The 5 de 50 Food Festival: A Culinary Experience by Food and Travel

Noviembre 15, 2023

Dining experiences in the Riviera Maya

you can experience at Xcaret Hotels

The 5 de 50 Gastronomic Festival is an exclusive event that brings together five renowned chefs whose restaurants have earned recognition on the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America list.

These culinary enthusiasts offer attendees a unique gastronomic experience filled with exceptional flavors throughout an exciting program. Organized by Food & Travel, this festival takes place at the Xcaret Hotel Restaurants. Here, we will share some of the highlights from the 2023 edition.

The third edition of the 5 de 50 Gastronomic Festival, organized by Food & Travel, kicked off on November 8th. The opening event took place at the RoofTop Casa de Los Artistas, where attendees began to whet their appetites with a tasting of Cinco Jotas, 100% Iberian pork ham.

This year, the world's third-best bar, Handshake, was responsible for crafting cocktails for the festival and welcomed guests with "Celosa," a cocktail made with Celosa Tequila, organic hibiscus, and dill.

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Metzi Dinner, Brazil at Arenal Restaurant

The Arenal Restaurant served as the venue for the start of this culinary celebration. Handshake welcomed guests with "Sencha," a cocktail made with clarified brandy, Nami Sake, green tea, and yuzu.

Chefs Luana Sabino and Eduardo Nava Ortiz from the Metzi Restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, delighted diners with a six-course menu paired with wines from Washington State Wine and Oregon Wine, curated by our sommelier, Sandra Fernández.

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Some of the standout dishes of the evening included:

· Octopus tostada with fish salpicón and chintextle emulsion.

· White mole with cachaca, roasted cauliflower with jambu, and black tucupí.

· Soft-shell crab with ica mole and moca fingerling potatoes.

Carlos Gaytán + Steven Molnar Dinner at HA ́ Restaurant

On the second day of the 5 de 50 Gastronomic Festival by Food and Travel, attendees were invited to rediscover the flavors of grilled cuisine and explore the diversity of ingredients that make up Mexican gastronomy.

Chef Carlos Gaytán and his special guest, Chef Steven Molnar, a passionate advocate of Mexican cuisine, delighted guests with a land and sea menu full of surprises.

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Traditional flavors like mole, recado negro, and hoja santa were vibrant elements in dishes featuring lamb, scallops, and even kampachi.

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The ingenuity and balance of flavors in each dish were enhanced by the wine pairings curated by Sandra Fernández, featuring wines from Casa Madero, the oldest winery in Latin America.

The evening perfectly reflected the spirit of HA ́ Restaurant: innovative, surprising, and exquisite in every sense.

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Wagyu Dinner presented by Koli Restaurant

The third day of the 5 de 50 Festival took place at Casa de la Playa, providing an elegant and intimate setting for a special Wagyu dinner presented by Koli Restaurant, located in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and ranked 79th on "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" list. 

This restaurant is the creation of the Rivera-Rio brothers, who also lead the gastronomic and conceptual vision for Lumbre and Centil restaurants within Casa de la Playa.

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The Wagyu dinner was guided primarily by Chef Rodrigo Rivera Rio, who presented a six-course menu with his brother, pastry chef Daniel Rivera Rio. It began with a Wagyu bone marrow tartare with mezcal cream and caviar, followed by Bakkafrost salmon sashimi and Bakkafrost salmon ceviche with pickled penino and oyster emulsion.

The highlight of the evening was Chef Rodrigo's Wagyu A5 tataki with black corn, mixe vinegar, and black garlic jus. The fifth course featured a three-quarter cut steak with smoked purée and xoconostle sauce.

Chef Daniel provided the perfect ending with a spectacular dessert: crème brûlée with hints of vanilla, hibiscus, and peanut, served on a cured bone marrow base.

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The wine pairings for these six courses were expertly selected by Sommelier Patricio Rivera Rio and renowned sommelier Sandra Fernández, featuring six different labels from California Wines.

Caviar Experience by XO, Colombia at Encanta Restaurant

As part of the 5 de 50 Festival, a dinner at the Encanta Restaurant offered an unexpected and disruptive culinary experience in collaboration with Gourmanite and Vinos Boutique.

This unique dining experience showcased Gourmanité Caviar as the star ingredient, highlighted through the ingredients used in each dish and expertly paired with wines by sommelier Sandra Fernández.

Chefs Rob Pevitts, Mateo Ríos, and Sebastián Marín from X.O. accepted the challenge and presented an innovative and intriguing menu that brought out unique flavors of Colombia.

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Gourmanité Caviar was used differently for each dish, creating distinct highlights. The innovation in textures, preparations such as Chawanmushi, the incorporation of Andean grains and Colombian coffee, and the presentation of each dish and its aromas delighted diners and received a standing ovation from all present.

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Special Closing Dinner: Emanuele Scarello and Luis Arzapalo at Xaak Restaurant

On the fifth day of the 5 de 50 Festival, the closing gala took place at Xaak Restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Arte, featuring special guests.

To welcome guests, Handshake Bar, ranked 3rd on "The World's 50 Best Bars" list, served the cocktail "Once Upon in San Luis," a delightful blend of Salmero mezcal, mint, yellow lemon, Absinth, and whey.

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The four-hand dinner was led by Chef Luis Arzapalo, a member of the Gastronomic Collective of Grupo Xcaret, and guest chef Emanuele Scarello, who helms Agli Amici 1887 Restaurant in Italy, ranked 23rd on the "50 top Italy" list.

The chefs showcased the perfect fusion of seafood and Italian flavors through a seven-course menu.

Chef Luis Arzapalo began with "Xe'ek del mar," featuring Lionfish, salmon, akami, leche de tigre, agria lime oil, and habanero. Then, he presented a Bao bun with a slow-roasted hairless pig, pib sauce, and pickled onions. Chef Emanuele Scarello introduced traditional Italian flavors with "Tortello tributo an Italia," a delectable blend of ragu, cheese cream, and granola biscuit.

The flavors intensified in the third half with chef Emanuele's Italian touch with the Tortello tribute to Italy, a delicious mix of ragu, creamy cheese and granna biscotto, followed by the Chimol by chef Luis Arzapalo with a contrasting flavor of veal cheek in its juice, black recado, miso carrots and creamy yucca, served with Creole corn tortillas.

Finally, chef Luis Arzapalo's Rosita del bosque dessert left a sweet taste on the palate with its red fruits, amarenas and rosita de cacao.

The wine pairings for this dinner were expertly selected by Sommelier Sandra Fernández, featuring six different labels from Bodegas Domecq, directly from the Valle de Guadalupe.

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