Jun 292000
 

Whether there is two of you or twelve hundred, there is a place where you can celebrate in style. If you don’t book for a party and just want a simple meal, you can start off with lime and cream soup of cilantro, followed by chicken pibil or turkey in black landfill, or poc-chuc or Chile xcatic landfill of cazon. There are several other entrees to choose from like Lomitos of Valladolid or smoked meat Teya or even ‘beast filet to the yucateca’. For desert try caramel of the house, poor gentlemen or white and sweet food of papaya with cheese.

And yes, the food here will be served in the original stone plates that keep the food hot.

Susan and Stan have just been to Monnickendam, an old historic port on the inland sea near Amsterdam. They had lunch in a café dating from the 1600s. I thought of them when I went to the Hacienda Teya in Yucatan dating from 1683. Susan and Stan spend quality time in real time together and probably use bicycles. I get up early and use the mouse! This delightful place was recommended by my friend Carmel who has just been there (in real time).

http://www.merida.com.mx/haciendateya/ should have got me there, but it did not. I’m becoming quite cunning. If one way does not work, try another. The keywords Mexico and hacienda fed into the search engine got me there immediately.

Hacienda Teya was founded around 1683 by Doña Ildefonsa Antonia Marcos Bernejo Calderon y de la Helguera, wife of Count Miraflores. Originally it was a large agricultural plantation and cattle ranch. Later it became one of the most important sisal plantations in the region. The present owners bought it in 1974 in a state of complete ruin with just 45 hectares of land, probably all that remained of the original estate. Restoration started in 1974 and the restaurant opened in September, 1995.

There is the palatial main building with a few guest rooms, the machinery house, a herb garden, a sun-dial and the little private chapel of St. Ildefonso with fine paintings and carvings by Yucatan artists.

The Hacienda Teya, incidentally, is near Merida on the outskirts of the fabulous Mayan ruins of Uman, not far from Uxmal, Xlapak, Ticul and others which I will visit in due course.

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Some years ago we were invited to a traditional Goan family feast in a four hundred years old Portuguese-style mansion in the village of Aguada. The village is a mile inland from the famous Fort Aguada Resort. The menu was mysterious and included stuffed baby squid.

In India we lack a sense of history. Half the building and outhouses are still with the DeSouza family, who generously donated the other half to the Church for a clinic – on condition that the exterior of the building – a wooden structure with gables, turrets and lovely proportion would be preserved. Sadly this covenant was not honored.