I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before — it’s not really what I imagined to be my scene — so I had no preconceived notions of the quality, or lack thereof, of the culinary offerings at one. When I visited IBEROSTAR Grand Paraíso*, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, last month, I was told that achieving a heightened reputation in gastronomy was the the brand’s mission. The Spanish hotel and resort company has released a cookbook that features recipes from their worldwide resorts — from Cuba to Mexico to Morocco — and have launched a new initiative of special events, training courses for guests.
I ate braised red snapper in pig’s trotter sauce at L’atelier gourmet restaurant, and shrimp agnoloti at the Italian Venezia. At the cooking demonstration in the resort’s Surf & Turf steakhouse, I learned how to slice a black Iberian pig’s leg and watched chefs trained in some of the best schools in Europe (and with a background in Michelin-starred restaurants, including Spain’s three-star Akelarre) prepare pumpkin flowers stuffed with lobster; paella; and a whiskey flavored crème brûlée with chocolate soufflé, coffee ice cream, and Halls menthol baked between silpat sheets garnish. Each course accompanied by pairings selected by IBEROSTAR‘s Cuban sommelier, Yamir Pelegrino Rodriguez, who holds both a law degree from the University of Havana and the 2006 title from the Gourmand Cookbooks & Wines Awards.
Here’s a few photos from the trip:
*Disclosure: I visited the Riviera Maya as a guest of IBEROSTAR and the Riviera Maya Tourism Board