Yucatan’s Ministry of Tourism has launched a new campaign aiming to increase awareness of its traditional cuisine, an important part of its tourism offering.

The state of Yucatan’s Ministry of Tourism (SEFOTUR) has launched a new campaign aiming to increase awareness of the state’s culinary offering, rich cultural history, and modern gastronomy as an important part of its tourism offering.

Starting on June 18, World Sustainable Gastronomy Day, the campaign highlights the recipes, ingredients, and gastronomic experiences of the Mexican state, Yucatan.

“The “Year of Yucatecan Gastronomy” places our food as part of the axis of our promotional campaign,” said Michelle Fridman, Minister of Tourism. “The Yucatan’s history goes back to the big bang and forward to the Maya to today. There is no better way to narrate the identity and history of Yucatan than in its flavours and gastronomy.”

A cuisine of blended influences and flavours

Yucatán gastronomy is culturally rich in traditions that bring together Maya, Spanish, Caribbean, Dutch, and Lebanese influences. It mixes ingredients such as corn, tomato, honey, and beans, with endemic products such as habanero chili, sour orange, and the popular achiote paste, used to create a red paste called recado that is used in tamales and over proteins, most popularly wild turkey and pig.

Some of the more traditional dishes of the state of Yucatan include Sopa de Lima (chicken broth seasoned with local Yucatecan lime), Huevos Motuleños (tortilla with beans and fried eggs), and the Cochinita Pibil (pork marinated in Achiote paste and sour orange juice and cooked in an underground pit). Visitors to the state will find these dishes served at posh haciendas converted into restaurants or hotels, others may take a meal in the home of the living Maya while visiting the southern part of the state and the PUUC route. The latter covers five famous ancient Maya sites; some 85 km south of Merida.

Modern Yucatan offers of one Mexico’s trendiest foodie scenes spanning across its six regions and including rooftop dining in Valladolid, beach clubs in Progreso and Mezcal tastings in the yellow city of Izamal. Yucatan capital, Merida, is home to traditional cantinas, modern restaurants, and mixologists.

(Photo: SEFOTUR)

Gathering many players for the campaign

As part of “the Year of Yucatecan Gastronomy” campaign, SEFOTUR is going after trade alliances. The state is to work with a high number of municipalities to promote their own culinary offerings to state-wide initiatives to fund and promote events such as Restaurant Week, the first-time editions of festivals promoting its honey, tacos and recados. The ministry will also work with local chefs as “Gastronomic Ambassadors of Yucatan” to further promote the campaign across platforms. International organizations like the UNWTO, the Gastronomic Tourism Laboratory (IICA), and the Aspen Institute will also be tapped to join the initiative.

“Gastronomic tourism has a very strong element of sustainability, like the actions we have taken efforts in, it is an exertion that seeks to include, diversify, decentralize… that seeks the endemic, the organic, the authentic, being a very noble segment, and in Yucatan, we have a great diversity of ingredients and dishes, we have a gastronomic narrative that few destinations in the world have, from Mayan techniques and ingredients and the different migrations to the footsteps of other cultures in the region”.

She added that this type of tourism will allow, in the year of economic recovery, to bring benefits to the communities that need it the most, since in these areas is where many of the ingredients and supplies that are consumed in the restaurants are produced.

The “Yucatan is Flavor” campaign follows the ministry’s “365 Days of Yucatan” campaign which took place between 2021 and 2022. The campaign promoted 365 tourism products to local, national, and international visitors.

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