Cancun. Warm sun, spectacular beaches, cool breezes, unique beauty and breathtaking turquoise waters. It’s paradise! So, what could make it even more perfect? How about a wine and food festival with international chefs in charge of hotels’ and restaurants’ kitchens, experimenting with new techniques, using new ingredients and fusing culinary styles—resulting in infinite Mexican specialties from various regions to the most refined international cuisine.
This inaugural gastronomic event is causing a buzz! The first ever Cancun–Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival comes alive from March 15-18, 2012, highlighting Mexican rising culinary stars as well as culinary talent seven countries, plus an unbeatable team of sommeliers, spirit professionals, cooking demos, molecular cuisine scientists, chocolatiers and more.
“I’ve traveled the world,” says David Amar, founder of the Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, “but in the last five years I’ve spent most of my time in Mexico and Latin America, and I’ve discovered a renaissance in culinary talent. I felt that this place needs some large, ambitious international type of events to attract a different level of clientele, to show that this isn’t just another sunny destination, that it’s more than that.
“Our first event of the 30 to take place within four days is a star chefs’ tribute to Mexico. It will be incredible,” Amar continues. “And during the tribute dinner to Ferran Adria, I found six Mexican chefs who are honoring him by using his techniques. I told them it has to be the best meal this country’s ever had. They accepted the challenge and they’ve been working on this one meal for the last year.”
Like Amar mentions, highlights of the festival include the Star Chefs of the Americas Tribute to Mexico at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Hotel in Cancun, March 15, during which guests will sample a variety of Mexico-inspired creations from the country’s top chefs, all paired with wines selected by top sommeliers ($200 pp); and The Mexican Rising Star Chefs Tribute to Chef Ferran Adria at Live Aqua Cancun, March 16, featuring a multi-course dinner with paired wines, each a 90-100 rating ($350 pp). Additional key events include three days of Wine and Spirit Tasting Seminars from March 16-18 at Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa, hosted by a variety of wine connoisseurs and expert mixologists ($50 pp per seminar); the American Express Gourmet Tasting Village, a 2- day tasting event from March 17-18 at the Iberostar Cancun Hotel & Conference Center, taking place in a tent overlooking the beach and featuring the region’s top restaurants, each offering samples of dishes and wines, spirits and specialty foods from around the world ($100 pp per event); and the Cancun After Dark tequila, mezcal, and mixology magic parties on both March 15 and 16 at the ME Cancun ($100 pp per event).
“I wanted to promote the local area restaurants as well, so on the third night I have an event called Cancun Dine Around, where I selected 20 of the best restaurants in Cancun. They each are featuring a festival menu available for the entire month at a fixed price, so this way the restaurants can receive exposure and also we can let others know there’s gastronomy in Mexico,” says Amar.
A list of hotels and resorts that are participating in the wine and food celebration with onsite events include:
• Fiesta Americana Condensa Cancun, with event rates from $237 per night and package rates from $278 per night; for more information, call (877) 927-7666 or visit fiestamericana.com.
• Live Aqua Cancun, with event rates from $432 per night and package rates from $472 per night; for more information, call (877) 927-7666 or visit feel-aqua.com.
• Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa, with event rates from $185 per night and package rates from $226 per night; for more information, call (800) 543-4300 or visit starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien.
• Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, with event rates from $466 per night and package rates from $506 per night; for more information, call (877) 246-63313 or visit fiestamericana.com.
• ME Cancun, with event rates from $346 per night and package rates from $386 per night; for more information, call (877) 954-8363 or visit me-cancun.com.
Event rates are valid from March 12-19. Package rates for hotels and Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival admission can be found here.