ROBERT MAKŁOWICZ MEKSYK odc.114 „ Pływając wśród żółwi".
What do your eyes and mine see? Out of the scorching sun. Well, the mirror of the Caribbean Sea and the wild beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula. And you can visit such places and many others thanks to the Wakacje.pl website, which is a partner of today's, I hope, great episode.
[ AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION ] My dears, the Yucatan Peninsula, that is Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. A town that is called Tulum and in fact, many people, also in our country, have heard this name, because Tulum is today an extremely famous resort. What is his magnet? No seaside location and beaches. But let's start with the fact that the seaside location, which today attracts tourists, used to attract people too, but not for beach and holiday reasons.
The wonderful location of this place was appreciated already in pre-Columbian times. The Mayans founded a city here, which was also a port. They founded it quite late, in the thirteenth century, and it is the youngest Mayan city in the Yucatan. When we talk about cities, because we talk so often when looking at these ruins, we must remember that what has remained to our times, brick buildings, are only fragments of these cities.
It's not a city because the city itself was wooden. The roofs were made of thatch, probably palm. These are ceremonial buildings. Either temples or palaces of the magnates.
But if it wasn't, this thing is impressive. The city wasn't big, but you remember, the 13th century, which was the decline of the Mayan culture's splendour, in fact the beginning of its decline. Mayan postclassic era. There were walls all around, but what is very interesting, they were not defensive walls, that is, they were not intended to stop enemies from outside. They were, in a way, caste walls.
Well, the upper castes, the upper classes, as we would say today, separated themselves from the common people in this way, and inside the walls there were more walls, because what do we have there? It's called El Castillo, that's what the Spaniards called it, meaning a castle, but it's not a castle, it's a temple. And here, too, we have walls. That is, the walls that separate the magnates from the commoners and the walls that separate the priests from everyone. And the walls will crumble.
From here you can see perfectly the true reason for the location of the city. It was just a port. The Mayans were sailors and we know this from historical records. We don't know if they got there.
There is Cuba, there to the Dominican Republic or there. There is Jamaica. We know for sure that they stayed pretty close to the shoreline, and we know that they certainly sailed to present-day Honduras, because from there they brought obsidian, which is knives, they did not have iron, obsidian of calves. But apart from everything, they had a pretty good view.
The history of the origin of the name of the peninsula is interesting. It's probably a linguistic error. The Spaniards had been to Cuba before, they had been to the nearby Caribbean islands before they landed right here in Yucatan, which was not Yucatan at that time.
And probably on one of these beaches there was a group of Mayans, they were spotted from a passing Spanish vessel, the boat was lowered, Spanish sailors came and asked in Castilian what is this land? And they replied in Mayan, "Yukatel?" so what do you want? To which Pedro said whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, let me write it down. He took the notebook and spelled it wrong, thinking that Yukaten was the name of the place. He typed Yucatan. That's how it stayed.
Great story. Is it real? I do not know. Until a few years ago, this wonderful beach was accessible, meaning accessible to those who bought a ticket to visit the ruins of Tulum. It's closed today, you can't go downstairs and swim there. But you know what's missing here? Well, beautiful beaches, so we'll take care of the beaches.
If you are asking what is the direct reason why people come to Tulum, and they come in huge numbers, and they come here from all over the world, well, these are not Mayan ruins. They see the Mayan ruins as if by the way, and above all they crave just that, i.e. the warmth of the sea, sun and wonderful beaches. Until the 1970s, there was virtually no tourism here. There were small Indian, Mayan, fishing villages here. The most famous Mexican resort of that time was Acapulco.
You know Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Liz Taylor and so on. And to expand their coastal offer, in the 1970s , planners commissioned by the government sat down and decided, we are doing tourism on this wonderful coast from Tulum to Cancún. And that's how the Riviera Maya was born. I mean, it wasn't created by the planners, because it was here all along. As you can see, we're going on a boat ride. I forgot to take my bathing trunks from the hotel, so I had to buy them.
First of all, they're too tight. Well, maybe not necessarily in the waist, but here in the thighs. They're doing everything on some skinny big boys now. And secondly, swimming here is obligatory in life jackets and I completely did not foresee it, the color of the life jacket does not match my pants, but you have to endure it somehow, because I do not want to shock you with my outfit now, but I want to shock you with what we will see.
