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“Enjoyable experience”

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Mexican Home Cooking School and B&B
Ranked #1 of 7 Tlaxcala B&B and Inns
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Pickup at the airport in Mexico City went smoothly and the trip over the mountains to Tlaxcala was scenic. We were greeted by Estela and Jon and a home made margarita. Rooms are spacious and elegant and comfortable in classic Mexican style. Classes at 10am followed breakfast at 9am, and usually go for two to three hours. Estela taught us so many useful techniques in addition to learning many new recipes, that we feel we can now go on our own for Puebla style cuisine. In the afternoons, we took taxi trips to Puebla, Chulula, markets near the source of Talavera pottery as well as Tlaxcala city all arranged by Jon. Tlaxcala has a traditional city square that was like going back in time to more relaxed days. There was always something going on in the square. Be sure to see the murals in the government building and the local museum. Everyone there was friendly and helpful and there are few tourists. The cooking was fun, the atmosphere relaxed and the overall experience very positive.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Tom G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 38 of 83 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2014

Just returned from a week of Mexican cooking clases. More specifically, Pueblan style Mexican cooking. Where do I begin... All went smoothly. I was picked up at the airport in Mexico City as scheduled. The drive to tlaxcala is filled with wonderful views. It is through the mountains on a very modern highway. Arriving at Casa Carmelita, I was greeted by Jon, one of the owners, husband and sous chef to Estella. My room was a casita which was well decorated and private. The view from my patio kept me fascinated every morning while I had my tea and read before breakfast was served on a patio surrounded by flowers and trees. Some mornings and some evenings, I had a fire in the white stucco fireplace in my room. Most relaxing. School began at 10 am each morning. Classes were professional and lots of fun! Estella is an amazing chef with first hand knowledge of the area. The food was the best I have had in all of Mexico!
Lunch was served on the patio. Afternoons were trips to sites. This is a beautiful area of Mexico. The people of tlaxcala are friendly and honestly glad to meet a tourist. The kitchen at the Casa is large and bright. Decorations are, of course, Mexican. All done with class. The house and rooms could be featured in a Mexican version of an upscale decorating magazine. Jon and Estella have thought of everything to make this week a memorable vacation. I will return.

Stayed: February 2014
Thank Carol289
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

Our trip to Casa Carmelita fulfilled our dream of wanting to learn to cook Pueblan cuisine in the heart of Mexico, most particularly, the variety of Moles from this region. And our hosts, Jon and Estela were such wonderful hosts, making our dream a reality.

The cooking school is located about 75 miles east of Mexico City, just outside the pueblo of Tlaxcala. It is isolated out in the country, above the town. It is very quiet and peaceful (except for the train the runs twice a day through the town below and loves to blow its whistle to announce its arrival!) Jon and Estela have built a beautiful hacienda over the years, and the attention to detail shows in every aspect. You will pass, at a distance, the semi-active volcano of Popocatepetl, and catch a glimpse of Malinche, the face of the traitor woman who betrayed the Mexican people against Cortes. Also, I will mention here that if some of you contemplating a trip into and through Mexico City are concerned for your safety.....forget about it! We felt very safe on all of our excursions, a few of them on our own as well to Puebla and small outside towns. The people here are very friendly and helpful.

The accommodations are very comfortable, clean, and spacious. They set each room up the night before with wonderful Chiapas coffee in your in-room brewer - perfect for us early risers that need that first cup before breakfast. And if you are lucky, you might wake up to a spectacular sunrise, like we did. Cool mornings might call for a nice fire in your in-room fireplace. The wood and kindling are provided, and it's best to ask Jon to set you up the night before. We had the Stone Suite, and it was awesome. We also visited the other suites of our new friends/classmates, and any room you might get is great and unique in it's own way.

So the typical day might be as follows: You meet for breakfast at 8 A.M. outside on the patio (perfect vacation setting!) or inside at the table in the kitchen. After breakfast, you meet back in the kitchen, where everything is now set up for class. You will prepare five to eight dishes per day. You get working copies of recipes, so I'd advise you to take notes on them - it will come in handy once you are home and on your own!. At the end of the week, you will get a nice printed booklet of these recipes as well as your "diploma".

