Discover the Taste of san miguel
Of course dining in San Miguel's restaurants is one way to get a taste of San Miguel. Here are some other great ideas.
Take a cooking class
Photo by Allison Stein Wellner
There are many vendors offering cooking classes in San Miguel. Some are observational only, and other are hands-on classes where students assist in the preparation of food. We've taken both types of classes, and they are both a lot of fun. Sazon Cooking School, owned by Orient Express, teaches observational cooking classes of various types. Chef Emmanual Cervantes (also the chef of the Orient Express's Andanza restaurant) is the teacher. He is easy-going and entertaining, and the classroom facilities (housed in a beautiful 18th century mansion) are upscale and comfortable. The class begins and ends with free margaritas, and in between you will learn to make some wonderful dishes. And you'll go home with printed recipes. To schedule a class, visit their website. (Classes fill early during high seasons.)
If you want a private cooking class experience for your group, try taking a class with either Paco Cardenas, owner of El Petit Four, or Chef Gaby Greene, owner of La Fonda Rosa cooking school. Both offer private cooking classes for small groups that involve demonstrations and student participation in the chef's own home kitchens. You have a lot of flexibility with these classes. You can talk to the chef to decide what you want to learn to prepare - Mexican appetizers and salsas, or a full Mexican meal. You can choose to include a chef-guided market tour with your class or not. And at the end of the class, your group can sit down with the chef and enjoy the foods you've prepared. (Since the classes are in the chef's homes, these classes are also a great way to see how locals live.)
To Arrange A Private Cooking Class Email the Chef Directly:
Chef Paco Cardenas
Chef Gaby Greene
SIP THE TEQUILA THAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
Bob Pittman (the former COO of AOL/Time Warner and founder of The Pilot Group and MTV) created it, together with Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, the first female Maestra Tequilera. And now everyone is talking about it, including taste makers like celeb chef Eric Ripert, Martha Stewart and even Oprah Winfrey. It's Casa Dragones Tequila, a 100% Blue Agave Joven tequila hand-crafted in Mexico, and it seems that the high powered worlds of media, food, and lifestyle are all salivating for a sip. Casa Dragones was launched in 2009, and has gone on to become one of the best sipping tequilas in the world. (And one of the priciest too.) Casa Dragones calls San Miguel its "spiritual home."
"Our name, Casa Dragones, is inspired by the legendary Dragones from San Miguel de Allende, who led one of the movements that sparked the Mexican Independence. Like the Dragones, we’re breaking new ground, creating a sipping tequila with a clean, extra soft taste....At the epicenter of Mexico’s silver trade in the late 1700s, San Miguel played a critical role in defining the country’s economic independence from Spain. During that time, the Dragones, an elite cavalry led by General Ignacio Allende, started one of the movements that eventually led to the Mexican Independence. It was the passion and fortitude of these Dragones that forever changed the face of Mexico."
La Casa Dragones, the house and stables where the Dragones spent much of their time, still stands on a narrow cobbled street in San Miguel de Allende. This house is the place Casa Dragones calls its "spiritual home," and it is sometimes available for private tours and tequila tastings. If the home isn't available for a tour during your stay, you can still arrange a tasting at another location through their concierge. Email email@example.com. If an organized tasting is out of your price range, don't despair. You can buy Casa Dragones Tequila by the glass at several local bars, including the bars at Hotel Matilda, the Rosewood Hotel, the Blue Bar, La Azotea and several others.
tour a winery
A winery? In central Mexico? Indeed, several small wineries have begun production in recent years. And San Miguel's new young mayor has plans to further develop San Miguel’s wine industry. The city is currently providing very attractive economic incentives for new wineries, and in June of 2013, the city signed a collaboration agreement with the French Agricultural Training Center to provide instruction on planting and maintaining vineyards and producing wine. In the meantime, a private tour of one of our existing wineries is an interesting and fun outing. We recommend Cuna de Tierra, just outside San Miguel near Dolores Hidalgo. Cuna de Tierra's first vines were planted in 1995 (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Semillon); their first vinification was done in 2005 and in 2008 they launched their first commercial production. Their private tours include a visit to the barrel room, discussion of their wine making process and of course, tastings of their handcrafted wines and more. (You can take a wagon ride through the vineyard if you want to, or arrange to have a private lunch at the winery.) To schedule your private event, email Lori Midrano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mezcal is a uniquely Mexican alcohol, similar to tequila. It is the oldest distilled spirit in North America. While tequila must be made from the blue agave plant, it does not have to be 100% agave - and most are not. Mezcal is 100% agave. Tequila can be exported in bulk to other countries for bottling (except for 100% agave tequila, like Casa Dragones, which has to be bottled in Mexico.) Mezcal must be bottled in Mexico. Mezcal is a sacred beverage in Mexico. It is considered to be more pure than tequila. It is usually made in small batches, and naturally fermented without the use of chemicals. With a slightly smoky taste, it is ideal for sipping. You can sip many varieties of mezcal at Tinieblo, a small mezcal bar opened in 2011 on Correo, just east of the Jardin. If you are staying at one of our homes, we can arrange a private mescal tasting at Tinieblo for your group.
hire a private chef
Since you are staying in such a wonderful home, why not hire a private chef to prepare a wonderful dinner for your group in the comfort of your "home." At your request, we can arrange for one of our staff members to prepare an authentic, traditional Mexican meal for you. Or you can hire a professional chef. We recommend Chef Kirsten West for a special dinner at home. Kirsten is an international authority of haute Mexican cuisine with more than 25 years of experience. Among her mentors are the famed Diana Kennedy and also Rick Bayless, with whom she collaborated for 8 years. (Kirsten's fascinating history also includes 4 years as Mick Jagger's private chef.) To make arrangements with Kirsten, email her at email@example.com.