Explore Mexican cuisine and life at our Mexican Cooking School.ENQUIRE
Mexican Home Cooking is uniquely the only school in Mexico dedicated to the traditional cuisine of the city of Puebla the culinary capital of Mexico and taught by a native of the city. This is your opportunity to discover dishes far beyond what is normally thought of as Mexican Food. Here you’ll find a mixture of indigenous, French and Spanish kitchens with a strong “Middle Eastern” influence due to the Moorish rule of Spain for 500 years. The wonderful part is that you don’t have to be an advanced cook to learn this type of cooking. Classes are based on the ability of each person and make the techniques quite simple to learn. Your Puebla culinary vacation is located in Tlaxcala, a well-hidden gem that is off the usual tourist routes and takes you back to Mexico as it was years ago; magnificent colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, wrought-iron bandstand sidewalk cafés for a cappuccino, people watching and of course shopping. Your visit also includes accommodations and all meals; an opportunity to meet the cuisine and culture in its natural environment of a home stay. It will be my pleasure to welcome you to: The Culinary Capital of Mexico and Mexican Home Cooking Experience Estela Salas Silva
Estela will be your Chef and teacher
The tradition of the recipes that she teaches comes from at least 5 generations in the city of Puebla. (the location of the famous battle of “Cinco De Mayo” now celebrated in the U.S.) Two of her great-grandmothers came there with Maximilian and his troops during the French invasion, married local men and stayed in Mexico.
That invasion changed the cuisine in Puebla; the French influence effecting the traditional recipes in the area.
The lovely colonial city of Tlaxcala was founded in 1524 by the Spaniards and Franciscan monks. Its heart is the Zocalo or main plaza, considered one of the prettiest in Mexico. Fountains play beneath old trees and a 19th century wrought-iron bandstand is surrounded by gardens reminiscent of Renaissance Europe and bordered on two sides by 16th century colonnades shading shops, sidewalk cafes and strolling musicians.
The gastronomy of Puebla is famed throughout the world and it offers a variety of delights. Its unique combination of indigenous, Spanish and Arab influences has resulted in one of Mexico's most compelling cuisines.
Twenty miles from Tlaxcala are the famous pre-hispanic archeological sites of Xochitecatl and Cacaxtla one of Mexico’s most exciting discoveries.
In 1974, tomb robbers came upon a series of brilliantly colored murals decorating the walls of this fortified ceremonial and palace complex.
Wonderfully preserved for over a millennia, these images display unmistakable Maya traits, and depict life-size scenes of battle and sacrifice, all still infused with dazzling hues of indigo, ochre, red and black.
Recently, the lower level chamber has been cleared, and its murals appear to be associated with the planet Venus. The room itself is the real “star chamber,” the place where sacrifices were performed on behalf of Venus.
Tecoaque is a Mesoamerican archaeological site, located in western Tlaxcala state, central Mexico, close to Calpulalpan.
The site was inhabited by the Acolhua, one of the three ethnic groups making up the Aztec Empire.
You'll be learing from Estela Salas Silva
The women in Estela’s family for generations prior to her time worked as cooks for the well-to-do residents of Puebla. Estela began a classical culinary apprenticeship at the age of seven in the traditions of Mexico that still existed at that time under the tutelage of her great-grandmother, grandmother and the older women of her family.
She will be your chef.
Estela´s husband Jon has been in the catering business and now is Estela´s Sous Chef. He is also available as concierge;To welcome you and act as the point of reference for guests who need assistance and provide them with personalized solutions by suggesting activities and facilities at Casa Carmelita.
Once your driver has met you, and you have settled in, you are on vacation and here to relax and unwind. From Mexico City your drive will be via a modern 4-lane expressway over pine covered mountains. Be sure to look out to the right as you go over the mountains for a view of the two local volcanoes. Watch for a close-up view of snow-covered Popocatepetl Volcano, and occasional visible smoke. Your drive will take about 1½ hours depending on traffic. Upon arrival at the Casa, your driver will assist you with your luggage to your accommodations.