Class is finished around 12:30 - 1:00 PM. You then meet back for lunch eating two of the dishes the whole class just prepared. At about 2 P.M. you can leave for any excursion you made arrangements for with Jon. Jon then makes arrangements for private taxi drivers he knows and trusts to take you into the towns, wait for you, and bring you back safely - all for a reasonable set price. This prevents any need to bargain with the driver on a price, or you overpaying them. You usually have the driver for about four hours, typically. You will get back by 6 P.M., and meet for dinner at 7 P.M. You can also just stay at the hacienda after lunch and just hang out, read, and relax, as some did.

We took advantage of the excursions to fully immerse ourselves in this wonderful region in Mexico...you simply must! Our trip to the Friday Market was fun, and you'll see a unique side of Mexico here. We were the only tourists! We enjoyed the city of Puebla, and so much so that we made two visits. Before you go, you have to research what the towns of Tlaxcala and Puebla offer, and make it a point to visit places, for example, like the Chapel of the Rosary in Puebla - it is simply stunning, and as stunning as churches in Italy and other parts of Europe. Visit the bakery and bring pan de huevos back to your room to enjoy with morning coffee! Also, visit one of the last pulquerias in this region and sample the pulque drink - it is awesome (similar to a yogurt drink, but made from the fermented nectar of the maguey plant. We enjoyed the artist's district, and street if sweets! If you can remember, save room to sample the Mole Poblano, the famous mole of Puebla, at many of the restaurants. Vist the many Talavera shops for this famous colorful and detailed type of pottery. Stop inside the famous Catedral de Puebla, with the highest bell towers in Mexico. Visit the ruins of Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl. Visitors are few at these relatively recent archaeological sites. You will be amazed at how well preserved the murals are at Cacaxtla, and enjoy climbing to the top of the pyramid at Xochitecatl. Amazing! We also ventured into a small town for the de barro pottery...the classic clay pottery of Mexico.

We enjoyed working in the kitchen with Jon and Estela. Jon has such a calm demeanor as he sets up the kitchen and prep area, being the Sous Chef. He also arranges the excursions, and keeps things in the kitchen moving at a comfortable level. Estela will give you a lot of tips when preparing the ingredients for the final dishes. She has a great sense of humor, as does Jon, so things are kept on the light side as well. This makes the time fly incredibly fast for the typical three hours you spend in the kitchen each day. Be sure to take notes of some of the techniques. You will learn to make some of the most wonderful moles you will ever taste. If anything, we learned adjust our own recipes, perhaps backing off on the cumin. Some of the dishes we prepared in class were a little heavy on that spice, covering up the other ingredients. Another dish we learned to make was the Chile en Nogada. This is a complex dish who's final rewards are great, being a poblano pepper stuffed with meat and fruit, and covered with and a walnut cream sauce - awesome!

So if you are contemplating taking this cooking class, go for it, you will not have any regrets and will see a very beautiful side of Mexico with warm and inviting people.

I have a detailed report posted elsewhere on the internet with photos and videos of the class, the grounds, and the excursions if you are interested. Please message me for a link!

Go and enjoy your trip.....we did!

Room Tip: Each of three rooms is unique, and we visited each one. There is no "one' room to recommen...
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TheWindyCity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

Right from our initial enquiries prior to booking the school, Jon and Estella were friendly and helpful. Everything was explained from the outset (including transfers) and there were no nasty surprises at any stage. Jon and Estella compliment each other wonderfully, and their hospitality is welcoming and sincere. Each day's recipes were unique to the region with a great variety including local ingredients and styles. Being the only 2 on the course there was nowhere to hide when it came to hands on and was a great learning experience. Jon's skills on the blender produce a great margarita to accompany lunch. Trips to Tlaxcala, Puebla and Cholula were easily organised for us and showed us great areas, sights, and people that all went together to make our trip so memorable. A visit to the local market and church were brilliant.. We thank them for creating life long memories.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank strongarmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We spent a week with Estela on the Mexican Home Cooking course (as the 2nd week of our honeymoon) and quite honestly it was one of the nicest weeks of my life!

It feels very much like a large, authentic mexican home; various accommodation (we stayed in the cottage, which was great - felt a bit more secluded). The kitchen itself is really beautiful - it's in the main house, the lessons were in the morning only, very informal & fun, but also very informative. Came back with a print-out folder full of recipes, plenty of new ingredients (we stocked up on dried chillis, epasote, chocolate for mole negro etc), and a reinforced love of mexican food.

