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Culinary Cancun

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Fresh ceviche de camarones and margaritas at Isla Contoy at the Coral Beach Resort & Spa – light & delicious!

I have to admit that I was not expecting much of the food scene in Cancun. My only other trip to Mexico was last year when I’d won a stay in Cabo San Lucas at a resort that – while not an all-inclusive – was one of those “party party” hotels right on the playa.

On that trip, the mediocre food and ridiculously inflated prices caused us to search elsewhere when we were craving something a bit more traditional. With a little research, asking around and luck, we were rewarded with a great little spot service fresh ceviche and ice cold cerveza that we stumbled upon, a mere ten minute walk from the sprawling resorts on the beach.

So when I heard that the 2014 TBEX North America conference was being held in Cancun, I mentally braced myself for the same disappointment with the resort food. Kim and I elected to take advantage of the discounted rate to stay at the official conference hotel, the Moon Palace Resort & Spa, where we’d be close by the TBEX sessions. It would be my first time staying at an all-inclusive and I wasn’t sold on the idea that this was a good thing. Watery margaritas and tepid buffets came to mind instantly, but I was hopeful that we’d make the best of things.

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Yes, there were buffets but they were tasty, like this one which was both pool- and ocean-side.

How wrong I was!

Not only did we get a chance to enjoy many of the dining options offered by the resort, but we made use of the in room mini-bar and even tried out the 24 hour room service. Having the conference sessions right on the (huge) resort grounds meant that we even had the choice of occasionally skipping out on the TBEX-provided lunches in order to try more of the Moon Palace dining options.

>> Details here: Where to Stay in Cancun: Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort

Besides the options we had at Moon Palace, I was lucky enough to score a spot in the post-TBEX Culinary FAM trip, where I had the chance to dine at some of the best restaurants on the Riviera Maya. I was impressed by the blending of modern/contemporary techniques with traditional recipes and ingredients.

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Playing with our food (and cocktails!) at Benazuza

A great reason to travel to Cancun in 2015…

The Cancun Riviera Maya Food & Wine Festival takes place March 12-15, 2015.

I was truly impressed by the international lineup of chefs that will be in town for this festival, which was not even on my radar prior to my visit to Cancun. Highlights include:

  • Conferences and book signings by top Spanish Chefs Juan Mari Arzak of Arzak & Joan Roca of El Celler De Can Roca – whose restaurants are featured at #8 and #2, respectively, on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
  • Dinners like Divas del Cocina Mexicana – which will feature 10 of Mexico’s top female chefs in a five-course feast, paired with Mexican wines.
  • Other individual events including cooking classes, celebrity dinners, a gourmet tasting village, boat cruises and more.
  • Packages start at $400 for the weekend, when purchased in advance. They are available here.

Keep an eye on their social media channels for more info:
Facebook | Twitter (@CRMWineFoodFest) | Pinterest | YouTube

>> For up to the minute things to do, see and eat in Cancun:

>> For full photo galleries from my time in Cancun, please click here.

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