Mexico: On a Taco a Day – Cuisine, Cultures and Geography
In Mexico, food tells a story. In a bite of corn taco in a Mexico City taqueriá, taste 7,000 years of history and civilization. In the spicy moles and tasty chapulines of Oaxaca, savor the ecological richness and biodiversity of the Sierra Madre Valley. The flavors of a taco arabe in Puebla tell the story of Lebanese immigration and adjustment to life in the Americas. In Baja visit cheese makers, fishermen and enjoy the sophisticated flavors of Mexican nouvelle cuisine. In Mexico, every region, every town and every pueblo expresses it’s own unique culture in the food cultivated, crafted and shared around the table. Explore farms, learn pre-Columbian cooking techniques and sample spices and chiles as you discover the link between geography, history and culture through the micro cuisines of Mexico.
Your culinary cultural adventure begins in Mexico City. Savor your first taste of Mayan civilization during hikes up the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan. Feast your eyes on the murals of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and practice your Spanish with locals during meals in the bohemian neighborhood of Coyoacan. Then travel south to Oaxaca, a culinary center in Mexico. Set up shop in outdoor markets, cook with vendors and local families, sample traditional flavors and ingredients and develop a gastronomic map of Mexico learning about history, culture, biodiversity and regional cuisine. In Tlaxcala, you learn first hand that food always tastes better with family. Cook with your hosts, explore colonial neighborhoods with new friends and improve your Spanish language skills every day. After a farewell meal and celebration with your new family, you learn to never travel on an empty stomach. Make your own mole using the market spices you found in local mercados. Sample the iconic potato candies and Santa Clara cookies in Puebla. In Veracruz, explore the scenic coastline, taste how the flavors of the Caribbean and Europe blend together and visit one of Mexico’s largest fish markets. At the end of the program, fly to Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula to taste the future of Mexican cuisine. Working with cheese makers and fishermen, learn about locally sourced food and sustainable fishing. At journey’s end celebrate Mexico from its pre-Columbian past to its innovative future while reflecting on your exploration of Mexico on a taco a day.
Orientation in Mexico City
- See the floating gardens of Xochimilco.
- Climb the steep stone steps of ancient pyramids.
- Practice survival Spanish language skills.
- Visit the Museo National de Anthropologia and Frida Kahlo museum.
- See the ballet folklorico.
Seminar in Oaxaca
- Explore colorful outdoor food markets and learn about pre-hispanic foods.
- Taste fried grasshoppers, ants and spicy tamales.
- Develop a gastronomic map of Mexico with food experts.
- Participate in cooking workshops, taste spicy Mexican chocolate and shop for chiles.
- Take over a local restaurant to prepare a traditional meal.
Family and Community stay in Tlaxcala
- Become part of a Mexican host family.
- Attend local festivals.
- Develop your Spanish language skills during family meals and activities.
- Learn to prepare lamb the pre-Columbian way in an underground barbecue pit.
- Make your own mole in Puebla.
- Taste the Middle Eastern flavors of a taco arabe.
- Participate in a candy workshop.
- Enjoy the Creole and Caribbean flavors in Veracruz.
- Explore one of Mexico’s largest fish markets and the Gulf Coast.
- Fly to Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula.
- Visit a fishing village and vineyard.
- Sample Mexican nouvelle cuisine.
- Spend the day on the beach.
Program: Mexico – On a Taco a Day
Start/End: Mexico City International Airport / Cancun International Airport
Dates: Late June – Late July (3 weeks)
Prerequisite: At least 1 year of Spanish