27 Dec 2012
To celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary, my husband I recently returned to the land in which we got married – Mexico. Five years ago, the wind was whipping my hair in circles as I had my dream beach wedding near Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya. We returned again to the Riviera Maya, but this time to Maroma Resort & Spa. Our wedding coordinator had spoken so highly of the place, and it had always stuck in my mind. We were lucky enough to not only be able to experience the amazing beauty of this quite little resort, but also their delicious food. Unlike most the all-inclusive mega-resorts down there, they take their food very seriously. They make everything with fresh ingredients, and have inventive Mexican or Mexican-inspired cuisine. They even have a little old lady making tortillas for the entire resort! Her name is Dahlia, and she kindly sat me down and showed me how to properly roll out a tortilla. The resort’s head chef also teaches a 2-hour cooking class, in which I learned quite a few things I didn’t know. In no particular order, they are:
- When making guacamole, start by salting the onions and pepper. Let them sit for a while until they are sweating (you’ll know because it’ll be wet), and then continue to add the rest of the ingredients. This is done because it softens the onions and pepper, so it blends with the avocado better. I make guacamole that people always love, and this trick had never occurred to me.
- Real guacamole does not include tomatoes – the change the taste and texture too much. He said they are filler, since avocados are so expensive.
- Mexicans do not use jalapenos – they ship them off to other countries to use. The most popular pepper is the serrano pepper. When I asked why no one like jalapenos he said because “they are flavorless and watery.” After biting into one, I can see his point. Then after biting into the serrano, my mouth was on fire for 30 minutes! And I love me some spice!
- When making ceviche, you will know it’s done when the originally clear lime juice turns milky white. And it goes without saying that fresh fish is crucial to any good ceviche.
- Tinga Tostadas – Tinga is translated as “anything” and they make this dish when they have leftovers, but not enough to feed the entire family again.
- Mexicans do not eat hard shell tacos. He said that was a Taco Bell thing, haha!
Given that Mexican is my favorite type of food (for those few times it is done right in the US), I was really excited to not only eat great, fresh Mexican for a few days, but also to learn something from a real Mexican chef. Now that I’ve passed on my few pearls of wisdom, enjoy all the beautiful photos!