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 Hidalgo, bake traditional pastries and fish for trout in the hills near El Chico. 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 Pachuca, 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. Cook with flowers in a pre-Columbian cooking workshop and learn to make delicious barbacoa. 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. Then travel north to tropical Yucatan to enjoy four days of beautiful sunsets, colonial architecture and Mayan cuisine. In Merida, you’ll visit colorful outdoor food markets, participate in Mayan cooking classes and visit a traditional hacienda. 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.
- Make your own mole.
Family and Community stay in Pachuca
- Become part of a Mexican host family.
- Fish for trout in mountain streams.
- Develop your Spanish language skills during family meals and activities.
- Learn about the use of flowers in a pre-Columbian cooking workshop.
- Explore Puebla’s old town.
- Taste the Middle Eastern flavors of a taco arabe.
- Participate in a candy workshop.
- Travel north to tropical Yucatan.
- Swim in a clear water cenote.
- Learn about Mayan culture and cuisine.
- Visit a traditional hacienda.
Program: Mexico – On a Taco a Day
Start/End: Mexico City International Airport / Cancun International Airport
Dates: June 28, 2020 – July 19, 2020
Prerequisite: At least 1 year of Spanish