Upon arrival at Casa Carmelita, you will enjoy a delicious, festive welcome. Relish light appetizers, drinks, and the chance to meet fellow vacationers and your hosts. Choose from soft drinks, beer, wine, or the classic Mexican drink: Margaritas. After you are settled into your room, you will enjoy a classic Pueblan dinner prepared by Doña Estela, which will set the tone for the type of cuisine you'll learn to create in your cooking classes during the week
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Each morning enjoy a typical breakfast of Puebla Cuisine. Weather permitting, breakfast is served on the Hacienda’s outside patio, amid the lush greenery for which this part of the country is known. The menu today will be fresh juice, llevos mexicanos (eggs Mexican style), tortillas, and coffee or tea.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Your lunch today will include Crema de Flor de Calabacitas (Cream of Squash Blossom Soup), traditional Poblano soup that is a very delicate milk-based squash blossom soup with roasted poblano chile and requeson cheese (goat cheese, ricotta, or feta), finished with epazote or dill; Pipian Verde con bistec en Relleno (this dish is sometimes called a Mole Verde, stuffed beef rolls in Pipian sauce). It is a traditional Pueblan interpretation of French stuffed meat rolls with a nod to Emperor Maximilian who brought the French Court to Mexico City, and a nod to the Near East with sauce featuring sesame seeds, cumin, and cloves, and includes the indigenous pumpkin seeds. This dish is served with traditional Mexican red rice.
Hands-On Cooking Class
The real gourmet cooking secrets and traditions of Puebla cuisine remained in households for special occasions; it is almost never found in restaurants. During your culinary vacation, Estela will be teaching you traditional classic recipes from the city of Puebla, as well as dishes that are unique to her family. For each day's class, guests will work alongside Estela, preparing dishes for lunch and dinner. Classes are small, so that the close interaction with Chef Estela offers the full learning experience so vital an ingredient in any cooking class.
FREE TIME TO EXPLORE
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
You may wish to visit Puebla, and see archeological and historical sites such as Cacaxtla, Xochitecatl or Cholula. Other suggestions are a visit to the hot springs of Chignahuapan, or even hiking the volcanos (there are three volcanos in the area surrounding Casa Carmelita). The Hacienda works closely with a taxi company to arrange trips to town or optional excursions. These are all unguided options, and the only cost is associated with the taxi. Prices range from 500 pesos to 700 pesos ($26 - $37)
TRADITIONAL DINNER FEATURING PUEBLAN CUISINE
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Each day, weather permitting, dinner is served on the outside patio of the Hacienda. You will have your choice of beer, wine, or a margarita with your meal. The menu tonight will include Amendrado (Almond Pork, duck, or chicken) usually with duck depending on availability, a luxurious sauce with Serrano chiles, tomatoes, almonds, cloves, cinnamon, and sesame seeds, adding a touch of the Middle East. This dish will be served with white rice and dill. For dessert, you will be served Buñuelos, a traditional thin fritter-like dessert dredged in vanilla sugar.
Lifetime Access to Culinary Hotline
Airport Pickup and Return
All Meals Except 1
Wine or Margarita at Lunch and Dinner
Daily Maid and Turndown Service
WiFi in Common Room
Detached Cottage with King Bed or Twin Beds. Private patio, fireplace, ensuit bath
Casa Carmelita is our compound which comprises our home as well as various out buildings including kitchen, cottage, suites, dining room and gardens
Arrival Information: Be sure to bring a notebook and pen or pencil for classes. It is a good idea to bring a camera for close-ups of completed dishes. Bring your binoculars if you are a bird watcher. We are at 7,000 feet, you may feel tired the first day or two. An afternoon siesta” is a very pleasant response to this. Because of the altitude the sun is much stronger here. You should bring sunscreen with you.
Incredible Culinary Vacation!
I can't say enough about our week at Mexican Home Cooking School. It's not so much a "school" as learning to cook in the home with your family. Estela cares so much about the recipes and the food and is eager for you to learn. Jon adds to the experience with detailed explanations -- the dynamic between the two of them adds to the fun. They are sharing their home with you and you feel that way as their guests.
Any arrangement you want from a driver to a massage therapist are taken care of with a phone call.
The casitas were we stayed are cozy and comfortable. Yazmin, the housekeeper takes care of your every need, and makes you feel so special.
I can't wait to cook all the recipes we learned, and I would love to go back again.
