Tomatillo Salsa Recipe and Food & Wine Festival Ixtapa/Zihua, Mexico

Mexican breakfasts are something we love to treat ourselves to on occasion and we always consider it such a treat. The flavor, textures and exciting spices of a plate of chilaquiles or breakfast tacos is a champion breakfast that fuels us for the long days. And when we have the opportunity to feast on such breakfasts in Mexico, we feel double lucky.

This year we had the opportunity to experience not only Mexican breakfasts, but authentic local food at  Food & Wine Magazines annual festival again in Ixapa/Zihuatanejo.

 breakfast of fresh watermelon juice, bread & trio of salsas from Viceroy Zihuatanejo 

Last year we were invited to this event and were able to meet and photograph American Chef Rick Bayless along with a wonderful handful of local Mexican Chefs. This year, the roster was even more fabulous with mind-blowing talent from Chefs Michael Symon, Marcus Samuelsson, Patricia Quintana, Alfredo Oropeza, Daniel Ovadia and wine expert Mark Oldman. This assemblage of food talent was so diverse and terrific. We felt so incredibly lucky to be able to have private time to photograph them and document the event through our lens.

The Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is 3 days of cooking demo’s, classes, events and tours that explore the local flavors and food culture of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. Local food lovers, as well eaters from around the world gather in this gorgeous tiny costal town to celebrate Mexico’s 32 tastes from the 32 different states.

Here are some photo’s and highlights to share:

Chef Michael Symon , from Food Network and Top Chef, is so fun to be around such a great teacher. He always radiates energy and love of food. His demo on how to braise meat and how to source quality food was incredibly  informative. Chef Symon talked about the importance of searing meat before braising to enhance the flavor of braises.

Chef Michael Symon

Chef Patricia Quintana is one of Mexico’s most celebrated chefs. She is credited for starting Mexico City’s first Culinary Institute and owns the highly respected Izote restaurant in Mexico City. Chef Quintana shared her expertise on sourcing fresh fish and cooking with various chiles from Mexico.

Chef Patricia Quintana

Chef Patricia Quintana

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has won numerous awards for his cooking, including the James Beard Award for Best Chef New York City. His love  and respect of Mexican food was obvious. He shared his recipe for fish tacos and every time he talked about the local Mexican food and culture, his face would light up with joy.

Chef Alfredo Oropeza is one of Latin America’s most successful chefs and launched numerous television food shows. His vegan tofu miso and kale dip was fantastic.

Wine expert Mark Oldman shares his expertise at the wine, tequila and mescal tastings. Mark made understanding wine and spirits approachable and explained things in easy to understand concepts. And, Mark made it super fun.

Plenty of watermelon margaritas for refreshments were offered for re-hydration

Chef Daniel Ovadia –  one of Mexico’s youngest and most successful chefs cooked up a storm sharing some amazing authentic Mexican dishes. One of the dishes he made was wrapped in banana leaf, then wrapped in clay and cooked in an oven.

Viceroy Zihuatanejo hosted us for the 3 days. Their gorgeous, beachside  resort property was a honeymooners dream. Viceroy didn’t feel like staying in a traditional hotel. Each room was nestled away in private areas of the lush property, giving the feeling of staying in small private villas. Their  “floating beds” were a highlight and here’s the best visual description of what they are.

View of Playa de Ropa from Viceroy Zihuatanejo . All restaurants had this stunning view. If you want a quiet getaway with perfect beach access, this is the perfect place. And if you’re going on your honeymoon, then even better!

morning breakfast of fresh bread and chicken chilaquiles at Viceroy Zihuatanejo 

Last evening in Mexico

Thank you again to everyone at Food & Wine the whole team at Curator PR : Scott, Lisa, Anne Marie for the invitation and for providing all our travel and accommodations.

Below: rockstars of Curator PR who organized this amazing event

5 from 1 vote
Tomatillo Salsa
Total Time
30 mins

Recipe provided by the Viceroy Resort in Zihuatanejo.

Makes about 1 cup.

Servings: 4 Servings
  • 1 lb. (455 g) Green Tomatillo
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 lb (115 g) Habanero chile
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 piece avocado
  1. Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse. Boil the tomatillos, onion pieces, garlic and habanero chile for 25 minutes.
  2. Drain ingredients, allow to cool. Then Blend these ingredients with a little water.
  3. Season with salt to taste.
  4. You can add chopped onion and cilantro with some avocado.
  5. It is very delicious!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Karen T.

    Just finished making a triple batch of the tomatillo salsa–the flavor is amazing. I only used 1/4 lb habaneros (for a triple batch) and it still made a nice spicy salsa. Pureed it all up (including the cilantro and one whole avocado) in the Vitamix and it made a nice creamy salsa. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  2. binhtheredonethat

    I love Mexico, and the food. Your photos are breathtaking, what a fabulous experience you had with the amazing food.

  3. Cynthia Meza-Jaquez via Facebook

    Sooo jelly and inspired!