We are sailing towards the Mayan ruins. Mayan ruins behind me. The Caribbean Sea below me and around me. Peace in the heart, and in a moment the real purpose of our trip. Well, because of course it's worth looking at everything from the sea, but there is something here , for which, also for her, apart from the beauty of nature, millions of people who want to admire this thing come here. About 400 meters from the beach begins the coral reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world after the Australian one.
It stretches from Honduras to the borders of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately to Cancún. So what's going on here? Well, you dive to admire the animals living in it. Diving here is specific if you do it with an organized group. First, you need a vest. The point is that these people take responsibility for the guests. They don't know if anyone can swim.
But there's one more thing. It was about not going down and disturbing that ecosystem too much. And that's right... Well, the turtle is. Okay. Everything is! Too tight pants. It will be a quote: "Two crucian carp and a perch."
Tulum is a place known all over the world. This is one of the resorts that really made it world famous. I would compare it to Cannes on the Côte d'Azur and similar people come here too. The so-called liked, known, valued. But this is not just an offer for millionaires. Well, I'm not like that, but look where I'm sitting, what a view around me.
And the form of the simplest things, i.e. we have guacamole, but not a heap of it, just formed. Roasted chili pepper, tomatoes, tortillas in the form of what we call nachos. Dried, cut, fried with sauces, not from a jar.
Made a while ago because it's warm. Look, I've really been to Cannes, but I don't know if I don't like it better here. We've already seen Mayan Tulum, we've seen Tulum's beaches. It is next to them that the best hotels are located. Well, after all, every resort, even the most famous, must also have a place to live, not only for holidaymakers. Well, after all, people who even serve these hotels must live somewhere.
And this is the center of the town of Tulum, its main street. Well, what does it look like? Well, the streets, as in the States, intersect at right angles, and well... The sea is very close from here, but this place also has a lot of attractions. Maybe not so much scenic, but food and drink yes. Extremely simple place for locals mainly, although of course they don't do selection at the door and let foreigners in as well. This is namely Taqueria Honorio. Taqueria, a place specializing in tacos. In
fact, there are a few meats, one vegetarian option on the menu and you order two extras. Either a tortilla, which is a tortilla plus stuffing, is a taco, or a torta. Torta is a kind of local sandwich. And this is pork.
Pork that was marinated in the local sour orange before roasting. And this is lechon. Lechon is a milk suckling pig, served with pieces of deep-fried pork skin.
Is it spicy? Not. What is Mexican cuisine? Well, it consists in the fact that the dish itself is never really spicy, if you don't sharpen it, because only the additions are hellishly spicy. Pico de Gallo. Here we have the greenness of habanero peppers, and various other sauces. This one is also hellishly peppery, this one probably too.
And you have to recognize it. I will be developing more about tacos in other episodes, because luckily we have some time in the Yucatan to ourselves, so for now it's just a little exercise. A little practice. Okay, I'll eat it in a minute or now. Or right now. Summer, delicious.
You can even buy it fried like chips. And I'm going to go with something that looks the most dangerous to me, which is to start with this. Spicy, sour, but it does not drown out the wonderful delicacy of the meat. If you eat pork, it's lechona. Anyway, I'll talk about this later, a very valued breed of pigs lives here, which is a cross between an Iberian black pig and a black pig known from Vietnam, for example. Great.
Great. And it tastes great drunk with local beer, I've already stuffed a lemon there. Now this. My dears, this place is called Mamazul. It's a restaurant but also a mezcaleria, so we're here for a very important thing about mezcal. Alcohol that comes from Mexico and can be really outstanding.
It may be one of the most delicious alcoholic things on earth. This is a place that boasts a huge collection of mezcals, but there is someone with us who is a mezcalier, because there is a sommelier and a mezcalier, a man who deals with mezcal. Namely, Lautaro Zamboni.
Sir, what's the difference between tequila and mezcal? This is a question everyone should know the answer to. Tequila has its own original origin, just like champagne or other types of sparkling wines. Tequila can only be made in five Mexican states and only from one species of agave. 'Weber's tequilana or blue agave.
