By popular demand, we are delighted to share more of your favorite recipes from the Royal Resorts restaurants. Stay posted for additional recipe requests such as Black Bean Soup soon. We hope that you enjoy preparing these recipes for your family and friends and that they bring back many happy memories. Remember, however, that for the true flavor to come out you have to add sunny skies, turquoise water and a dash of Mexican hospitality.
Lime Soup Sopa de Lima is a traditional recipe from the Yucatan and is a long-standing favorite with Royal Resorts members. 10 oz sliced green pepper 7 ½ oz of sliced red pepper 7 oz sliced onion 9 ½ oz sliced celery 5 ½ oz of sour lime (lima) 7 oz chopped tomato 3 bay leaves 1 tsp salt & pepper 2 oz chicken stock powder ½ oz chopped garlic 2 oz mixed vegetable oil (20-80) 7 1/2 oz chopped carrot 1 gallon chicken stock
Heat 2 oz of mixed cooking oil, add onion and garlic and fry lightly, stirring from time to time to prevent burning. Add carrot, celery, tomato and bay leaves. Pour in chicken broth, sour lime juice and sour lime slices. Season to taste with powdered chicken stock, salt and pepper. Finally, add the sliced green and red pepper and bring to the boil. Cooked, shredded chicken breast and crispy fried tortilla strips may also be added to the soup before serving.
Cream of Chili Poblano Soup This mouthwatering soup is popular with diners at La Veranda, The restaurant at The Royal Sands. 2 ¼ oz bar of butter 7 oz of chopped white onion 1 teasp chopped garlic ¼ tsp of thyme 2 bay leaves 9 ½ oz of sliced chili poblano 2 ¼ oz flour 2 ½ cups of chicken broth 1 1/2 – 2 l of skimmed milk 1 oz chicken stock powder 3 ½ evaporated milk 1 tsp salt
Clean the chilis, chop and remove the seeds before rinsing the slices in hot water. Fry the onion, garlic and herbs lightly in the butter, stirring con
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stantly. When the onion begins to turn transparent, add the chili slices. Sift in the flour and keep stirring while you add the chicken broth. Once the chili is soft, blend the mixture and add the skimmed milk. Strain and add the chicken stock powder and salt according to taste. Finally, add the evaporated milk and remove from the heat.
Portobello Mushroom Seafood Surprise A classic seafood recipe courtesy of the chef at El Conquistador Restaurant in The Royal Mayan. 50g cream 100g portobello mushroom (one per person) 55 g shrimp 41g scallop Diced lobster 30 g clarified butter 15g chopped white onion 22 g white mushroom Salt & pepper 10g ground almonds 3 teaspoons white wine 80g steamed spinach 20g cherry tomatoes 48g asparagus
Clean the portobello mushrooms, slice in half and grill with a little butter, salt and pepper. Fry the onion in butter, add the shrimp, scallops, lobster and chopped mushrooms and sautée until seafood is cooked. Add the croutons, ground almonds and white wine. Season to taste.
Arrange the bed of spinach on a plate and top with a portobello mushroom half, add the seafood mixture and drizzle with cream, cover with the remaining mushroom half. Garnish with asparagus and tomato halves.
Royal Haciendas Shrimp Tacos
Creamy Bean Soup & Black Bean Salsa
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Flickering candles, the scent of copal incense, sugar candy skulls and garlands of marigolds herald one of Mexico’s most important and colorful festivals, Día de Muertos or the Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 1 and 2. Mexicans believe that the souls of the dead return to earth at this time of year and they welcome them back with joy tinged with sadness. All over the country, masses and graveside vigils are held and special altars are erected to honor the departed.
Altars are intensely personal and although some objects are indispensable, no one altar is alike. Photos and the treasured personal belongings of the deceased, a cross, rosary and the image of a patron saint or the Virgin of Guadalupe are arranged upon the altar against a backdrop of orange cempasuchil and red cockscomb flowers, cut tissue paper and candles. Gourds and clay vessels contain offerings of the deceased’s favorite foods and beverages; aromatic copal incense, fruit, chocolate, atole or corn gruel, salt, and water, in case the spirits are thirsty. Toys and candies decorate the altars of children, music lovers are remembered with serenades and cigarettes might even feature on the altar of a former smoker. Candles and a trail of petals mark the way home and a smaller offering is placed outside the house to welcome lost spirits. According to tradition, the souls of children or angelitos, return to earth on All Saints Day, and adults on All Souls Day. After visiting the tombs of their loved ones, families will consume the offerings of food and drink and pan de muerto, a sweet bread served with hot chocolate or gruel. The Mayan Day of the Dead is called Hanal Pixan, which means “feast of souls.” Throughout the Yucatán, families make the pilgrimage to the cemetery to visit the graves of their loved ones and erect altars to honor the souls of children and adults. If the deceased was a happy person who liked to party, the altar will be erected in the yard so that he or she can celebrate without disturbing the living.
