My task for the day in Cozumel was Mexican cooking school at Playa Mia, at a beach club about a 20 minute drive from where we were docked, called Punta Langosta.
As we arrived, we were shepherded into a whitewashed building with a view of the beach, and home of a pristine kitchen with multiple stations. There we were introduced to Luis, the head chef, Jimmy, his assistant, and the most important man of the morning, Moises, who was charged with bringing us the drinks! And even though it was barely 11.30, most opted to imbibe with a classic margarita.
Luis was great fun, very young but was well travelled and spoke fluent English and French. A native of the Yucutan peninsula, he had been teaching at the school for three years, or rather, as he called it, sharing his secrets of cooking techniques and Mexican cuisine. We worked four to a station, in my case three. I joined a lovely young couple called Kristina and Henry from New York, fans of Mexican food, and Kristina on her first ever cruise.
Our job was to prepare a three course lunch; mini huaraches, which are like flat tortillas topped with Spanish sausage and potato, Veracruz style fish topped with tomato, capsicum, onion and olives, and a rice pudding tower to top it all off. And as the margaritas went down, the banter and laughter escalated - this was no Hell's Kitchen but designed to be fun, educational, and you get to eat what you cook!
We spent about 90 minutes cooking, working on each course in various orders….the dessert first, as it needed to cool, and the appetiser last, as we would eat that first. Towards the end, as a reward, and as is tradition in Mexico, we enjoyed a shot of tequila….then we headed upstairs to the dining room to eat our spoils, and I have to say it was excellent! A few more drinks, then it was time to enjoy the facilities of Playa Mia before heading back to the ship.
This beach club is fabulous for anyone who wants to spend a day at the beach. There are various packages you can choose, covering food, drinks, and the rental of various beach sports equipment such as snorkels and kayaks. If you felt like it you could also lounge around the pool on on loungers on the beach, relax in a hammock, have a massage (about $90 for an hour), play beach volleyball….you name it and you can do it.
By 3.30 we were on our way back to ship, with full stomachs and in a very relaxed mood, probably due to all of the alcohol in our systems. Back at the port, some opted to continue into the nearby shopping mall and duty free shops, but I sought sanctuary in my balcony stateroom and a mini-siesta ahead of sailing at 6pm, which is happening now as I write this.
Tomorrow is a sea day, then I literally jump ship in Miami, head for the Everglades on an early morning tour, and then join Celebrity's newest luxury ship, Eclipse, for a 3-day, 2-night media launch. I will be reporting next time from there, so stay tuned!
To see images from Playa Mia, Cozumel, click here.
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