The Festival Gourmet International has once again taken its place as a benchmark in the world of cuisine as it kicked-off its 25th edition. Scheduled to continue until November 24, 2019, in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Tepic, the culinary festival is one of the most important of its type in Mexico and generates more than $600,000 in restaurant and event participation.
One of Mexico’s longest-running culinary festivals, the FGI is a natural fit with Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the country’s top gastronomic scenes. Truly a foodie destination, the city boasts almost 350 food establishments, ranging from typical street food stands run by families who have sold tacos and ceviches for generations to Five Star Diamond Award restaurants offering the latest in international dishes.
“The Festival Gourmet International is a great example of how the city’s natural beauty and source of fresh ingredients can inspire for chefs from Mexico and around the world, to create an exciting amalgam of flavors that blend traditional Mexican ingredients with contemporary tastes from across the globe,” said Javier Aranda, Director of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board.
Host restaurants for the FGI include Azafrán Restaurante Bar, Barrio Bistro, Café Des Artistes, Coco Tropical, El Dorado, Emiliano, Hector’s Kitchen, Icú, Kaiser Maximilian, La Terraza Di Roma, La Palapa, Le Kliff, LOMA42, River Café, Stars, Trío, Tuna Blanca, Xiklo, Andrea, Azur, Bordeaux, Divum, Eugenia, Las Casitas, La Casona, La Corona, LUCCA, Mozzamare and Tukipa.
The first FGI, brainchild of renowned European chefs Thierry Blouet and Heinz Reize, was held in 1995. Five years later, Blouet and Reize were joined by another great chef, Roland Menetrey, and the trio would gain fame as Puerto Vallarta’s “culinary Three Musketeers.” The three chefs have since set up shop in Puerto Vallarta, where they have fallen in love with the destination’s beautiful Bay of Banderas, which they have found to be the perfect setting to fuse their refined cuisine with the ingredients that this land offers.
Six hotels and six independent restaurants participated in the first edition of the FGI, and it is estimated that more than 23,000 people have participated in the festival’s many activities. The original format of the festival remains unchanged: Each participating restaurant invites a celebrity from the world of culinary arts, so that diners enjoy this extraordinary fusion of chef and destination.
This year, Puerto Vallarta is also celebrating that its particular local spirit, Raicilla, has been given its own certification of origin. A cousin of tequila, Raicilla is a centuries-old drink traditionally made in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding towns such as El Tuito, San Sebastian del Oeste and Yelapa. Today, local mixologists are working with the spirit, once called the “moonshine of Puerto Vallarta,” to craft specialty cocktails, a must-try in the destination’s many bars and restaurants during the International Gourmet Festival.