Tables laden with offerings of mucbipollo, large chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit and gourds of tan-chucua, a corn gruel flavored with crushed cacao beans, pepper and aniseed are set up under the trees outside the house. Pumpkins, squash, corn, bread and flowers are added and the candles are lit. As night falls on November 1, the Maya believe that the dead draw near to dine. The next day it is the turn of the living; they eat the mucbipollo, washing it down with gruel and balche, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and the bark of a tree.
Where to see the Day of the Dead Festival Guests staying at the Royal Resorts will be able to see altars on display in The Royal Market and in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Visitors may also want to visit Xcaret for the Festival of Life and Death, a celebration of the traditions associated with this annual event. In neighboring Yucatan, schools and colleges have erected altars in the grounds of San Bernadino de Siena monastery in Valladolid this year. In Merida, local people and visitors stroll along the Corredor de las Animas (the path of the souls), Calle 66 between La Ermita and the City Cemetery, which will be lined with up to 250 different altars. Mexico’s most famous Day of the Dead celebrations take place on the island of Janitzio in Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán and at Mixquic on the outskirts of Mexico City.
Trip Advisor users rated Club Internacional de Cancun and The Royal Sands & Spa as two of the world’s top 80 family resorts in the Trip Advisor Travelers Choice 2009. In this prestigious survey, the two clubs appear in the Top 10 family resorts for the Mexican & Caribbean. In another recent Trip Advisor poll of the world’s favorite travel destinations Cancún and Playa del Carmen came in at number 5 and number 10 respectively.
Nowhere else in the world are you assigned a Personal Concierge to assist with information, restaurant and tour reservations and anything else you might need during your stay at the Royal Resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. This invaluable Royal Resorts service is now even better – the Advance Concierge team is now calling members and guests one month before they are due to travel to the Mexican Caribbean to see how they may help them, for example by arranging airport transfers, booking tours, car rentals and other services. Expect a call from these friendly travel representatives and see how they can take the hassle out of vacation planning for you.
It has a been a busy few days for the turtles at The Royal Sands, eight females nested at the weekend and three more on Monday, bringing the tally to 63 nests and 7,628 eggs. A further 180 hatchlings were released last night to begin life at sea. The overwhelming majority of our summer visitors to date have been green turtles, loggerheads are more common in the Riviera Maya and also tend to nest later in the season.
We are delighted to announce the birth of the first sea turtles of the season earlier today at The Royal Sands. All 117 are doing fine and will be released after dark tonight when there are fewer bird predators such as sea gulls and frigate birds around. If you have ever gently held a baby turtle or watched as they scuttle across the sand towards the waves, you’ll have been amazed at the strength of these tiny creatures and the powerful urge that drives them.
We visited these little dudes this afternoon and found them taking a well-earned nap, a real Mexican siesta! As you can see from the photos, they do not look very energetic. After all, it is hard work chipping away at the egg shell and it takes them over an hour, sometimes even longer to struggle free. However, they soon begin to revive as the sun goes down and the sea breeze picks up.
Once they enter the sea, male turtles spend the rest of their lives in the water but the females return to the beaches where they were born to dig their nests. We hope and pray that in 12 to 15 years time many of these green turtles will lay their own eggs on the Mexican Caribbean coast.
So we welcome our newborns with a hearty bienvenidas tortuguitas and we wish them Godspeed as they begin their lives at sea.
If you like to go somewhere different each time you visit the Mexican Caribbean, how about a trip to Izamal, the Yucatan’s very own “city of gold?” One of Mexico’s Pueblo Mágicos (communities with their own brand of magic and colorful traditions), Izamal is often called the “city of three cultures,” a reference to its pre-Hispanic and Spanish heritage and the traditions of today’s Mayan inhabitants.
Izamal has been inhabited since the days of the ancient Maya, in fact the earliest traces of human occupation date back to the third century B.C., making the site older than Uxmal and Chichén Itzá. Izamal later became a sacred place, attracting Mayan pilgrims from all over the Yucatán, who worshipped Itzamná or Zamna, the chief god, inventor of writing, medicine and agriculture.
