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Mexico Culinary Holiday

On this culinary adventure in Oaxaca, you’ll get to meet several traditional cooks and taste their food, while also visiting local markets to get a deeper sense of the ingredients they use and the efforts being made to safeguard them. You’ll also go beyond the kitchen, learning about Oaxaca’s long tradition as an artistic center, and even getting a chance to try your own hands at one of the most famous local art forms.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a hands-on cooking experience
  • Enjoy agricultural visits and tour hidden historic sites
  • Take guided tours through bustling city markets to taste what is in season
  • Be with hungry group travelers excited to explore all that Oaxaca has to offer
  • All meals and drinks are included, a belt-popping experience
  • Stay in stylish, boutique hotels
  • 6 nights accommodation

7 days with instruction
Group size: 6-12 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00

You will stay at a boutique hotel called Hotel Parador del Dominico during this holiday on a single or double occupancy basis.

Program

Of course, this being Oaxaca, you’ll also spend a day taking a deep dive into the fascinating world of mezcal, the agave-based spirit that is an essential element of Oaxacan life and culture. You’ll finish your trip with a hands-on lesson on making Oaxaca’s most famous creation, mole, a dish that, much of this Mexican region’s rich culinary heritage itself, is the result of numerous ingredients being lovingly and carefully mixed together.

Itinerary

Arrival and departure

For flights in and out of Oaxaca International Airport (Xoxocotlán International Airport), you are suggested to arrive by 3 p.m. on Day 1 and depart anytime on Day 6. Culinary Backstreets is happy to book you extra nights at the group’s hotel and provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

Day 1: Arrival and welcome

Oaxaca is a city of history and tradition, especially when it comes to its cooking. After settling into your hotel and getting to know each other, a very special table awaits you, head to Levadura de Olla, where, seated before the chef, Thalia Barrios Garcia, you will come as close as possible to the indigenous culinary traditions alive in the hands of Garcia and the hearth of this restaurant.

Day 2: Immersion in the markets

You'll start your day with an epic culinary walk that will give you an overview of Oaxaca’s downtown markets and neighborhoods and also give you a sense of how this city defends its native ingredients and cooking techniques. Starting at the intimate Merced market.

You'll work your way through the city streets and several other markets, stopping for classic Oaxacan bites along the way, and finishing with lunch at a small family-run spot. In the afternoon, you'll meet with another Oaxacan creator, this time a printmaker who will introduce you to Oaxacan visual arts and lead you in a printmaking workshop where you will create works of your own.

Day 3: Secrets of the artisans, cheese, and pottery

You will begin this day with a drive to the small town of Matadamas known for its cheese producers where you will spend the morning with a traditional cook and cheesemaker. You will prepare tamales with her in her home and she will share with you the secrets to Oaxacan cheesemaking, followed by a feast at her table as the streets fill for a local fiesta. On the way back to town, you will be welcomed to home/workshop of another traditional artisan, this one working with pottery. You will have this night free.

Day 4: Corn, Back to the Roots

You will begin this day's early expedition to the Milta caves, the ancient point of origin of corn where you will enjoy an easy hike to a series of caves. You will have treats in the caves and come back to town for a short rest. You will come back to town for a traditional feast to Tlayudas.

Day 5: Sunday in the Market

Your day will revolve around a visit to the small town of Tlacolula, just outside of Oaxaca city, which holds what might be the most spectacular weekly market in the whole region. Filled with food vendors, fruit and vegetable stalls, and craftspeople selling their wares, the market is a colorful celebration of the richness of Oaxacan life.

After working your way through the market, you'll finish up with late lunch at yet another of Oaxaca’s “Cocineras Tradicionales,” this one highlighting the cooking of the region’s central valley, which is famed for its mole and unusual use of chiles.

The chef will fill the table with the seven most essential moles of Oaxaca and give you the backstory on the origin, ingredients, and cultural significance of each. As your final meal of the trip, this one will be a full table tribute to the preservation of the local Oaxacan cuisine and the people who protect these traditions. After this week, you will never look at mole the same way.

Day 6: The Mysteries of Mezcal

Today, you'll head out of town and into the countryside to learn all about the making of mezcal and the important role this agave-based spirit plays in Oaxacan culture.

On the way, you will stop for a classic country breakfast to fortify yourselves for the visit ahead. You'll make your way to a palenque, an artisanal distillery, where the mezcalero will take through the process of making the drink, from collecting the agave to bottling the mezcal. Unlike many mezcalero, this one is a farmer as well, working toward sustainable solutions to keep up with the global mezcal craze.

Along with a mezcal tasting, we will also have a rustic country-style lunch at the palenque, eating dishes made from items freshly collected from nearby fields and cooked over an open fire. In the evening, back in Oaxaca City, we’ll have dinner at Catedral, a classic Oaxaca restaurant, located inside an old mansion, that’s been celebrating this history and tradition with great skill since 1976.

Day 7: Farewell

Your trip done, group members will either head home or continue on their onward journeys.

Activity level

Travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking three to five miles each day and remain on their feet for long periods of time. Keep in mind that Oaxaca is a bustling and crowded place!

Notes on the itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. You expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Included excursions

Agricultural visits

You'll be tracing your way back to the source of the foods you’re eating, investigating the farming and production systems that feed Oaxaca.

Hidden historic sites

Oaxaca has many obscure points of interest and you’ll be sure to explore this side of things.

Market tours

Take guided tours through bustling city markets to taste what is in season.

Hands-on cooking experience

Learn how to make classic Oaxacan mole from a local traditional cook.

Location

Culinary Backstreets likes to think of Oaxaca as the heartland of Mexican cooking. All those things that seem so classically and elementally Mexican, corn, chiles, moles, and mezcal can be traced back to the fertile area that surrounds this historic city. This is true about not just ingredients but cooking techniques as well.

The use of smoke and fire to flavor food and of the comal, the large circular griddle that is essential for making tortillas, are all deeply connected with the Oaxaca region and its indigenous people. Oaxaca plays another important role: that of a place where many of Mexico’s traditional ingredients and techniques are maintained and protected. Many of those doing that protecting are Oaxaca’s “Cocineras Tradicionales,” a loosely affiliated guild of female cooks that often come from the area’s smaller villages and towns.

Food

Culinary Backstreets encourages an adventurous palate! They try their best to accommodate dietary restrictions, though in most cases, ingredients can’t be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. If you have a particular food allergy or intolerance, please send an inquiry to find out if this is the right trip for you.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation in stylish, boutique hotels
  • A hands-on cooking experience
  • Agricultural visits and tour hidden historic sites
  • All meals and drinks
  • Guided tours through bustling city markets to taste what is in season
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events
  • Professional guides throughout the entire experience
  • Private coach for visits inside and outside the center city

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from Oaxaca, including airport transfers
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Culinary Backstreets offerings (1 lunch, 1 dinner, and some alcoholic beverages)
  • If applicable, applying for a Mexican visa (not required for U.S. citizens)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 6 participants

Wednesday February 26, 2025
(7 days / 6 nights)

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