Day-by-Day Breakdown of What to Expect at Wine & Food Festival Cancun-Riviera Maya

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Feast on the Mexican Southeast During Wine & Food Festival Cancun-Riviera Maya

If you’re like us, you probably spend a good deal of your vacation-planning days considering all the great meals you’ll have once you finally reach your destination. Well, if you find yourself in Cancun in the middle of March, you’re in for a treat: the Wine & Food Festival Cancun – Riviera Maya is celebrating its 7th year, and doing so in typical grand fashion. Here’s what you can expect during the five days of gourmet pleasures in paradise, starting March 15 and running through March 19:

DAY 1: Rubbing Elbows with the Kitcherati

Okay, we made up that last word, but what other term would you use to group together the merry band of award-winning chefs, master sommeliers, culinary experts, food critics and assorted gourmands attending the welcome cocktail that kicks off the main event? So don your smartest casual attire, make sure your smartphone has plenty of free space for the obligatory selfies and prepare to tease your palate with some of the food & drink samples that will set the tone for the rest of the fest.

DAY 2: Taste the Future of Mexican Cuisine… Now

Unless you’re a member of the industry you won’t be able to attend the invitation-only conference on the future of cuisine, but the real essence of the event will be captured by the Best of Mexico Dinner. Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil, named Mexico’s best chef in 2016, heads a group of his close friends who are also considered main players in the country’s culinary renaissance: Erik Vilar (Coquette), Diego Hernández (Corazón de Tierra), Matteo Salas (Áperi), Edgar Núñez (Sud 777) and Luis Robledo Richards (Tout Chocolat). Together they will bring their considerable talents to the five-course meal showcasing their progressive approach to traditional Mexican flavors. This might be the festival’s hottest ticket, so act fast.

DAY 3: Boats and Tacos

Need we say more? Take a daytime cruise on an exclusive catamaran through the Caribbean’s cerulean waters, sipping on champagne and getting the whole VIP treatment. Upon arrival to in Isla Mujeres you’ll enjoy a six-course lunch by celebrated chef Daniele Müller (Le Métissage), paired with top wines meticulously selected by a group of experts. It’s just over a mile from Isla Mujeres Palace, in case you are staying at the couples-only Palace Resorts property. Then make your way back to Cancun for a unique experience in the Gourmet Taco Competition: 16 star chefs from all over Mexico will turn on the heat in a no-holds barred matchup where you and 400 other guests will vote for the best overall taco. Live music, tequila and mezcal, the white sand beneath your feet and a spectacular feast await.

DAY 4: The Big Apple by Way of Quintana Roo

It’s traditional for the Wine & Food Festival to pay homage to a different culinary mecca each year, and this time it’s America’s turn. The Tribute Dinner To New York brings three of NY’s finest chefs for a highly anticipated experience: Markus Glocker (Bâtard), Bryce Shuman (Betony) and Emma Bengtsson (Aquavit) will bring their unique styles to the exquisite five-course dinner where they will be joined by three of Mexico’s best (Alejandro Villagrana, Fidel Baeza and José Mejía). The fusion of New York’s cosmopolitan style with the fresh local offerings promises to be a major highlight of the festival.

DAY 5: Of Birdies and Barbecue

 Kick off the last day of the festivities with the Golf Tournament with Star Chefs at the Puerto Cancún Golf Course, an exclusive outing where you’ll meet and greet several culinary celebrities, enjoy specially-made gourmet appetizers, sip some top-notch wines and spirits and tee off in a beautiful venue. The week’s action will then conclude with the Rock & Roast: Texas Meets Mexico event, a seaside celebration where chefs Aquiles Chávez (Sotero), Maycoll Calderón (Huset) and Dallas’ own John Tesar (Knife) will bring their considerable experience and creativity to the grills, for a grand finale like no other.

Hungry already? Yeah, same here. It’s remarkable to see how much has the Wine & Food Festival of Cancun & Riviera Maya has evolved over these few years, but one thing is certain: For fans of the reborn Mexican cuisine and international culinary connoisseurs alike, the time to indulge is now. Buen provecho!