October 16, 2018

A taste of the remarkable Campechan Cuisine

Jesus Herrera Raya and Dolores (Lolina) Echeverria Lanz.

 

By Tamara Dijkstra.

The Crowne Plaza hosted the inaugural Mexican Food festival last week.

The festival was organized by the Mexican Embassy in cooperation with Diplomat Magazine and Aeroméxico, concerning the celebration of the 190 years’ diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Netherlands.

During the festival, the variety of dishes was accompanied by Mexican musicians. Tasting the Mexican food at this occasion was not only a culinary experience but also a fascinating social and cultural happening. Dolores (Lolina) Echeverria Lanz and Jesus Herrera Raya two well-known chefs from the region of Campeche in the south of Mexico, prepared several extraordinary dishes for this occasion.

Mexican Flavors, Crowne Plaza, The Hague.

Dolores is an amazing chef and currently a delegate of the Conservatory of Mexican Gastronomic Culture since 2011. The Conservatory of Mexican Gastronomic Culture is an organization, that focuses on the preservation of customs and cultural traditions that characterize the classical Mexican cuisine.
On a regular basis, she gives lectures and workshops about the culinary culture of Campeche and the region of Yucatan Peninsula. In order to preserve traditional recipes of Campeche last year, she published a book, with 253 different recipes from the traditional cuisine of Campeche.

Jesus Herrera Raya is the owner of the most famous, well known traditional restaurant of the ‘Campechana Cuisine’, which is called ‘the House of Campeche’. He dedicated himself to the exceptional cuisine 40 years ago and is considered as one of southeast Mexican most acclaimed chefs.
Campeche in the south of México has recently become part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is one of the most ancient seaports of the Mayan Peninsula.

Mexican chef Dolores (Lolina) Echeverria Lanz, preparing delicious tamales.

In general, the traditional food of the state of Campeche in Mexico is especially acclaimed for the variety of fish, seafood, and quality of the ingredients of the region. Furthermore, due to the hot weather a wide range of vegetables is growing on the lowlands in Campeche.

The state of Campeche has always been inhabited by the Maya peoples and the city of Campeche was founded in the sixteenth century. Besides the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, Campeche also suffered from several pirates’ attacks. One of the many attacks was led by the Dutchman, Laurens de Graaf and as a result of this devastating attack, strong walls were built around the city and eventually the pirate attacks came to an end.

The arrival of foreign visitors did not only influence the daily life of the citizens of Campeche but also the different ingredients from overseas influenced Campeche´s cuisine in an interesting way.

During the opening ceremony in the Crowne Plaza restaurant in The Hague, the two chefs talked about the unique ingredients and special dishes and invited the guests to share their opinions with them.
One of the main course was a dish that is called ´Quesorelleno´, delicious stuffed cheese with marinated meat. Remarkably, the chefs did not use Mexican cheese but prepared the dish with typical Dutch cheese, that is still an important ingredient in the ´Cuisine Campechana´.

Chez Jesus Herrera Raya and Lolita, the Mexican team.

Furthermore, five different main courses and three different kinds of dessert were served. When the chefs explained the guests about the process and the preparation of the different dishes, the visitors valued the hard work of the chefs even more.

To conclude, in order to describe this interesting ambiance in Crown Plaza, the restaurant could be compared to an art gallery, a place in which the objects do not only represent the ingredients by which they are made of, but also tell a story about the different traditions, history and a way of living in the south of Mexico.

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 Pictures by the Embassy of Mexico.

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