The Other Mexico
Meson Sacristia De Capuchinas: "Taste of Old Mexico"We totally enjoyed our six night LuxuryLink vacation and cooking class package at Meson Sacristia de Capuchinas.
in Puebla, Mexico http://mexicoboutiquehotels.com/capuchinas/ Beware, this is not a package for those seeking indulgent luxury at a 5 Star beach side resort! There are no beaches...no oceans.no tall glass and steel tourist infested chain hotelsjust a lovely old Spanish Colonial Mexican city situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by volcanic mountains and mostly
clear blue skies.
The luxury in this holiday package comes from the opportunities to experience the art, the history, the local people and the real tastes of Colonial Mexico!
The owners of Meson Sacristies de Capuchins have taken meticulous care in restoring this 350 year old private residence (now offering six suites), tastefully furnished and appointed with antiques (many of which are discretely marked available for purchase).
Note: There is no central A/C system.only small mobile (and not terribly effective) air conditioning unitsso choose your travel seasons wisely by checking ahead for the general weather at the time you wish to travel summer can be quite warm humid
and will likely overtax the capabilities of the small A/C units!
We were comfortable with temperatures during our entire stay.
One other point, request (strongly if necessary) one of the suites on the second floor and to the rear.if you desire quietness..the city wakes up early and the front suites face a heavily trafficked street.
When the massive antique exterior doors to the street are closed, you are warmly and genuinely welcomed into a pampered world of indulgences. The staff takes great effort to anticipate and accommodate your needs and desires, without being overly intrusive.
In other words, if you want something and you don't see it, do not hesitate to request it (if you want an English language newspaper to peruse with your breakfast..tell them and they will track down one of the ten or so English editions delivered daily to a local news stand.
For five mornings, the Executive Chef, Alonso, artfully instructed us in multi course cooking classes (we took great care in our food preparation, since the dishes we prepared were served to as lunch each day). As we are vegetarians, Chef Alonso, restructured his normal menus and included only dishes we could cook and eat! He will certainly want to share at least one of his recipes for a traditional and spicy mole.
Mariana, another staff member, was always on hand to handle all of the English translation, just to ensure we understood the written instructions and cooked everything correctly.
Alonso actually is conversant in English, but he takes great care to make certain his students understand each step in the food preparation. Victor was our waiter and trusty
bar man and frequently demonstrated his creativity and magic touches with tequila.
One morning, Chef Alonso and Mariana escorted us to the central market to experience shopping for fresh produce and chiles.
We were introduced to his favorite organic farmers and were assisted in selecting only the freshest of ingredients for our cooking classes. He emphasized the importance of starting with fresh ingredients; if the final dish was to achieve perfection!
Colonial history and art treasures. The historic district of the city is a treasure of lovely restored buildings and offers numerous opportunities for explorative daily walks. One afternoon we were treated to a walking tour of the central historic district, conducted by Carlos Riveros [an excellent English speaking guide available through the hotel or sinply by visiting his web site http://www.riveros.com.mx/Portal/Default.aspx].
We found the time with Carlos to be extremely informative and worth the few extra pesos to modify the standard tours to our liking. Our Luxury Link package included admission to the Mueso Amparo..a recently renovated historic building which houses
an impressive private pre-Columbian exhibition.
There are many private art museums in the city and private showing can be arranged by the front desk staff upon request.
If you have time and you enjoy handmade pottery, try and schedule a visit to at least one of the Talavera Artist Centers http://www.inside-mexico.com/art1.htm most of which are located outside the main city.
It is a interesting and informative opportunity to meet the actual artists and observe their techniques and styles.
The traditional pottery is beautiful, unique to the region and makes an excellent and useful remembrance to bring back home.
Evenings are relaxing and pleasant and can be spent sitting outside at various cafes surrounding the main square or simply exploring the art studios and interesting located in the back streets safety never seemed to be a concern during our visit.
If you are fortunate to visit Puebla, make the effort to stay several nights at Meson Sacristia de Capuchinas and their sister property, Sacristia de la Compania. The food is authentic and service is delightful.
We hated to leave our new "amigos" but look forward to an extended return visit in the near future.
P.S..dont be frightened of an uninvited attack of the turistas....the hygiene and food preparation procedures are likely more sanitary then in many restaurants back in the US.