Mezcal, on the other hand, already comes from nine states. Three more states are trying to get licenses to produce. We can use 26 different species for production. Mezcal can only be produced in Mexico. Well, of course, of course. So now you understand. Well, very often mezcal and tequila are confused.
This is a really impressive card. An impressive collection. Well, look, here we have, for example, all the species of agave from which mezcal can be made. Described. We also have a huge mezcal menu.
How many bottles of different mezcals do you have here? 300? Yes, we have over 360 bottles here from fifteen different states in Mexico. And that's important information because we have states that are certified, but mezcal is also made in other states, and that's kind of a flaw in the legislation. Well, like with supertoscan, for example. Well, we have a specific law that allowed wine to be made only in this place and in this way.
And therefore, wine producers in Tuscany consciously began to call their wine table wine, because it did not fit within the appellation. We have various tastings here. Well, I took a rather modest one, but I think it's enough for today. We have the name of the mezcal described here, we have the state, we have the names of the agave, both in local and general Spanish, and finally we have the people who produced the mezcal. And that's important.
It is produced only by women. Yes, these are three different mezcals from our collection. They are produced by women from 2 different states of Mexico. First of all, here we have the father and mother of all mezcals from the state of Oaxaca, which is the main producer of mezcal in Mexico.
This mezcal is from somewhere else in the state of Oaxaca. We will end with a unique mezcal from the state of Durango, which lies in the north of Mexico. And that's your favorite mezcal? Which one do you like the most? This is my favourite. So we have to start with that? We won't try this one last. So first mezcal. We'll do this, we'll smell the mezcal first. Let's get acquainted with the aroma.
Then we take a small sip, just like when we taste wine. And then we drink. We spread the liquid around our mouth. And then we can drink. There's no need to oxidize it because that's how we lose the alcohol in the mezcal. Explosion.
Some smoky notes, but also some fruity notes. Yes, it is American agave. This is a subspecies of this specific agave. She needs less time than the typical American. After 6 years of aging in the bottle , it produces that explosion of fruity notes that you felt.
If this is the weakest of the three according to you, then I would like to drink such weak things until the end of my days. This is a wonderful drink. He has 50%, but alcohol is not dominant at all. There is no unpleasant hit. There are just such light, peaty notes, because agave is tanned. You know what? next one please.
Here are agaves growing in desert conditions, so great minerality, paprika notes. But look at all three. They are all transparent, made without barrels. What's the conclusion? A barrel is not a friend of good alcohol. The barrel is cognac.
The barrel is armagnac. But grappa or mezcal, if they're good, don't need cask at all. Dear friends, we are not moving anywhere today, so this is the perfect opportunity to show you our base for exploring Tulum and the surrounding area. This place is called Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa and it's a hotel complex that is on offer . Important note, what's on my t-shirt doesn't mean I've joined a bloodthirsty cult. It is simply one of the most important symbols of Mexico.
I bought this shirt yesterday. For example, read "Under the volcano" or watch, there is also a movie. And when you get up in the morning, always eat breakfast. Here, there are 7 restaurants, but breakfast is served only in one place, until 11. The breakfast room is quite large and the same selection of things to eat in the morning. Of course there is a huge buffet with everything we know from Europe and what we know from the States.
But I didn't come to the Yucatan, I didn't come to Mexico to get some scrambled eggs or an omelette or a ham and cheese roll. There is also an offer of local items. And this is the most important thing for me during every trip, from the very morning.
I took it modestly, not only because I'm a modest person, but also because I don't like to gorge myself in the morning. Well, yes, these are chilaquiles, or tortillas that were cut, fried, tortilla fritada, and then served with a sauce based on chipotle, onion, coriander and local cheese. Quite intense, a bit feta-like. And I made two tacos myself . Well, because there is a separate stand where they just bake tortillas on an ongoing basis and there are additions to tacos. That is very interesting.
Namely, it is a cactus, or opuntia. Opuntia strips stewed in tomato sauce, it's not spicy at all, but here it's not guacamole. This is a jalapeño based sauce. Oh yes. oh yes. I have even more sauce here, and it's boiled chicken, cooked with spices, and then torn into those typical Mexican stripes.