Ceora wrote a review Sep 2020
Exactly what I wanted! I was looking for a hands-on cooking experience and cultural immersion. It was wonderful. The hosts were welcoming, the accommodations lovely (no single supplement) and the cooking and dining were spectacular. We cooked every day. Jon drew on his deep knowledge of history to explain which conquerors had introduced which ingredients to the cuisine as he stepped us through preparation. Dona Estela was clearly at home in her kitchen and happy to share her secrets.
The nearby towns of Tlaxcala, Puebla and Cholula offered many attractions and a rich history. A visit to an open-air market was a particularly enjoyable experience. Read more Date of stay: February 2020
Delicious food and Great Hosts
Our trip to Tlaxcala Home cooking school was fantastic, the food was amazing. Jon and Estela are great hosts and Jazmin took care of all our needs. The property was very nice and our room beautiful. My husband and I enjoyed learning to prepare the Pueblan dishes that Estela so graciously shared with us. We also loved eating all the finished dishes!
There is ample free time to go into town or to nearby Archeological sites, Jon made all of our arraignments and we got to see quite a lot of the surrounding area with very few tourist!
There was absolutely never a time when we did not feel safe in any of the areas we were in. People were friendly and helpful with our limited Spanish. In addition there were no health issues to worry about.
I would HIGHLY recommend this trip to anyone wanting to learn some new recipes that are not your typical "American Style" Mexican food. Read less Date of stay: February 2020
My second visit to Casa Carmelita
This was my second visit to cook with Jon y Estela. Cooking with Jon y Estela feels like cooking with dear members of my family. Estela has deep knowledge of Pueblan cuisine and well conveys her knowledge to her guests.
As a solo female traveler, I felt safe in Puebla, Tlaxcala, and during my week in Mexico City, including lots of walking around, taking the subway, and Uber. If you are comfortable traveling in large US cities then the same general precautions apply in Mexico. People are kind and wonderful, I look forward to returning soon. Date of stay: January 2020
The casita is a detached stone cottage with either two singles or one king-size bed, ensuit bath, fireplace and privat garden.
Phone Tips: Your life will be a lot easier while in Mexico if you can arrange to use your normal cell phone here. Check with your provider and you probably can.. You might also ask your provider if you can call us while in Mexico at our San Francisco number which rings here (415-462-0806) and be billed for a local call from your cell phone to San Francisco – not international. We can also be reached by e-mail at:
Cuisine: During your stay you will be preparing and eating the “traditional” cuisine of the city of Puebla. This includes, various meats, poultry and vegetables (sometimes including, beef, pork, rabbit, duck, shrimp and fish). If you cannot eat or would rather not eat any of these or other foods for any reason please let us know as soon as possible and be very explicit.
We can make some adjustments to this when requested if possible. However we are not able to change recipes to the level that we are presenting something other than “Traditional Pueblan Cuisine” which would not be fair to the cuisine or our students.
Please be sure to let us know if you have any dietary restrictions, allergies to specific foods or other things, and/or any medical problems that we should be aware of. This is very important to allow us advance notice. We want to provide you with the best culinary experience while here
There will be one pickup from the Mexico City Airport to Tlaxcala It will depart in the afternoon depending on flight schedules. Normaly our driver will meet you between 4:30 and 5:00PM Before your arrival we will notify you of exact time .
If you arrive earlier than the scheduled pickup time, you will find the usual shops, book stores, restaurants, and internet availability in the airport. You may wish to purchase pesos, or have something to eat or drink before the pickup
If for any reason you require a private pickup at the time of your arrival, we are able to arrange that for you with sufficient prior notice. Please notify Jon Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org, well in advance of your tour date.
Weather: Because of our altitude (7,000 ft.) we stay about the same year round. Summer (June – Oct) – night & mornings low 60’s days high 70’s winter ( Jan – April)- nights & mornings high 50’s days 70’s to high 70’s. Our rainy season is during the summer –– usually rains in the afternoon but on rare occasions could be during the day. Still a fine time to come, just bring light rain protection for those afternoon showers or sit in a café under the arches on the zocalo in Tlaxcala until it stops. During the winter we have fireplaces in all the bedrooms to take off the night and morning chill until it warms up around 9:00 A.M. You can check our local weather at: http://www.accuweather.com/en/mx/acuitlapilco/236178/daily-weather-forecast/236178