Travelling to Mexico and keen to learn how to cook real Mexican food? This cooking class in Puerto Vallarta was the highlight of my visit to this gorgeous region of Mexico. Learn about the variety of ingredients used in this cuisine, how to prepare and cook amazing Mexican food and get ready for the feast at the end. Calling out to all food-lovers! If you plan on making a stop in this delicious city (and you really should), you need to join this cooking class in Puerto Vallarta.
The Best Cooking Class in Puerto Vallarta – Let’s go!
A visit to the markets first – So much colour!
After meeting Enrique, our local host and chef for the day, we stopped at the local produce markets first to shop for all the ingredients we’d be cooking with today. If there’s something I love to do in countries all over the world, it’s this. You could leave me in a food market all day and I’d be happy to just wander around, learn about food, chat to locals and maybe try some food too.
Enrique explained the role that many different chillies and vegetables play in Mexican cuisine and the difference between several varieties of cheese and what dishes they are used in.
We visited a little tortilla factory that was obviously the best in the area, judging by all the locals lining up for at least five minutes to wait for a stack of the freshest tortillas available. We learned here how ‘maiz’ or corn plays such an important role in this incredible cuisine. The maiz, as we found out is the star player in the bulk of Mexican cuisine.
Mountains of fresh limes at the market. Our cooking class in Puerto Vallarta will be requiring a bag of these!
Our Mexican kitchen – What a setting for our cooking class in Puerto Vallarta
After our market visit, we returned to a typical Mexican casa (home). Enrique told us ‘Mi Casa is Su Casa’ which translates to ‘my home is your home’, and they really meant it.
Upon entering this lovely home and kitchen, we felt instantly at ease and were welcomed with a ‘refresco’ or cold drink of what the Mexicans call ‘Jamaica’. It is a hibiscus flower steeped in water, generally some sugar added with lots of ice. It has a tart, cranberry flavour. I found it very refreshing!
But what is real Mexican food? Our host explained that today we were going to learn how to make tortillas by hand, tamales with slow roasted pork and chile Relleno (stuffed peppers).
Different salsas, guacamoles and a delicious marinade for pork to stuff inside our tacos are also on the menu. Awesome! The best thing was that we were learning how to cook this amazing food, and we get to enjoy it all afterwards.
Stuffing the tamales with the slow roasted pork! Delicious. This cooking class in Puerto Vallarta is so good!
Our group today was a nice number of 5 in total. It’s always important to choose a small group class, as it is generally more personalised and hands-on.
Enrique explained steps of what we needed to do to start preparing and we were asked to perform small tasks with the produce to complete preparations for each dish.
It’s incredible how many ingredients go into making a delicious marinade for meat. Although, I will never forget the taste of that pork at the end of the day.
My favourite part was probably mixing the tamale masa (dough) with pork lard and then stuffing them with the pre-roasted pork. (Enrique pre-cooked this one earlier this morning so we had time to enjoy this delicious treat).
We’d purchased banana leaves at the market to wrap them in, but you can also use corn husks. We layered them in the steamer to cook them.
It’s a group effort
Immediately after this, our team player John, from Arizona was in charge of char-grilling some green peppers that we needed for creating our Chile Relleno. Once cooled and peeled, we were taught how to carefully dissect the peppers and stuff them full of fresh Oaxaca cheese and the leftover masa. Delicious! They were also wrapped and taken to the big pot to steam away with the tamales.
What would a meal or a taco be without guacamole and the tortillas? We got an expert lesson of how to bash and knead the dough enough to make the perfect tortilla.
We pressed our own tortillas, cooked them on a hot plate and placed them in a cute little basket covered with its own blanket so they kept warm. We whizzed up two kinds of guacamole, and we were almost there!
The perfect tortilla in the making! Marty is loving all these food tips for creating delicious Mexican food.
This marinated pork is incredible
The marinated pork was tossed into a hot pan, cooked to perfection and immediately chopped in pieces to suit our tacos.
‘Buen Provecho’ as they say in Mexico! Our cooking class in Puerto Vallarta was almost done, but the best part was coming right now.
We were invited to the table, looking incredible I must say with all our expertly cooked dishes. We had a delicious Mexican lunch with our new friends and chatted about Mexican culture and customs as we dined. A cheeky shot of tequila was offered to sip as we ate too. A nice touch I thought.
With full bellies and napkins down, a small glass of a chilled chocolate drink was given to us. A blended mix of cacao, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and ice. Muy Bueno!!!!
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.