The awards and accolades for San Miguel de Allende have been racking up in recent years but it has long been an enchanting and captivating destination. SMA is situated at an altitude of 6,400 feet with a refreshing year round spring-like climate and a beautiful mountainous backdrop. The cobblestone
streets, pastel colored buildings, baroque Spanish architecture, and old churches make for a truly special ambiance. The culinary scene is absolutely flourishing so join The Chopping Block’s Chef Quincy Bissic to journey to this picture-perfect colonial town to discover all it has to offer!
This 6-night tour provides lots of special experiences plus time for you to discover the city and its outskirts on your own. Our group will have exclusive use of 9-room Casa Calderoni, a quaint, well-located, and comfortable B&B. Enjoy three hands-on cooking classes and food markets; local cuisine from fine dining to street food; history, archeology, and astronomy; tequila, mezcal, and margaritas; and talents of local craftspeople, artisans, and musicians. We’ll also partake in whatever cultural events are happening during our time in SMA where fireworks and festivals are almost daily happenings. As you’ll see, there’s plenty of inspiration and in this magical place... lots to celebrate!
We’ll be based at this charming and lauded B&B. The 9 artist-themed rooms are reserved for our group
and we’ll enjoy exclusive use of Casa Calderoni and its amenities including the rooftop terrace with stunning views. Located just 3 blocks from the city center, the B&B offers clean and comfortable en suite
accommodations plus excellent service.
Chef Quincy Bissic of The Chopping Block
Quincy has been a Chef Instructor with The Chopping Block since 2006. He has a great passion for cooking and enjoys teaching others to cook. When he is not at The Chopping Block, he can be found trying out new recipes on friends and family.
Quincy enjoys frequent travels to San Miguel de Allende, where he checks out the many new and exciting restaurants opened by chefs from all over the globe. He looks forward to bringing this group of new friends to one of his favorite places!
Quincy has documented his travel to SMA for years for The Chopping Block. Read his latest post: A Chef's Travels through San Miguel de Allende: Food & Faces.
Molly Crist of Onward Travel
Molly grew up on a farm in PA where her mother and grandmother taught cooking classes to culinary enthusiasts for nearly 25 years. Before starting Onward Travel in 2013, Molly owned and operated a gourmet food truck in Michigan and operated a recreational cooking school. Molly studied Hotel Administration at Cornell University and lives on an apple orchard in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Bienvenido a México!
Day 1: Thursday, April 16
Journey today to Mexico’s highlands. A transfer will be organized for you from Del Bajío Airport in Leon (BJX) or Querétaro Airport (QRO). We’ll convene early evening for a welcome toast at our homebase, Casa Calderoni B&B. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to stretch your legs after traveling and take in some of the sights and sounds of this beautiful city. An expert guest speaker will join us this evening to provide an introduction to Mexican cuisine and the restaurant scene in SMA. Mexican cuisine is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and you’ll experience many of its facets over this week long tour. Tonight we’ll dine at one of Quincy’s favorite spots, La Posadita, where the traditional dishes, margaritas, and views are perfect. You’ll learn about Mexican cooking and use ingredients like cactus, chiles, and amaranth. Sip Mexican wine and expand your culinary knowledge with Chef Gaby.
Exploring Culture & Cuisine
Day 2: Friday, April 17
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at Casa Calderoni, as you will each morning, complete with fresh fruit and made-to-order hot options. Then we’re off on a historical walking tour to learn how this 500 year-old colonial village became the “cradle” of Mexican Independence. We’ll visit Parroquia - San Miguel’s iconic landmark church, Bellas Artes - once a convent, then San Miguel’s first school of art, now a cultural center, Vida y Obra de General Ignacio Allende - David Siqueiros’ famous unfinished mural, and so much more. This walking tour social enterprise is headed by volunteers, so all income is directed toward medical and dental care for children in the campos and we’ll learn about this important effort.
Hungry yet? Time for a street food lunch! SMA has a fabulous street food culture with many terrific, authentic stands serving up tacos, corn, tortas, birria, so much more. We’ll enjoy it then end our time together with helado at Quincy’s favorite spot in El Jardín, the main plaza. Enjoy the afternoon as your leisure. Tonight we reconvene for a special cooking class! Chef Gaby, a native of Mexican City, has run
four restaurants and a food truck over the past 20 years. She invites us into her restaurant kitchen for a lively, hands-on class where you’ll learn about Mexcian cooking and use ingredients like cactus, chiles, and amaranth. Sip Mexican wine and expand your culinary knowledge with Chef Gaby.
Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
SMA as You Like It
Day 3: Saturday, April 18
Since it’s Saturday in San Miguel de Allende, we’ll leave today flexible for festivals and cultural events happening in the city. There’s always something fun going on! But first, accompany Chef Quincy to
the weekly organic food market that features food and produce stalls plus prepared food vendors. Admire the beautiful products and then enjoy some lunch. The vendors have creative fare, for example… garbanzo and cactus in a guajillo chile broth and stewed rabbit and tortillas handmade with locally grown varieties of corn.
