Intangible Cultural Heritage
UNESCO designated Mexican Cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; that the food of Mexico contributes something so important to the world that it must be safe guarded as a treasure to mankind.
Making the list is not easy; French cuisine was rejected several times before they were finally accepted for the practice of gastronomic meals – social gatherings with at least four courses and many hours spent at the table.
UNESCO explains why Mexican Cuisine made the list early on:
Traditional Mexican cuisine comprises age-old culinary techniques and ancestral community customs which signify the collective participation of the entire community from growing the crop to cooking it in methods which encourage increased nutritional value.
Anyone vaguely familiar with Mexican cuisine knows the basis of Mexican food is corn, beans and chile. Their culinary practices also include specific techniques of farming (called Milpa), specific cooking practices and usage of traditional utensils such as the grinding stone and mortars.
This complete practice is included in UNESCO’s list since it reinforces social bonds and focuses on sustainable development through food.
Foodie Tourism in Puerto Vallarta
Anyone who feels that memorable culinary experiences in beautiful surroundings are an important part of travel should be making vacation plans to Mexico.
One of the best destinations to indulge your senses in the culinary arts of Mexico is Puerto Vallarta. Not only because of the amazing array of dining choices, but there are two great Food Festivals in this coastal resort town worth planning a trip around: The Gourmet Festival in November and Restaurant Week in May
International Gourmet Festival
The Festival Gourmet International begins the 2nd Friday of November and lasts 10 days, culminating with a huge seafood brunch next to the ocean on the final Sunday of the festival. Celebrity chefs from all over the world meet in the Bay of Banderas for wine pairings, workshops and dine-arounds and the public is invited to join in the city-wide food party.
Master chefs interact with guests at the progressive dinners. The opening night gala, called the Gourmet Village, has live music, shows and fireworks. Tickets can be purchased for the entire program or select events; some of the theme nights at various restaurants simply require a reservation.
Restaurant Week is hosted by Vallarta Lifestyles magazine and takes place annually in the last two weeks of May. All the top restaurants offer their most popular dishes at half the normal price; three-course meals range from $20-30US. The local social set will be beating you to the tables; reservations are recommended.
May is the perfect month to visit Puerto Vallarta: the summer heat has not set in but the summer prices have: value season rates apply at vacation rental villas starting May 1.
Cooking Classes and Demonstrations
Please talk to us if interested in adding culinary related activities to your itinerary. We recommend booking in advance due to popular demand. See more info under Activities.
Named for a fruit tree that grows in their courtyard, El Arrayan Restaurant has been featured on countless travel shows and news segments because of their unique approach to Mexican cooking: they use ingredients and techniques that date back centuries, both pre-Columbian and those brought to the New World by the Europeans, creating an authentic but ever-evolving menu. Needless to say their cooking classes are in high demand.
Classes are offered 3 days per week October through March. During the slower season, April to September, private classes can be arranged for groups of 4 or more.
Class includes lunch with wine (participants will dine on the food they prepare in class), a printed recipe and an embroidered apron. The class on Monday includes transportation and a tour of the farmer’s market and tortilla factory.
Chef Mavi Graf owned a successful gourmet grocery store for years and then branched out into catering and personal chef services. Her private cooking classes are highly rated and include a guided tour of the seafood, spice and produce markets where the participants select ingredients used in the menu that day. The tour starts at 10am and is considered by many to be the highlight of the class because of the insight Mavi shares with her students while exploring the markets of Puerto Vallarta. After shopping, it is back to the chef’s private kitchen in Marina Vallarta for a demonstration and a 3 course meal. Classes are intended for small, intimate groups of friends: as few as 2 persons or a many as 6. A craft cocktail and glass of wine is included; wine pairings are extra or you can BYOB with a corkage fee.
Chef Night at your Villa
You will be amazed at the quality of service, presentation and menus at our vacation rental villa. In Puerto Vallarta, the villas include cook service twice daily. Most guests tell us the chef service at their villa surpassed their expectations. They saw no need to dine out. And when they did, the culinary experience was better at their private vacation home than at some of the 5-star restaurants.
We can arrange for cooking demonstrations at your villa. Casa Septiembre and Villa Paraiso are two particular properties that offer this activity for guests. The morning cook at Casa Septiembre can show you how she prepares salsas, guacamole, juices and fresh masa items like sopes. For dinner, we can arrange for the evening chef to prepare a 3 course meal while you sit at the bar and observe. Printed recipes will be provided and nice pairings suggested.
Hire a guide take you to the best street food stands in Puerto Vallarta. The day tour is history oriented, the night tour more of an adventure. They even offer a happy hour tour. If you have 8 or more in your group, you will have the tour guide to yourself for a private street food excursion with beer and a tequila tasting. Please talk to your rental agent about the highly rated Food Tours.