Experience the Riviera Maya, Ecuador and New Orleans Through Your Tastebuds

Our upcoming virtual tasting aims to transport you on a culinary journey through the Americas. No need for travel FOMO – find inspiration and experience local cuisine from the comfort of your own living room on March 26 by attending our next virutal tasting experience. View our menu and purchase tickets here.

In the meantime, read background info on our featured destinations below.

The Riviera Maya, a stretch of Caribbean coastline south of Cancun along the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, may be one of the a rare world regions that has it all: white sand beaches, impeccable coral reefs, awe-inspiring archeological sites, verdant green tropical forests and the world’s longest underwater cave systems (known as cenotes). But most of all, this region, once the seat of power for Mayan civilization, is an incredible place to experience Mexican culinary traditions in all their glory. The abundantly-rich land and sea in this area provided local peoples with a dazzling variety of fruit, vegetable and seafood which birthed a deeply rooted tradition of food and place. Pibil, a Mayan-style of cooking in which food is cooked in a pit or underground, birthed amazing Yucatan stews of cochinita (pork) and Tikin Xic, a dry rubbed fish rubbed in achiote paste and wrapped in banana leaves before cooking underground. Ritual and tradition are found in every bite of Maya Riviera cuisine, embodying an intimate meeting of humanity and this vibrant, wonderful land.

Ecuador is one of those unique countries whose borders envelope all environments. Packed into a small area are coastal deserts, towering mountains and lush rainforests. This land of geographical diversity is one of spectacular biodiversity as well – and that’s just the mainland. The Galapagos Islands, the rocky volcanic island chain famous for its endemic (only found there) species and its inspiration towards the theory of biological evolution, is also part of Ecuador. Ecuadorian cuisine is as varied as it’s geography – from potatoes and cuy (guinea pig) found the Andes mountains, to bananas and roasted pork in the Amazon basin, to ceviche and plantains along the coast. As an island chain over 500 miles from the coast of South America, it is no surprise that cuisine of the Galapagos is based around seafood, or mariscos. Scallops, or vieiras, are a particular delicacy, as are patacones, quartered and twice-fried plantains often served with a delicious ceviche. Located at the nexus of four ocean currents, the islands are one of the most critical places for marine life on the planet, as each year mass migrations of sharks, whales, turtles and birds traverse its waters. The cold nutrient waters make the eastern Pacific Ocean one of the world’s most fished regions as well, and makes our support of sustainable seafood practices here, as well as a globally, particularly important.

New Orleans cuisine is a fusion of fusions, a melting pot of so many cultures that separate culinary traditions born in this area could fill entire segments of cooking history individually. Creole cooking, the most unique to the New Orleans area, was born from the native, slave and colonist populations who made this bustling port home before Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Aristocratic yet homey, it heavily displays the French traditions of rich sauces and complex preparations while incorporating the styles and ingredients of Native American, Spanish, and West African cooking. Cajun cooking was born from French-Canadian colonists who were deported to southern Louisiana after the French-Indian War in the 18th century. At a loss for the ingredients of their homeland, they developed an entirely new culinary tradition, again combining Native American, Spanish, and West African styles with those they knew before. Established around home-cooking and familial gatherings (such as the famous crawfish bowl), the cuisine developed a distinctive aroma and spiciness in the 20th century that today has cemented its place in the distinct culture of New Orleans. Finally, Soul food, now the traditional fare of the Southern United States, arose from the cultures of enslaved Africans who combined their native West African traditions with that of their European captors and Native American neighbors. Combined, these distinct and incredible culinary styles define the flavors of this truly American city, a crossroads of cultures new and old and a definition of what it means to be an American.