Ladies Who Lunch in Mexico?

Published 06 July 11 11:23 AM

Written by Steve Dryden

Ladies Who Lunch?

Ladies Who Lunch are a dynamic group of American, Mexican , Asian and Canadian women safely and securely living in the Ensenada region of Baja California Norte. Each month these vivacious women pick a date to meet and explore new and old culinary establishments in this charming seaport city, often bringing bottles of wine to share with one another. These brave ladies who desire  premium wine and gourmet culinary delights have many diverse venues to research, as Ensenada has become “the Wine and Gourmet Cuisine Capital of Mexico” in recent years. With over forty top chefs, three culinary schools and over fifty wineries in the area, the possibilities are unlimited.

Alert and wise business owners fully understand the dynamics of groups like this who can “spread the good word” to friends, family and visitors about their culinary venues via email, internet, blogs, web sites, and social media connections like Face Book and Twitter. This is especially important with fewer international visitors and during slow economic times. One factor that has saved many local businesses from bankruptcy has been the local support from both Mexican and American residents. Many people here aren’t aware that thousands of foreigners now reside in and around the city of Ensenada. And, many of these folks love wine and gourmet cuisine. Mexico’s growing economy and expanding middle-class helps matters too.

Three key elements allowing Ensenada to emerge as the wine and food capital of Mexico are: proximity to Mexico’s premier  wine region, an abundance of fresh, local seafood, and a large portfolio of artisan products to supplement the evolution of the wine culture. When you factor in the number of talented chefs in the region, the many wine and food festivals, locally harvested or raised fish, shellfish and produce, it all adds up to a blessing for wine and culinary lovers. For example, a passionate chef in this city can drive out to the wine country in twenty minutes, meet with the winemakers, explore the available portfolio of wines, and decide which ones to marry with his culinary delights. Where else in Mexico can you do this?

Ensenada presents over sixty wine and culinary events each year. One event really confirms this city as the Wine and Gourmet Food Capital. Every August a group of devoted wine and food lovers called La Cofradia hosts a wine and food pairing competition inside the cruise ship terminal, along the shores of Ensenada Bay. Forty top chefs from Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Rosarito and Ensenada are paired with local wineries in a competition to see who can best pair gourmet cuisine with wine from Baja California. Our winemakers and chefs are getting so good at this skill, that most years it is almost impossible to pick one winner. When you take into consideration that we now produce the best oysters in the world, have an abundance of fresh seafood in our bays and ocean, it’s no wonder that so many wine and gourmet food lovers are calling this town home.

Ladies Who Lunch are an offshoot of Mexico’s “silent revolution in creating a handful of world-class wines.” As wine regions emerge from creating marginal wines to drinkable ones, the wine culture soon follows and evolves alongside, providing culinary wonders and artisan products, often generating more chefs and  new restaurants in the region. Ensenada is a prime example of that phenomena. Ladies Who Lunch are a friendly group of educated and intelligent people who understand that you can live a “world class” life in Ensenada with great wine, gourmet cuisine and near-perfect weather ~ for less than one half of the cost of any other similar city in the world. When it comes to wine, women, weather and gourmet cuisine, it looks like Ensenada has everything! Don’t worry, sooner or later the men will figure it out too.

Steve Dryden is a local wine, culinary, travel and film writer who is (sometimes) allowed to join the Ladies for lunch.


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