A gala celebrating Mexican cuisine, held Thursday night at the Fiesta Americana Hotel in Cancún, kicked off the first Cancún-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival. While many of the chefs and sommeliers who attended the event were from around the world, each dish offered was cooked in honor and in celebration of Mexican cuisine. Attendees tasted ceviche, empanadas, and braised pork while sampling wine from all regions of the globe, but most were clamoring to taste the unique and rarely displayed wines from Mexico.
Sommelier Juan Carlos Flores, the executive sommelier for Pueblo Bonito Hotels Resorts & Spas in Cabo San Lucas, named "Mexico’s Best Sommelier of 2004," lead presentations for CRWFF attendees on various chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon blends from Casa Madero (the Western Hemisphere's oldest winery, in Parras, in the state of Coahuila) and Monte Xanic (from Mexico's premier wine country, the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California).
"When talking about better cuisine and wines from Mexico, I think all the chefs here are trying to show richness of the good food that you have in the South of Mexico," Flores explained.
"Mexican food is considered by the professional chefs in the world one of the best cuisines, so in terms of going in hand with the food, of course the wine is going to be better." Flores, who was passionate about educating both people from Mexico and from around the world about Mexico's wines, told us, "Every year in Mexico the consumption of Mexican wines grows. So Mexican people are drinking more wine [that is] produced here and they are prouder of their products."
So what does he think about the future of Cancún, when it comes to drawing a crowd focused on culinary expertise? "We are so proud of all the things that are happening here," said Flores. "We’ve been talking to the chefs and everyone involved in the festival, and we all truly believe the culinary future of Cancún is going to be big."