinerary Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
* Superb Guide
* Transport in private van
* Entry fees

Not included:
* Airfare and transportation to and from the trip pick-up/drop-off locations
* Lodging before and after the trip
* Personal items purchased during the trip
* Alcoholic beverages
* Some meals are not included. On these trips, Traditions Mexico invites you to explore the local cuisine at your leisure.
* Gratuities for your Traditional Mexico Guides may be given at your discretion in response to their professionalism and leadership.
* Industry standard is for each individual guest to tip the guide team 5-10% of the trip price.
* Room Service
* Travel Visa Fees

To reserve your place please fill out our Registration Form.

PAYMENT INFO

You will have a choice to either mail in your payment by check or pay online by credit card.

A deposit of $450 per person is required to reserve space on this trip.

Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Any registrations made within 90 days of tour date must be paid in full at time of registration.

After we've received your payment, you will receive a confirmation email along with information specific to your trip.

You may register up to 15 days before the trip, but please don't hesitate; trips often fill up quickly.