  4. Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas

    Wow, absolutely stunning post today (though you do that every time with every post). All the food looks incredible…and those drinks made me SO THIRSTY!!!! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  5. eeria

    Gorgeous photos! Would you be willing to share what lens you shot with at this event?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We shot the event using several lenses, choices depending on the perspective the lens would give us, how fast the particular lens focuses, and the distance from the subject we needed to be in order to remain the least intrusive for the session. We used the 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 105mm Macro, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm. With both of us shooting at the same time we would could different lenses so we each would have a unique perspective.

  6. Susan in the Boonies

    The picture of Marcus Samuelsson is absolutely KILLER! Bravo!!!

    And lately, I”ve tried several recipes by Iron Chef Symon, and wow: that dude can cook! And I just appreciate his down to earth attitude, and yes, you said it well: the joy he radiates.

    Hoping we’ll get Chef Samuelsson’s fish taco recipe shared with us as well!

    Spectacular setting. Spectacular photography! Well done!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      The photo is killer cause Marcus is so incredibly photogenic. The man glows in front of the camera. So fun to shoot. It was great meeting him too. A different personality than I expected, was very nice.
      There are some chefs that you just know can really cook, and chef Symon is one of them. All the chefs that were there can, of course, but Symon cooks the way we personally like to cook and eat.

  7. Tracy Grant

    You guys are the Rock Stars! Fabulous photos 🙂 I bet every chef loved them. Great work!

  8. MikeVFMK

    What a brilliant opportunity and experience. Loved the shots of all the chefs behind the scenes and in action. And the resort captures makes me want to get on a plane for a vacation with my wife. Absolutely beautiful guys.

  9. Lana

    Mexico is one of the countries that has to be a paradise for photographers passionate about food. I wish my skills with camera were beyond “idiot settings” when I went to Yucatan in 2010:) But I took a virtual trip through your post and relived some of the best memories of my life. Thanks for taking me along! And no, I am not jealous at all (grrr:)
    All I can say is Beautiful!

  10. Jennifer

    Wow! Thank you for sharing so much of this amazing event. Your photographs let me feel the sun on my skin and the breeze through my hair.

  11. Kate {Something Fabulous}

    Yum! I adore Mexican food 🙂

    Kate {Something Fabulous}

  12. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    Beautiful as always! I’m jealous you got to meet Chef Symon, he’s become one of my favorite tv chef personalities recently.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Loved Chef Symon. Sometimes the chef behind the scenes isn’t as appealing as their public personality, but Symon was awesome. Down to earth, bad-ass cooking dude. The type of guy you’d love to hang out with as well as sit down at a table with his cooking. It was great meeting him.

  13. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    Fabulous post! Love how you capture the best of the best

  14. Julius Droolius

    Beautiful photos! Colors are so vibrant and you captured it so well, as always. If you ever want to expand the event team, I’m here for you guys 😉 Cheers!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      You are at the top of our list, my man.

  15. green beans & grapefruit

    Pics look awesome and the trip looked like a great experience. Thanks for sharing!

  16. brandi

    pretty sure i need some of those watermelon margaritas this weekend!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      The watermelon margaritas might be something we need every weekend, all summer long. 😉

  17. Katie @ Epicurean Mom

    What a spectacular event! Food, wine, margaritas, amazing chefs! Sounds like my kind of party!

  18. Laura Janelli via Facebook

    Looks like it was a a lot of fun! the watermelon margaritas look so good! I’m going to try your tomatillo recipe. Love that you add habanero to it! Thanks for sharing! <3 Chef Laura at Home

  19. susan

    Zihuatanejo is one of my all time favorite destinations. Before kids, it was our sanctuary! Quite an impressive group, T & D! Looks like you shared a few days of great food, creative souls, laughter, and hopefully some R + R! You two deserve all of the blessings that are coming your way!

  20. Lauren

    This looked like an amazing event to attend! Good food + good company always means a fabulous time!

  21. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife

    Your pictures, ooo your pictrures, I always feel like I am right there with you when I read your posts. What a beautiful, wonderful trip! How great it must have been to meet all of those wonderful chefs!

  22. Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook

    All I have to say is WOW!!! I love Ixtapa and would have LOVED to been there. I’m a HUGE fan of Chef Oropeza and would have loved to chat with him and all the other fabulous chefs. WOW! Gorgeous photos as always. Thanks for sharing with us!!!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Chef Oropeza was awesome. Full of life and all smiles. It was fun meeting him this year.

  23. JulieD

    Wow…wow just wow. So beautiful and serene, that’s the feeling I get from your photographs! Makes me want to go there!

  24. Viola Grifin

    Those are amazing photos and you really did a great job at documenting the food $ wines festival at Ixtapa. I kind of envy you because you actually had the opportunity of personally meeting some of the chefs. This is a privilege for any food lover because it offers you the opportunity to learn how to prepare a few dishes. If you attend next years event you should consider recording some food demos and share them on your blog.

  25. Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic

    Let me just inhale again. I feel like I just breathed out one very long sighhhhhhhhhh ….

  26. sreebindu116

    love the shape of the bread =) looks like so much fun in mexico.

  27. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Wow, this truly looks like paradise! I’ve seen a few other bloggers post scenes from the Festival and although they made it look “really nice”, you’ve made me want to buy a plane ticket and sign up a year in advance for the next one. Truly unbelievably awesome looking!

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