To solidify its growing reputation as the destination for the gourmands, Riviera Maya in Mexico hosted earlier this year its first-ever gluttony fest, aka Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival. The event drew the likes of such distinguished chefs as Ferran Adria, Ingrid Hoffmann and Jacques Pepin. Jam-packed with food presentations, spirit samplings and ample opportunities to dance off the inevitably acquired calories, the happening signaled Mexico’s budding food scene like no other.
While the boisterous, four-day festivities summed up nicely all that is trending on the culinary horizon not only south of the border, the quiet revolution on the gastronomy front in Mexico is turning rice and beans into the stuff fine dining is made of.
One doesn’t need to venture out further then Playa del Carmen to see what’s cooking. For haute cuisine, the new Viceroy Riviera Maya –the re-branded Tides Riviera Maya — spotlights interpretive Mexican cuisine at the 50-pax La Marea Restaurant. The menu offers an array of daily specials and chef’s recommendations that are always abundant in fresh seafood and local prime meats.
“The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a luxurious and intimate slice of paradise ideal for a takeover for a small incentive or corporate event,” says General Manager Pedro Lara about this 41-private villa resort available for buyout. “We place emphasis on outstanding personalized service, beautifully appointed accommodations, signature amenities and sophisticated dining.” For larger groups check out The Coral Grill, a covered outdoor restaurant with menu cooked on wood-burning grills, which accommodates up to 150 in a luxuriously unparalleled setting.
The recently opened Aldea Corazon also in Playa del Carmen, brings Mother Nature to the table in more ways than one. Owned and operated by the team behind the beloved Lateral, Sur and Mi Pueblo restaurants, Aldea Corazon, an ideal option for groups up to 100, is nestled inside a private jungle that serves up quintessential Mexican fare with surprisingly sophisticated twist. Try the locally harvested camarones a la talla, and queso fundido mescal. They are finger-licking good.
Not to be neglected, Riviera Maya offers spirit enthusiasts, of the alcoholic variety, a slew of options celebrating the local liquid pleasures that will have your corporates shout ‘Viva Mexico.’
Heralded as one of the top activities in the Cancun area, a walk through the underground chambers of Xcaret’s Cava de Vino, 40 miles south from the city, is a mind-boggling oenological adventure that explores over 180 labels on display from the most prestigious wine makers in Mexico. Who knew there were so many? Xcaret Wine Tour, part of the unique experiences at the 2,000-pax Xcaret Seaside Park with access to more than 40 attractions, is an exclusive libation experience for smaller groups up to 25 people.
At The Hacienda Tres Rios’ Agave Bar, with 273 luxury accommodations, 500-pax multifunctional ballroom and total 20,000 sf indoor/outdoor meeting space, guests are encouraged to do their own tequila tasting or better yet, learn from Chef Oscar, an authentic tequila aficionado, who leads the official tequila tasting out on the terrace. The experience promises to teach the aromas and flavors of premium tequila in a class transforming the willing into honest-to-Dios tequila connoisseurs.