After you meet your guide and small group at a central location, drive by air-conditioned minivan to one of Merida’s markets less frequented by tourists. As you walk around the bustling outdoor market, your guide will explain about the origins and uses of some of the fruits and vegetables – many produced in the Yucatan region.
With help from your bilingual guide, converse with local vendors as you choose seasonal produce and other ingredients in preparation for your cooking class. Take in the aromas and colors of the beautiful chilies and unfamiliar tropical fruits, and learn about such delights as achiote, chile habanero and pepita de calabaza (pumpkin seed).
Next, drive to the personal home of your local host to cook and sample some Yucatecan specialties, such as salbutes (Mayan tacos), panuchos (black bean-filled tostadas), papadzules (enchiladas topped with pumpkin seed sauce) and codzitos (stuffed and fried tortillas). Under the guidance of your host, you'll have help every step of the way and learn to prepare delicious beverages like horchata (sweetened rice drink) or hibiscus flower tea.
As you prepare your meal, you’ll be introduced to a few Spanish and Mayan words, and learn more about the cuisine of the Yucatan, which includes some of the most varied dishes of Mexico. Your host and guide will describe local culinary traditions, the influence of other cultures on the cuisine, and explain some of the differences between the Yucatecos and people from other parts of Mexico.
Finally, taste the delicious plates you prepared and enjoy a light lunch as you chat more with your small group and host. Afterward, your guide will help you hire a taxi for the return to central Merida (an approximate USD $4 ride).