Here’s a little food for thought today: I am now in my fifth week of a six-week sojourn through southern Italy, Sicily and now Spain. Those who know me know that I am one who lives to eat, planning my life around the best restaurants, trying out new recipes and combing the markets for fascinating foodstuffs.
One of our principal reasons for making this trip was to discover and sample the traditional dishes of the region. So you may be surprised when I tell you that with the exception of some isolated experiences, the food is as good or better in Mexico and particularly in Puerto Vallarta.
The attraction that Vallarta has across the globe has put the town in a particularly ideal culinary situation. There are world-class chefs from Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria, not to mention the United States, Canada and Mexico, who call Puerto Vallarta home. Many are here because they fell in love with Mexico while on vacation, others because they worked in hotels or on cruise ships and decided to make their stay permanent.
Puerto Vallarta hosts many culinary events during the year. November is the month for the annual Festival Gourmet, when for ten days the participating restaurants play host to chefs from all over the world who showcase their menus, give cooking classes, wine tastings, chats and parties. This year marks the twenty-second year of this highly popular festival.
During the last two weeks of May of each year, Puerto Vallarta celebrates Restaurant Week (I know, it should be called Restaurant Weeks). Participating restaurants feature specially priced menus (three courses for either $229 pesos or $349 pesos, depending on the restaurant) in order to attract visitors and locals that may not normally visit the restaurants. This year there were 42 participating restaurants and every year more and more join this event. This is also for some restaurants a springboard into the summer season and there are many that keep the special prices all summer long.
There are scores of other gastronomic activities happening throughout the year, and with Mexico being the land of fiestas, there are always special meals and foods to be associated with these celebrations. Dia de los Muertos (November 2) is the day in Mexico where those who have gone before us are remembered and their lives celebrated. It is traditional to visit the panteón, or cemetery, where the loved ones lie, and bring them an offering of their favorite food and drink. There are candied calaveras, or skulls, and other traditional sweets.
I’m loving my trip but can’t wait to return to beautiful PV. Hasta la proxima!