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October 20, 2014

Rosewood Mayakoba Unveils La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen

By Neharika Padala

Rosewood Mayakoba, the ultra-luxury resort nestled between a pristine stretch of white Caribbean sand and crystal clear lagoons lined with emerald mangroves, today announced its latest culinary feat with the launch of La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen, a 20,000square-foot outdoor dining concept. Introducing a new type of culinary experience to the region, La Ceiba is designed as an interactive environment for guests to partake in cooking demonstrations, tastings and even foraging for their own produce from over 45 types of organic vegetation to create exquisite delicacies with unmistakable Mexican flare.

The al fresco kitchen and garden, which serves only food cooked over an open flame in accordance with Mayan tradition, features an extensive variety of organic fruits and vegetables, a unique array of Mexican herbs and spices, and over 20 different sections designated for planting. The garden is also home to various groves of tropical trees native to the Yucatan Peninsula, surrounding a contemporary, fine dining setting anchored by an 18-person communal table.

La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen pays homage to authentic Mayan cuisine and heritage with its name, derived from one of the Mayan culture’s most important symbols, the great Ceiba tree. To the ancient Mayan people, “La Ceiba,” an indigenous tree to Latin America which signifies prosperity, strength and unity, is believed to connect the earthly world to the spirits above.

The garden features staples like passion fruit, cucumbers and tomatoes, spring onions, chives, guava, pithaya, mango, as well as multiple varieties of chiles and Zapote wood, a rare fruit wood ideal for smoking fish. Italian and purple basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, mint, spearmint, lemongrass, thyme, and rosemary are among the herbs found at La Ceiba. With minimal décor and an open layout designed for taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings, La Ceiba shines the spotlight on traditional Mayan cooking techniques, bringing to life an entirely new culinary adventure in the Riviera Maya.

La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen boasts an innovative menu of both classic and modern Mexican dishes that are enhanced with the freshest of ingredients cultivated directly from the garden. The menu will change frequently based on the chef’s inspiration as well as the seasonality of various herbs and produce available. The selection of savory starters includes octopus ceviche and duck tostadas with mole sauce, while signature main course items include charcoal-grilled langoustines with a Mexican chutney, coffee-ancho pepper cured prime ribeye and pickled beet salad with tomatillos, Tulum sprouts, burrata and horseradish vinaigrette.

Specialty dishes include the popular Cochinita Pibil, a suckling pig cooked in the garden’s underground pit called a “Pib”, and fresh local clams roasted in a wood-burning oven utilizing the garden’s rare Zapote trees, which produce a fragrant and floral smoke. The technique used to make Cochinita Pibil, as well as venison, pheasant and wild boars dates back to pre-Hispanic times and results in deliciously tender meat that is then seasoned with the garden’s achiote seeds, habanero peppers, cilantro, onions and sour oranges. The dessert menu is composed of updated Mexican classics, such as churros with hot chocolate and oven-roasted fruit cobbler with piloncillo sugar and homemade whipped cream.

Joining the talented food and beverage team at Rosewood Mayakoba is its new Garden Mixologist, an on-property expert who directs the seasonal cocktail program at La Ceiba. The Garden Mixologist is available to guide La Ceiba patrons on the specific herbs and spices from the garden that enhance the cocktails paired with their meal. For the first time ever, the resort is also macerating its tequilas in-house using various herbs and flavors. Margaritas mixed with habanero, basil and lemon-infused tequila demonstrate that every element of the meal – from pre-dinner cocktails to digestifs – is sourced directly from the garden. Rosewood Mayakoba is one of the first resorts in the Riviera Maya to produce flavored ice cubes to elevate the personality of each cocktail.

The introduction of La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen coincides with the debut of Rosewood Mayakoba’s Sense of Taste program, which invites guests to embark on a culinary journey that awakens the senses and explores the beauty and deep-seeded traditions of the Riviera Maya. For guests seeking an authentic, insider’s look into the culinary life of the region, Rosewood Mayakoba now offers several unique ‘Epicurean Encounters’, designed to encourage guests to step outside of their culinary comfort zone to discover the nearby farms and artisans first-hand. The Epicurean Encounters include experiences ranging from visits to a local bee farm where honey is harvested using the same method invented by ancient Mayans, to a family-owned handmade tortilla factory where guests can interact with the locals who still speak the Mayan dialect. Guests interested in experiencing the charm of the daily Mexican “mercado” will delight in a visit to Valladolid, a beautiful Spanish colonial town founded in 1543 and considered to be one of Mexico’s oldest cities.

Additional Epicurean Encounters includes Tequila Tastings at La Cava, and a Mangrove Lagoon Tour where guests are escorted through the crystalline lagoons by boat with a selection of artisanal wines and cheeses.

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Since it first opened in 2008, Rosewood Mayakoba remains committed to partnering with and supporting the finest local farmers, fishermen and meat purveyors, and offering its guests the freshest ingredients available. The all-suite resort sources organic honey that is harvested by hand near Coba, fish and lobster that are caught in the Cancun-Playa del Carmen area by artisanal fishermen, and top quality lamb and pork that are delivered from a farmer in Tizimin. Salt flowers are sourced from Celestun, a community of women dedicated to harvesting them by hand, organic eggs are gathered from a farm approximately two miles from the resort’s kitchen, and organic sprouts, flowers and micro greens are delivered daily from Tulum. Working with the best local farmers and food purveyors across the Riviera Maya is a testament to Rosewood Mayakoba’s dedication to delivering the finest ingredients and culinary experiences for its guests.

La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen is open three times a week from 6 to 10:30pm.  To make a reservation at La Ceiba, please call +52 984-875-8000.  La Ceiba is also available for private events.

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