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El Bajío: The Cooks and Vineyards in the Heart of Mexico Part 3

por Elsie Mendez Enriquez

By: Elsie Mendez @sabormexico

What better way to start a day full of culinary experiences of Mexican Cuisine than with a brunch that includes menudo, pozole, enchiladas queretanas, quesadillas, freshly made soups with handmade tortillas cooked on the comal, as well as others dishes such as eggs with pasilla, pork in red sauce, and coffee, chocolate, and sweet bread. This was what we enjoyed at Mesón de Santa Rosa on our 3rd day of touring the Bajío, on the culinary tour of Queretaro.

The owner, Mary del Prete, accompanied us while enjoying these delights and shared the story of this magnificent hotel located in the historic center of Queretaro. The hotel is in a building that was originally a house. It has undergone some modifications, but has been an inn for travelers who came from the capital of the Viceroyalty to the city of the Kingdom (a.k.a. Santa Fe de Guanajuato) since the seventeenth century. There were also those travelers who were headed to the New Galicia, whose current name is Guadalajara. And sometimes even those who passed through the provinces far from the north, that is, the Californias or the old Kingdom of Nuevo León, and the distant land of Texas.

Innumerable travelers have passed through Hotel Mesón de Santa Rosa, housing countless illustrious people from Mexico’s history. Doña Mary, as we affectionately call her, told us how her husband was from Italy but Mexican at heart. He built the property and after an important remodeling it became one of the most important sites of this city, not only as a hotel but as a historic monument because of how well preserved the building has been. So it is definitely a must-see when learning about the history of this city.

Recorrido por el bajio

Meson de Santa Rosa Queretaro


After a breakfast full of history and culture about Mexico, we went to the city of San Miguel de Allende with a small stop at Hacienda Jurica where the Concurso Sabor a Queretaro was held. There, we were able to get to know the participants of this project, whose purpose is to rescue, promote and support Queretaro cuisine, its recipes and, above all, make Queretaro’s endemic products known. This contest is open to professionals and non-professionals who wish to share their recipes and ideas, which has allowed families and indigenous communities to benefit from this project.

La Puertecita Boutique Hotel, that we’ve written about in previous articles, was our abode in this magnificent and friendly destination. La Puertecita was the first boutique hotel in Mexico and it made us feel completely at home, an important factor when you have been traveling for several days and need to feel at ease.

White and red wine, cookies made at the hotel, and snacks were offered while we were checking in and our guests enjoyed the soft sound of the fountains in a large room that gave us the feeling of being received by friends rather than a hotel.

Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, San Miguel de Allende

Well rested from the trip and ready to continue our adventure, we moved to the historic center of San Miguel de Allende where, with perfect weather, we toured the square and the parish of San Miguel Arcángel. It is an icon of this city, and I catch even those who already knew the history listening to our guide’s explanations of the foundation of the parish.

Mealtime came and everyone was excited to find that we had planned to go to Carcassonne, a restaurant of international cuisine with a well-stocked cava, where we could enjoy the a la carte menu and make a compas of the endless Mexican cuisine. It is essential during culinary trips to show the enormous gastronomic offering that exists in our country. Especially one that includes recipes and cuisines from other countries, as is the case with Carcassonne.

After lunch we had a walk through the craft market and of course there was time reserved for our guests to rest and enjoy their rooms in La Puertecita.

Hotel La Puertecita, San Miguel de Allende

Mexico is a country of opportunities and it is demonstrated when you know the story of Chef Felipe de Jesús Ramirez, the executive chef of the Hotel Casa de Sierra Nevada. Felipe, originally from the Yucatan, entered the world of gastronomy after he had to leave his studies and start working from a young age. Over time he found that this space would allow him to bring recipes of his family to the table. His grandmothers, mother and aunts shared their secrets so that Felipe can in turn share them with us and many others.

To begin with, he offered us huitlacoche margaritas, something that I had never tasted before and will want to enjoy again during next year’s season because they deserve a trip of there own just to come back and drink them.

Margarita de Huitlacoche, Hotel Casa de Sierra Nevada

This is how a four course meal was presented to us. To start an Amuse Bouche Cream of Pumpkin Flower, Saffron and ax callus. As a starter, a cactus wrapped in plantain, pickled quince, watercress and passion fruit coulis. The main dish was a smoked duck Magree on tamale in mole, roasted asparagus and salad with petals. Finally the chocolate fondant dessert, chocolate ice cream and rompope cream. Mexican wines were paired with the dishes.

The dinner was served in the main dining room with candles as decoration and a trio that surrounded the atmosphere with its music, a setting for this great banquet.

We were continuously surprised, and that is why we always make a stop on our trips to San Miguel to visit with this chef, who has earned the place he occupies in this extraordinary hotel. We knew that his meeting with our guests would leave them in awe and that’s exactly how it went.

Continue reading the fourth part here
Visit our photo album on facebook here

Our gratitude to Aeromexico for the support provided for the realization of this trip. To the Tourism Promotion Council of Mexico, Hotel Meson de Santa Rosa, Secretary of Tourism of the State of Guanajuato, Association for the rescue of traditions and its president Chef Ada Solana, Carcassonne Restaurant, Hotel La Puertecita, Hotel Casa de Sierra Nevada for their confidence in this project.

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