Villa Bonita – A True Culinary Destination

January 21 – January 28, 2024

La Villa Bonita, in Tepoztlan, Mexico is a true culinary destination, complete with pool carved out of volcanic rock, organic citrus orchard and vegetable gardens, as well as specially designed open air kitchen with a stunning view of the Tepoztlan valley. The foothills of the Tepozteco mountains in Tepoztlan, the original “Pueblo Magico” in Mexico are sensationally beautiful. Because of its history, culture, and preservation of its traditions, Tepoztlan was named the first Pueblo Magico in Mexico. It is also the birthplace of the plumed serpent god, Quetzalcoyotl. Because of its surrounding rock formations and beauty, it is considered the “Sedona” of Mexico.
Each day is full of delicious moments and meals! Chef Ana’s famous Margarita’s made with her own Calamondine Orange liquor and Refino (the local Tequila) can range from watermelon, jalapeno or cucumber. Variety is the spice of life on this informative and educational trip that will help you fall in love with all the rich flavors and cultures of the area.

Our Daily Itinerary is full of delicious moments and meals!

Sunday, January 21st
Guests arrive at MEX (Benito Juarez Mexico City International) with airport pickup. The trip takes 1.5 hours from Mexico City to La Villa Bonita and guests will be greeted upon arrival with a delicious homemade cocktail such as Chef Ana’s famous Margarita made with her own Calamondine Orange liquor and Refino (the local Tequila).

Later that afternoon/evening guests will enjoy Chef Ana’s 4 course gourmet dinner made from primarily local ingredients grown in the garden or from local providers. Dinner is served within our ample open-air kitchen with view of the valley below or above our kitchen in the elevated dining area with 360 degree view of the mountains. Chef Ana will explain her dishes to the guests and also discuss how the week will unfold.

Monday, January 22nd
The day begins with Chef Ana’s famous big breakfast with fresh fruit, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies along with a new traditional Mexican main dish each morning. Guest will go to the local Tepoztlan market to select the best ingredients from Chef Ana’s local providers and bring these ingredients back for the cooking session in the open-air kitchen.

An example of dishes that may be created that day are Mole Colorado with Chicken, Pork in Pipian sauce (Mole Verde), Refried Beans, Classic Red Rice with Vegetables, and Vanilla Flan. Mole technique is an important part of Mexican cooking and guests will learn from a pro. Cooking is from 11 to 2:30 in the afternoon with lunch of dishes prepared in the open air kitchen or the elevated terrace with wine and beer service as well as coffee or tea with dessert. An agua fresca made with fruit or horchata, Jamaica, or tamarindo accompanies each lunch. Learn to make your own tortillas and place them on the comal with native women such as Mari your “ama de llaves” or mayordomo during your stay at La Villa Bonita

Tuesday, January 23rd
The day begins as always with a fabulous breakfast and a trip to the market to select ingredients and to meet the local butcher and cheese vendor. Guest return to LVB to cook up a storm. An example of dishes on this day may be fillings or “guisados” for classic Morelos quesadillas such as squash blossoms, huitlacoche, fresh pork rinds in a green tomatillos salsa, potatoes and chile poblano strips. Learn how to use white, blue, or red masa produced from ancient corn varieties grown locally. Guests enjoy lunch of dishes prepared with drink service in the open air kitchen or the elevated terrace. After late lunch, guests will have an opportunity to take a walk into the downtown, relax around the pool with a good book or take a peaceful nap! You are on vacation, it is up to you!

Wednesday, January 24th
Breakfast starts the day before our tour to the Garden City of Cuernavaca with our guide and former history professor, Arturo Marquez. We will visit two of the most famous and best museums accompanied by his expertise and the Jardin Borda. We will visit the Cathedrals as well as the Palace of Cortes, built in 1526. From there we will travel to one of the oldest and most recognized garden Restaurants in the city. White peacocks roam the grounds as we sip on a chilled mescal mule.  Tableside guacamole is always a treat as is mole dishes and service beyond mention. One more margarita as we return home will give you sweet dreams.

Thursday, January 25th
After a hearty breakfast, guests will dedicate the day to the production and use of masa with a trip to the Masa Mill to produce our own masa from corn grown locally. The original “to go” packet in pre-columbian times was the Tamale in corn or banana leaf husks. This easy to carry and nutritious meal could be put in a bag or satchel and carried for sustenance on long journeys to neighboring villages. Learn how to make this Mexican classic as families have done for generations with squash and corn, shrimp, pork tamales in red sauce as well as delicious dessert tamales such as pineapple and pecan, or strawberry. Mmmmmm! Delicious! You will never look at the tamale in the same way again!

Tonight guests will have the pleasure of tasting a variety of pulques, mezcales, and tequilas from across Mexico along with the local version of tequila called “Refino.” Join a lively discussion of their origins, production, and distinctions of the different liquors in the open air kitchen.

Friday, January 26th
We start with a fabulous breakfast as usual and begin our preparations to enjoy the grandeur of the poblano chile. Options include use of the dried as well as the fresh chile stuffed with picadillo, cheese and corn with white sauce, or the famous Chiles en Nogada — the national dish of Mexico representing the colors of the Mexican flag. Guests will learn the proper technique for blistering and preparing fresh poblanos as well as the dried version. Depending on the option chosen, side dishes may include claypot beans, classic white rice, and the sinfully delicious Tres Leches Cake.

Saturday, January 27th
After your delicious breakfast, you have a day to enjoy on your own. Take a hike, enjoy the weekend artisan market, go out for lunch or just relax. Today is a day to do whatever your heart desires . . .

In the evening enjoy your farewell dinner with Chef Ana as she prepares a 4 course chef’s table dinner. Feel free to come up to the kitchen as Chef Ana prepares the gourmet meal and enjoy a glass of wine as you reminisce about the week you had at La Villa Bonita.

Sunday, January 28th
After breakfast, we will organize our return to the Mexico City airport and count the days until we see each other again for a new culinary adventure.

Sicily, Italy - A Taste of the Island
Recipe of the Month: Fresh Lemon Ice Cream with Crystallized Lemon Peel