Benchmark Cabo San Lucas Property Hosts 4th Annua Food and Wine Showcase
July proved to be a banner month for food and wine lovers in Los Cabos.
After a memorable starter from Enrique Olvera – the acclaimed chef of Pujol in Mexico City, currently ranked as the 20th best restaurant in the world, opened his first Los Cabos restaurant, Manta at The Cape Hotel, on the first day of the month – The Resort at Pedregal provided the main course, offering fine food, wine and spirits from an array of internationally acclaimed chefs and beverage experts at its annual summer culinary fête.
The 4th iteration of the The Art of Taste Food and Wine Festival took place July 15 – 19, 2015, at various venues around The Resort at Pedregal, an 84-room boutique luxury property situated in the exclusive hillside neighborhood of Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas.
Accessible only through the longest privately owned tunnel in Mexico, the intimate, scenically set 24-acre resort has been considered one of the world’s best since it opened in 2009. But this year’s festival was a particularly notable one, since it was the first major event held at the property since it reopened following renovations post Hurricane Odile, and the first since it changed its name and declared independence from the Capella brand.
Also for the first time this year, event tickets were available to the general public as well as to guests at the resort, with the latter paying upwards of $1,290 U.S. per night for accommodations and complete access to food and wine related festivities. And the 2015 festival had a more international feel than in previous years, as European winemakers and mixologists showcased their skills alongside similarly esteemed brethren from Mexico and the U.S.
Master mixologist Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York City, and tiki cocktail expert Danielle Dalla Pola of Nu Lounge in Bologna, Italy proved a popular bar pairing at nightly events like the opening Art of Pairing reception – where elegant and colorfully clad guests chatted amiably over cocktails as massive Pacific Ocean waves generated by an offshore storm exploded dramatically over the rocks below – and El Mercado, an upscale version of a traditional Mexican market, complete with food, wine, candy and cigar stalls, and music from wandering mariachis.
The lushly bearded Dalla Pola was an irrepressible force – from his 360 degree cocktail shaking spin moves to potent tropical quaffs served in hollowed out pineapples – while Vidal brought a cosmopolitan flair, and an encyclopedic knowledge of spirits, which he exhibited during a Saturday afternoon seminar on the history of American whiskey. Samples were provided, of course, both at the whiskey tasting, and at a tequila tasting featuring noted small batch distiller Casa Dragones, and attended by the country’s first female master tequilier, Bertha Gonzalez.
Fermented grape gurus from Champagne house Ruinart, and French wineries Chateau La Tour L’Eveque and Chateau Climens were on hand for the first time, pouring alongside North American colleagues. Jay Schuppert and Pete Pryzbylinski of Cuvaison and Duckhorn, respectively, shared regional knowledge and wine flights during their well-attended New Movements in Napa Valley tasting, as well as at nightly events. And Adobe Guadalupe, Hacienda La Lomita and Roganto were among several Mexican producers representing Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada.
The French Laundry was also well represented, if not directly. Tim Hollingsworth of Barrel and Ashes, was formerly Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry. And Devin McDavid, the newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef at Resort at Pedregal, also burnished his resume at the landmark Napa restaurant. Rory Herrman, of Barrel and Ashes and Sprout LA, and Brian Malarkey, of Searsucker and Herringbone, also joined Resort at Pedregal Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz for four days of dinners, tastings, receptions and cooking seminars.
The festival highlight, as usual, was the concluding dinner, in which each of the five courses was prepared by a different chef, and custom pairing options were chosen by the all-star cast of visiting winemakers.
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