I added to it not only jalapeño sauce, but also onions, which were together with coriander, marinated in lime sauce. Café de olla, or Mexican coffee served in such clay jugs, but what is important in the same, only much larger pots, cooked together with additives. She looks like American coffee. Visually, when you look at it, it 's so translucent, but it's really strong. And the most beautiful thing that can be, i.e.
local fruits papaya, melon, local oranges. Okay, something more. Well, these hard and crunchy tortillas soften a bit under the influence of the sauce. It's just orgiastically good.
There's crunchiness, there's acidity from both cheese and lime, and finally there's jalapeño kick. This is how I start my day. The complex occupies a large space and on the first day I was a bit lost here. Well, because it's not such an idea to build one large, multi-story building with rooms for guests. This is modeled on the old Spanish-Mexican [acienda], or hacienda, as they say in Poland.
So we have these quadrilaterals and we have one-story buildings and each of these rooms with a balcony is a room, both downstairs and upstairs. But there are still places that stand out. Although most of the world's constitutions state that all people are created equal, as we know very well, this principle does not necessarily hold true in the hotel industry.
In the hotel industry, more usually means more, in this case more is what is on the ground floor, namely rooms that have direct access from the porch to their private pool. Well, I immediately say that I'm upstairs, this is my balcony, this is my hammock, I'm not jumping from floor to head here, into not my pool below. And in addition, these pools, although private, although only available to guests from those rooms, are not equipped with something like a certain pool that we will see today.
It is about 300 meters to the sea from my hammock. This is the beach owned by the hotel. And all this around is Tulum National Park, which is where we have a coral reef.
Here we have a beautiful coastline, we have a jungle, we have mangrove forests. Well, not here, but here anyway. And in general, our situation is not too bad and I hope that I will be able to match this entourage a bit in terms of cooking, although it will be cooking without cooking. Well, see, we have such a body of water, the Caribbean Sea, and fish in it.
And now it's freaking hot. And a way to eat this fish somehow, but not in a batter with chips. So it was invented, not here in South America, ceviche was invented. Two countries are arguing about where ceviche came from. Namely, Peru and Ecuador. But one thing is certain that in Mexico ceviche is also one of the national dishes today.
I said cooking without cooking. Well, yes, because we have the juice of the ubiquitous lime here, aka lime. And it is this juice, this acid contained in it, that makes the fish or seafood coagulate. Well, it doesn't matter what ceviche is made of, what kind of fish it is, or what kind of seafood it is.
You have to start with one specific thing. Namely, you should squeeze a lot of lime juice. What kind of fish is ceviche made of? From a fish fillet.
What will it be? Well, it could be tuna, some red fish, salmon. White fish is more delicate in our conditions, even cod would be perfect. Look, I have this on ice here, because the temperature is really high, to put it mildly. What kind of fillets do I have? This is sea bream.
Morlesz, I prepared myself for this and I know it, because I am really afraid of ichthyologists, because they know very well even from the appearance of the fillet what kind of fish it is. Me something wrong, say right away: "What are you talking about boy?" So you're sea bream. She was rinsed. I'm drying it now. And what is important with ceviche? Of course, the pieces can be whatever we want, but the smaller the cubes or stripes, the faster the protein in the lemon juice will set.
So it depends how much time we have. This fillet is not particularly thick. Well, see, we'll do it like this.
We're just going to make these cubes, and these cubes will go here now. You will see the color of the fish change almost instantly. It will turn white and that's how you check if everything is ready.
This, of course, would be good, after cutting the whole thing here, put it for half an hour - an hour in a cool place, but the nearest cool place is in the hotel. Refrigerator. So I'm going to put it in the shade right now. Important note, if you are making shrimp ceviche, the shrimp need to lie in it much longer. Anyway, I'll show you how it works when it's ready.
I have discarded the thinnest fragments. And now you have to bathe it all, after a while ... After a while it will turn white beautifully.
Is there anything now... What else is added inside? Yeah. There is one more thing that goes well with this lime juice. Specifically hot pepper.
I have two types here. Namely, it is a habanero. This is jalapeno.