Over 20 major Mayan buildings have been found in and around Izamal, along with a network of sacbes or roads, house mounds and tombs. The Mayan sun god, Kinich Kakmo was also venerated here and the pyramid erected in his honor still dominates the skyline. Standing 35 meters high, it is the third largest building in Mesoamerica in terms of volume.
After the Conquest, Spanish friars took advantage of Izamal’s religious importance by building a huge Franciscan mission on top of the Pap-Hol-Chac temple. The San Antonio de Padua mission was founded in 1549 and completed in 1618. Home to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, the patron saint of the Yucatán since 1648, it is one of Mexico’s ten most important shrines. The fortress-like building is also said to have the second largest atrium in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome, and has no fewer than 75 arches!
Wherever you turn in Izamal you’ll see cheerful yellow paint and a white trim, this tradition dates from the Colonial Period and started with the convent. Nowadays most of the houses, arches, churches and civic buildings sport the Izamal colors.
Explore the streets and squares surrounding the convent on foot or hire a horse-drawn carriage or victoria. Apart from the convent and the Mayan pyramids, other local landmarks include the Town Hall, the Community Museum in Calle 31 and the colonial churches of San Ildefonso, Los Remedios, Carmen and Santa Cruz.
You may even be lucky enough to visit a craft workshop during your visit. Local artisans produce embroidered cotton dresses, hammocks, wood carvings, henequen and seed jewelry and papier mâché. Crafts can be purchased in the plaza and at the Izamal Cultural Center. Funded by the Banamex Foundation and managed by a cooperative of enterprising young Izamaleños, the Cultural Center also has an exhibition of fine handicrafts from all over the country, an informative display on the history of henequen, a café and a mini spa.
As the sun goes down, spend some time people watching in the peaceful main square and you even may decide to stay on after dark for the Light & Sound Show staged at the Convent on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. (schedule may change).
The landscape around Izamal is dotted with henequen haciendas and the fields of the sage-green plant that played such an important role in the Yucatecan economy in the late 19th century. Most are abandoned but small-scale cultivation still continues at Chichihú. Haciendas Tzalancab and San José Tecoh are open to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offer bird watching trails. Guides are available at the Tourist Information booth in Izamal Town Hall.
If you would like to visit Izamal, why not contact Thomas More Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a private excursion? The Mérida & Uxmal overnight trip available from Thomas More also includes an Izamal stop. If you decide to rent a car from Hertz and explore at your own pace, Izamal is 158 miles from Cancún and 43 miles from Mérida, take the turnoffs signposted on the toll road or Highway 180.
Members and guests looking out to sea from their villa terrace in Cancun or The Royal Haciendas could spot a shooting star tonight. The Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on August 11 and 12. While astronomers expect that the best viewing for this spectacle will be in northern latitudes, our guests may still be lucky.
Whenever you come to the Mexican Caribbean and whether you witness a shooting star or not, gaze up at the heavens and see how many constellations you can identify. The stars are brighter here!
It was a very busy weekend at The Royal Sands with 10 turtle nests registered, bringing the season’s tally to 52 nests and 6,308 eggs. No eggs have hatched so far although the security department expects this to start later this week.
As ever, we will keep you posted on our summer visitors from the sea and the miracle of new life that we are lucky enough to witness year after year on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean.
In a recent Forbes Magazine survey of the world’s best cities for dining, travelers from 20 nations ranked Mexico City fourth behind Paris, Rome and Tokyo, another reminder that it is well and truly on the restaurant map. However, as seasoned visitors and patriotic locals will tell you, wherever you go in this great country,delicious and diverse dining awaits you. Although the most popular dishes in this poll were tamales, chiles en nogada (stuffed Poblano chiles served in a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds) and hot chocolate, the list is endless and each region has its own tasty offerings! In fact, there is so much variety that food historians and gourmets are lobbying to get the national cuisine declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
What are your favorite Mexican dishes? Do you like soft shell tacos filled with beef, guacamole and spicy salsa, the subtle flavor of the mole or chicken in chocolate-chile sauce served at Hacienda Sisal, or are you an enchilada fan? Or perhaps the very thought of fish, shrimp and lobster al mojo de ajo (in garlic butter) fresh from the grill in Captain’s Cove makes your mouth water. Let us know about the recipes that get your thumbs up at Royal Resorts.