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A Journey Into Paradise

Record Crowds in International Gourmet Festival in Puerto Vallarta

04 January, 2015

Each year in November,the celebrated International Gourmet Festival comes to Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit,which overlook the waters of Banderas Bay along Mexico’s Pacific coast. As the festival’s 20th anniversary,2014 saw a record number of more than 30 world-renowned chefs from four continents,along with 29 participating restaurants represented at the festival,which took place from Nov. 13-24 and drew a large crowd of more than 20,000 foodies and gourmet fans from around the world.

“The venue was brimming with talented local and visiting international chefs,as well as attending guests and “foodies” who thoroughly appreciated the divine bites and sips being presented,” writes attending journalist Bonnie Carroll,a resident of Santa Barbara,Calif.,which also happens to be Puerto Vallarta’s sister city.

The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta hosted the opening night gala,which featured cuisine from top local and visiting chefs in a “Gourmet Village” that was constructed especially for this 10-day event. This year festival founders,organizers and internationally acclaimed chefs Thierry Blouet,Heinz Reize and Roland Menetrey went out of their way to prepare a program that would tempt and delight the taste buds of attendees.

“Additional events during the festival include a progressive dinner spread across four different restaurants in Puerto Vallarta,as well as a jazz,wine and cheese reception,” writes Travel Age West. “Rounding out the offerings are theme nights at some of the city’s best-known restaurants,including Michel’s,Kaiser Maxmilian,the River Café,Trio and Coco Tropical.”

To date,Reize says 490 chefs have visited the festival from all corners of the world,and more than 30 vineyards also participated in 2014,which saw “more participants,more guest chefs and more events,” than any prior year,according to Chef Blouet. Other events included a la carte gourmet dining; Chef’s Table and Winemaker’s nights; Gourmet Safaris; cheese,beer and chocolate tastings; cooking demonstrations; culinary classes; and brunch buffets at participating restaurants throughout Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.

“We have no clue how far this festival can go because food lifts the spirits,” shared Chef Reize in an interview with Banderas News. “We’re so proud of these past 20 years,because they have triggered amazing culinary feats.”

A sampling of offerings at various events during the International Gourmet Festival in Puerto Vallarta include marrow crusted filet mignon with caramelized onion quenelle,foam goat cheese and a demi-glace with truffle essence; a fig tarta with honey ice cream and red fruit compote as a light dessert; or a crab cake with mango sauce served with caramelized red onions in chili sauce.

Visit www.festivalgourmet.com for more information about this annual culinary extravaganza!

Puerto Vallarta is quickly becoming an internationally recognized gastronomic hotspot,attracting a wide variety of talent and boasting a number of Mexico’s top restaurants. Guess it’s no surprise that this chic beach town also hosts the ever-popular Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Week,which enjoyed its 10th year this May and is one of the longest-running contemporary culinary events.

Click here to read more about why Puerto Vallarta remains one of the world’s leading destinations.