And habanero will be better, because habanero is thinner, it's softer and besides being spicy, it has that citrus flavor. The board is the same, because it will lie here together anyway. Very hot pepper, I'll remove the seeds.
What do the locals do if they don't want the sharpness left on their hands to hit their private parts or the eye? They lubricate their hands with oil, then the sharpness does not soak into the hand. But I have no oil, I'll try to wash it in the sea. So we cut the habanero in half, we cut out the core, we take out the bulges and seeds, and we cut it into cubes. If you prefer stripes, I'm not insistent, but everything will be diced, so the habanero too. Habanero inside. If we did it in Ecuador or Peru, it would be a hot pepper called aji.
It's different here, but it's clearly visible now. Look, the fish turned white. We mix it, set it aside. Well, I forgot that there is one cool place here, or at least cooler. Namely, this ice here and the shadow. We put in, wait 15-20 minutes, clean up, move on.
The fish looks cooked. How is it known? After it's white everywhere. Of course the darker bits here, they've always been darker. The point is that in cross-section, in the places of the cut, it should have the same color as here. I forgot to salt it, but you can do it now too. You can at the beginning.
Sea salt and ingredients that are added to ceviche. They are somewhat conventional and somewhat dependent on the cook's invention. In some places olive oil is added to the ceviche. Here in the Yucatan, rarely. Well, for example, in Ecuador popcorn, corn, fried grains also go here very often , but I'll do it in a basic version, so to speak, so now you have to cut the red onion, tomatoes, these tomatoes into small cubes , I also took the green ones, so that you show them, but they are not to be eaten raw. They are eaten fried or made into an excellent sauce together with green jalapeño peppers.
Green cucumber, and cilantro, or coriander. I know, I said the habanero peppers at the beginning. Well, I said it in Polish, in Spanish you have to say [abanero]. Just like [acienda], not hacienda, but I speak Polish to you, so I know it. I mean, don't write later, some... we act, i.e. cube and mix and...
well, you'll see for yourself. Lastly, coriander, lots of coriander. I know some people don't like it, but it's just a matter of getting used to it. Coriander adds that wonderful lemon flavor, so again. White fish fillets marinated in a sauce made from lime juice. It was joined by habanero peppers aka abanero, salt, and then finely chopped vegetables.
Red onion, it can be white, tomato, cucumber and just coriander. I know some people who add sweet potatoes, or yams, to it. I already talked about popcorn. Well, there's a lot here, but it's a lot of possibilities and it's a wonderful, refreshing dish. What did Mexico do about it? What is his contribution? It's about accessories. It's wet, so if you served it on a regular tortilla, the tortilla would be soggy.
But we have fritada, or tostada. The perfect accompaniment to ceviche. Anyway, this is how ceviche was served to me in the hotel, the fish was cut into smaller pieces, probably so that it would marinate faster, but it doesn't matter. Look, see how wonderful it looks. The tortilla won't get wet, or at least if it does, I'll eat it first.
This is what it looks like when you look at it more broadly. This is the better pool in my humble opinion, because it is a pool equipped with a bar or a bar equipped with a swimming pool. This place is all inclusive but they don't give any wristbands here. You say the room number in restaurants, and in bars you just say what you want to drink. So what's important? The choice is important.
This is a selection of the best spirits from around the world. Well, since we are not in Egypt, of course I have nothing against Egypt, but Egyptian spirits are not my favorite, but Mexican spirits are. So I asked for two things. Margarita, a tequila-based cocktail.
It's an American invention, but there's also a Mexican answer to it, mesqualita, mezcal -based cocktails, and you're just struggling to make two. Namely , it will be mezcalita based on piñia, i.e. pineapple, and tangerine mezcalita. The dishes here are plastic. Why? Well, so that someone doesn't break something, so that the glass doesn't fall inside, so that it doesn't stick in your leg. Of course not in restaurants. It 's smart and it's beautiful. It flows slowly,
but the goodness releases slowly. Is it with pineapple? I don't know what he said, but I'll check organoleptically. Sour like celery.
Okay, I have no idea what it is, but what's inside is more important. Viva México. How hard to disagree with that, especially with something like that in your mouth. Fresh, crushed pineapple, mezcal, lime. Divine.