The Magic of Mexico…
on the Mayan Riviera…
An invitation we couldn’t possibly turn down was a quick four-day get-a-way to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, and its beautiful beachfront city Playa del Carmen situated on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Playa, as the locals call it, with its beautiful beaches is a casual, yet sophisticated city with a charming and exhilarating downtown offering up suburb Mexican fare and fine cuisine alike. Although a little less rambunctious than its neighbor to the north the city of Cancun, here too there is a bustling nightlife scene as well as loads of great shopping a la NYC 5th Avenue. The center of town actually is on 5th Avenue, “Avenida 5” where all of the above and more can be enjoyed.
If one is in search of a premium resort accommodation the Riviera Maya easily obliges on that front too! For our last min-ute quick trip we booked at the El Dorado Seaside Suites, by Karisma, about 25 minutes south of the centre of Playa del Carmen. This is an all inclusive adults-only spa resort, with one of the largest spas in Riviera Maya, where we settled in for some of the best R &R we have had in quite some time!
As we arrived at our destination, the El Dorado Seaside, we were overtaken with the anticipation of a few days of enjoying the sea, the sun, some delicious fresh food, delectable cocktails and some fun. The resort is beautiful, covered with lush tropical gardens and towering forests of palm trees and a private beach that spans over a mile. There were pockets of the beach cordoned off due to nesting turtles, a protected species. Our room was tastefully decorated, in the new section of the resort, on the third floor overlooking one of five pools, equipped with a swim-up bar where we come to meet a diverse group of fun loving fellow vacationers.
Where to dine? Three nights and up to seven restaurants from which to choose our favourite turns out to be the Klay Talay Oriental Cuisine, which we enjoyed on our final evening. We were seated in a private enclave where we have a full view of the action, while enjoying the ambiance and comfort of our private dining quarters. The restaurant is very hip and sleek while still warm and inviting.
We enjoyed a splendidly plated, generous “boat” of sashimi, sushi and assorted condiments brought by our server who went on to describe the various special-ties we were about to enjoy. Our glasses of perfectly chilled Chilean Sauvignon Blanc arrived promptly, and were carefully attend-ed to, with a continuous flow. We are feeling very special to say the least. The mains are presented equally as artistic and are sub-lime in flavor. Truly a delightful experience from the pre-dinner tequila cocktail at the thatched roof bar adjacent to the restaurant, to the superb dishes and service, we give Klay Talay a resounding two thumbs up!
When it comes to local spirit, and local spirits there is no shortage here! At one of our favorite bars, we’ve come to know our bartender Jesus quite well and quite quickly where he routinely shakes things up show-casing his talent at mixology.
We enjoyed a plethora of tasty cocktails with the starring act being of course the signature drink of Mexico: Tequila! Cuervo tequila is being poured, apparently the first producer of tequila in the world. We then chatted with a “tequila aficionado” who shared this tale of both Jose Cuervo and the story of tequila in general.
“Tequila my friend, can only be called tequila if it comes from one of five states in Mexico, the most important being in the west central region of Jalisco. And do not be fooled, it must also be made exclusively with the Blue Agave or Agave Azul plant. No agave grown outside this region, including other countries can be used for any product labeled as ‘tequila’. He goes on to share that the blue agave plant, takes six to twelve years to mature, and that each plant is harvested only once. The harvesting of the blue agave is arduous work, which is done by the caretakers called “jimadores” who first must chop off the leaves, thick spiny leaves that can grow to eight feet tall, followed by the core the source for the sap that can weigh up to 200 pounds!
Our storyteller then moved on to share about the popularity today of tequila, and the positioning it enjoys on top shelves in prestigious bars and restaurants around the world, not unlike Cognac and Scotch. Jose Cuervo is one such tequila, which we come to be quite well acquainted with and are happy here to share. Jose Antonio Cuervo was the first producer of tequila in the world having been awarded the rights to cultivate a parcel of land from the King of Spain in 1758. Today Cuervo owns the largest holdings of agave in the world.
The Cuervo family has been making tequila for over 250 years now with recipes handed down generation through generation. They pride themselves on using the best agaves, and finest methods producing some of the world’s finest tequila, and are in fact the world’s best-selling tequila.
We enjoy the Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila first, neat, and then both on the rocks and in this delectable cocktail! It is clear in colour, has an aroma of citrus and touch of mineral. Dry and with a lime flavour, with a smooth warm finish.
On another afternoon we enjoy a wine tasting, featured among other vinos, a couple that hail from Mexico! Yes, from the region of Baja California, where the weather is most suitable for wine grape grow-ing including the noble varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah. L.A. Cetto is one we choose to enjoy with a fine selection of cheeses, fresh and dried fruits.
But we did more than indulge in fine tequila, the occasional glass of wine and delicious dishes all day long, we partook in classes of yoga, in karaoke singing and rounds of Black Jack, and we took to the water in a turbine powered antique Scarab, and later a kayak to adjust our adrenaline rush to normal again.
The resort was top notch, with so much to embrace, the sea, the sun, the wonderful food and drink and the people. And Playa still beckons, the shops and the cafes and bars, it’s not goodbye, simply so long for now, we will be sure to return.
ABOUT THE WINE LADIES:
Charismatic and entertaining, The Wine Ladies take life ‘one sip at a time’, as they share the splendor of wine and food and the ideal ‘Lifestyle’ it entails. As hosts of their own TV show “One Sip At A Time… Adventures Around the Globe, and of their weekly radio show about wine, food and lifestyle, The Wine Ladies share their passion and live life to the fullest and without hesitation. These ‘Lifestyle’ passions are also shared through national newspaper columns and a very active social media platform, engaging their many followers and fans through their blogging, videos, Facebook, TWITTER, You Tube and more. www.thewineladies.com