When it comes to sampling haute cuisine by top chefs and those with Michelin star status from both Mexico and abroad without breaking the bank, foodie’s paradise Millesime México is the reigning gastronomic expo.
As I mentioned in my post on Expos and Conventions in Mexico City, visiting an expo sounds like the last thing a leisure traveller might do on holiday, but in a country where the cuisine has been added to UNESCO’s list of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage,” visiting a gastronomic event is one of the best ways to try a variety of regional dishes and drinks under one roof, and of all the gastronomic events held annually in Mexico City, Millesime México is easily the most exclusive and luxurious.
The concept for the fourth edition of Millesime Mexico was “Kaleidoscopic” – truly fitting for an expo that reflects world gastronomy while paying homage to the different takes on and fusions of some of Mexico’s best and most exemplary cuisine.
The first thing that struck me on arrival to the show held in Centro Banamex, was how dressed up the expo attendees were. I could easily have been at the opening of a trendy new club or a prestigious awards ceremony and was glad I hadn’t turned up in my usual hippy pants and flip flops. A word of advice to fellow travellers, although I hate conforming to presumed “fashion requisites”, anyone in casual travelling clothes might feel slightly out of place, however there is no formal dress code.
The space, designed by Madrid-based architect and design studio James&Mau was avant-garde and functional, recreating a mini city with areas such as “Mexican Cuisine Street” and “Urban Cooking Square”. As I walked around I was able to chat to sommeliers and mixologists and sample the work of top chefs who are setting trends by reinterpreting typical dishes and producing novel creations elaborated with ingredients that are symbolic of each region.
Throughout the evening, I got to try national and international wines and spirits, delicious desserts and a unique selection of gourmet products such as Iberian Ham, numerous varieties of cheeses, chocolates, caviar, truffle, foie gras and oysters to mention just a few.
Many of these ingredients had been combined in the most weird and wonderful combinations. I have to admit I wasn’t bowled over by the truffle (as in the fungus) with chocolate mousse at the Hershey’s stand but I was smitten by the to die for foie gras crème brûlée created by Abel Hernández of Eloise Restaurant in the San Angel neighbourhood.
Abel went on to win the Millesime Young Master 2014 award and I got to interview him for my video post in which he describes his food as “French comfort haute cuisine”. I have to admit that I wholeheartedly agree having tried his creations, including a delicious pumpkin cream in a shot glass with a little scallop surprise at the bottom. Sublime.
Some other chefs that stood out for me were Josefina Lopez of Chapulín, a restaurant located within the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel in the Polanco neighbourhood, and pastry chef Eduardo Da Silva of Da Silva Panaderia Artesanal, also based in Polanco. I literally had to be dragged away from Eduardo Da Silva’s stand full of melt-in-your-mouth macarons, handmade chocolates, truffles and bite-sized sweet pastries.
Josefina’s style reminded me of the kind of things created by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. I got to try huge Chicatana flying ants and a typical tamal made with banana and cochinita – a delicious Mayan-style pit pork, followed by strawberry and beetroot ice cream for dessert.
Having eaten more than a human stomach can hold, I was desperately in need of a digestif to wash it all down and headed to the Lounges & Bar section to sample some of Mexico’s finest tequilas and mezcals. Of course I couldn’t resist one final temptation of a mezcal cocktail before heading home.
I had a fantastic evening at Millesime Mexico and don’t think I will ever have the opportunity again to try so many dishes by so many top chefs all in the one place. If you are a foodie and you happen to be here while the expo is taking place then this is an unmissable experience. For anyone else with some time to spare and a desire to try exemplary dishes from all over Mexico then this could make for an interesting addition to your itinerary.
Don’t forget to check my tips section for more information on Millesime Mexico.