Today is also a great day for an optional excursion! Onward Travel is happy to help you organize a wine tour, horseback riding excursion, or hot air balloon ride. We’ll have cocktails together this evening and
the rest of the night is yours to dine in SMA and enjoy the nightlife.
Day 4: Monday, April 20
Today features a cooking class at the Sazón Cooking School, located in an 18th-century mansion at luxury hotel Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada. The group will be divided in two small groups so you’ll either have a morning/lunch class or afternoon/dinner class. Visit a food market with Chef Ruben to sample and admire the local products. The class will feature healthy Mexican cooking. Use organic, seasonal ingredients to create inspiring dishes. Chef Ruben is informative and engaging and the class culminates with a wonderful three-course meal.
To gain some more delicious knowledge, we’ll head to La Mezcalería to taste and learn about Mexico’s hottest spirit, Mezcal. This smoky spirit made from agave is worth the craze its started. Sample a few different Mezcals and perhaps some fried grasshoppers!
Meals Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Day 5: Sunday, April 19
Today we’ll head an hour west of San Miguel de Allende to visit the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological zone, recently opened to the public. Our expert guide will provide an introduction to the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico through visits to the site which was occupied between 540 and 1050 A.D by the Otomi people. Next we’ll visit the Museum of Prehispanic Astronomy, led by Dr. Rossana Quiroz Ennis. We’ll have an explanation of the architectonic, geographic, and astronomical landscape of Cañada de la Virgen to build on the site we just saw, then dine on a prehispanic lunch featuring indigienous ingredients inspired by the Mesoamerican calendar and the sacred entities that were honored according to the seasons and time of the year.
Partake in siesta this afternoon or a bit of shopping. Quincy’s friends, Marty & Jeff, invite us for a happy hour at their lovely home overlooking the city. Quincy will make a featured cocktail! Dinner tonight is a special occasion at The Restaurant, a chic and popular spot with a native Californian chef/owner.
Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Quincy, Marty & Fernando
Art, Tequila & Cooking with Chef Quincy
Day 6: Tuesday, April 21
Savor a leisurely morning on our last full day together. It’s a perfect opportunity to visit a museum, go souvenir shopping, or visit the expansive Tuesday market with Chef Quincy as he shops for tonight’s
dinner. Or simply stroll the beautiful streets of SMA! After lunch, we’ll visit Fábrica La Aurora, a renovated textile mill home to galleries, design stores, a bookstore, cafes, exhibition spaces, and studios
for local artists. Enjoy this showcase of Mexican craftsmanship and partake in a painting workshop to create your own special keepsake from our trip together!
A private tequila tasting awaits us at historic La Casa Dragones, the original 17th century stables of the legendary Dragones cavalry of San Miguel de Allende. We’ll partake in a comprehensive tasting of Casa Dragones Joven, to learn about the techniques and craft behind the “World’s #1 Sipping Tequila.” Now we’re in the mood for a fun evening! We’re preparing our own dinner tonight at Casa Calderoni, led by Chef Quincy. Dive in hands-on or watch from the sidelines as we create a delicious feast together. Buen provecho!
Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Wednesday, April 22
No activities are scheduled today and we wish you a safe journey home or to your next destination. Onward Travel will organize airport transfers.
Begins: Thursday, April 16, 2020 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Welcome toast at Casa Calderoni at 5pm. Airport transfer organized per your arriving flight.
Ends: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
No activities are scheduled. Airport transfer organized per your departing flight.
Suitability & Mobility: This tour includes walking for 15-30 minutes at a time, plus stairs and cobblestones. We will be mostly getting around SMA on foot and not all facilities have elevators
so stairs should be expected. Travelers may always opt out of activities they deem too physically challenging but refunds will not be provided.
Trip Length: 7 days, 6 nights
Tour Dates & Price: April 16-22, 2020
Contact Onward if you are interested in extending your stay. Note that air travel is not included and a
current passport is required for travel to Mexico. You are welcome to pay by credit card, please add a 3% surcharge.
The tour will start and end with transfers to/from Del Bajío Airport in Leon (BJX) or Querétaro Airport (QRO). For Chicago-based folks, note there are nonstop flights from Midway to BJX with Volaris Airline but you’ll want to arrive a day early as the daily flight lands after 7pm. There are options with American and United with domestic connections for the trip dates. Please wait to book international airfare until we’ve reached the minimum number of required participants. Contact Onward Travel for assistance booking flights.
Trip price includes the following:
Visit onwardtravel.co to complete the registration form and submit payment. Space is limited to only 14 travelers.
$1,000 deposit due upon booking, balance due by February 1, 2020.
April is a wonderful time to travel to San Miguel de Allende. Average high temperatures hover between 73° and 88°F year round but there’s very little rain or humidity in April. Temperatures dip in the evenings but expect pleasant summer weather during the days and lots of sunshine. You’ll notice there isn’t much air conditioning in the city so be prepared for some heat but all in all, the lovely climate is one of SMA’s most desirable traits! Onward Travel will provide packing notes in advance of the trip.
MISCELLANEOUS TRAVEL INFO
Contact Molly with questions or special requests at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-293-2729.