Lovely welcoming home, great food, and I'm still making her Puerco en Adobo as a dinner-party staple. Couldn't recommend it highly enough.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lorrinb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

I traveled solo over last Thanksgiving and though I missed spending the usual holiday time with my family, the experience I had more that made up for it. The accommodations are wonderful. Each room is tastefully decorated in local decor and has it's own bathroom and fireplace which Jon will set up for you each night so that you can start a fire whenever you are ready. He even puts a little arrow to indicate where you should light the wood. By the end of the trip, I felt like I had accomplished something when I could start my own fire without his help.
Each morning would start with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate (delicious!) that was brought to the room before breakfast which was eaten either outside or in the kitchen. Maria does and excellent job of keeping the rooms in order and making sure you have enough towels and blankets. the food that we had there was top notch. I don't think I ate anything that I didn't like, and a lot of the dishes were new to me. The cooking classes themselves were run like a well oiled machine with Jon, Carmelita and Maria sharing the work. Jon would tell stories behind the dishes and walk you through the written recipes and Carmelita and Maria would be at the stove showing you the steps. There is a fair amount of hands on activity as the meals you made early in the day would be eaten for lunch and dinner.
The school is actually right outside of Tlaxcala and there are a few different afternoon trips that you can take while visiting Casa Carmelita. I spent a couple of days in Tlaxcala visiting outdoor markets and the art museum and sitting in the park enjoying the free wifi. I also took a day trip to Puebla which was a very enjoyable experience... lots of shopping to do there so go prepared.
Jon was great at arranging transportation to anywhere you wanted to go and went the extra mile to translate and negotiate with the shop owners at one of the stores when one of my classmates accidentally broke some merchandise.
Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that I truly enjoyed. The only reason that I gave a 4 out of 5 ( 3.5 not available) rating is that the wifi in the house did not work the entire time that I was there which was very disappointing as I had planned to be able to call home with the wifi calling on my cell phone. I feel that if you advertise free wifi, then you really need to have it available. I was basically out of touch until I was able to go into town and use the wifi in the park. The only other issue was the arrangements for returning to the airport weren't clear. Transportation from and to the airport in Mexico city was included in the package. We were picked up by a shuttle at the beginning of the trip and were going to be given a voucher for the public bus at the end (not explained on the website). It felt as if we were being left on our own after our week was finished. I ended up paying another $100 US to hire a driver to take me back to the airport as I was not comfortable catching the public bus back to Mexico City.

Room Tip: I stayed in the Blue Room. It was the furthest away from the kitchen entrance and had a lovely patio...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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Thank MaBeeDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I was a little nervous about signing up for my week at Casa Carmelita as a single woman, but I need not have been. Everyone in my group was friendly and fun, and we ended up doing all our excursions as a group. My favorite excursions were visiting the open air farmers‘ market and going to Puebla to shop. I felt completely safe wherever we went; in fact, I was impressed by how warm the local people were, always meeting a smile with a smile. As mentioned in the previous reviews, the cooking classes were very well planned and orchestrated. Jon and Estella made every class a delight - informative and interesting, with a lot of laughter. We came away with many delicious recipes. While teaching us how to make each dish, Jon also told us a lot about the history and culture of Mexico. The accommodations were charming and comfortable. I truly felt sad when the week came to an end.

My one recommendation would be to invest in a noise reduction machine. I brought an small, inexpensive one from home, and my sleep was never disturbed by the firecrackers and celebrations that happened randomly during some of the nights.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Stacey H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mexican Home Cooking School and B&B

Address: Apdo. 64, Tlaxcala 90000, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Central Mexico and Gulf Coast > Tlaxcala > Tlaxcala
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Tlaxcala
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mexican Home Cooking School is located at "Casa Carmelita" in the country side 15 min outside of the city of Tlaxcala. The main house is a comfortable "hacienda" style home. There is one large double accommodation with private patio, one 2 room suite and a private detached stone cottage with private garden. All accommodations have a private entrance, en-suite bath and fireplace. The setting is rural with a seasonal lake, gardens, fountains and surrounded by 3 volcanoes. ... more   less 

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