Cruising to Cozumel? Learn Mexican Cooking at Josefina’s Kitchen

Josefina's Kitchen is ready for us to get to work!

Josefina’s Kitchen is ready for us to get to work!

Shop, cook and eat authentic Mexican cuisine.

I love Mexican food.  Actually, I love all food.  Wherever I travel, there’s usually some kind of culinary experience involved.  Emily Egge, known also as the Cozumel Chef, arranged my Mexican cooking class with Josefina Gonzalez Luigi, a.k.a.  Josefina’s Kitchen.

Mexican food is so much more than tacos and burritos with beans and rice.  It’s an historic merging of European and pre-Hispanic influence that created a world of complex flavors and seasonings to comprise today’s authentic Mexican food.

A culinary journey to Josefina’s home kitchen in Cozumel, Mexico.

There were five people signed up on the day of my cooking class .  Three (including me) were from cruise ships and one couple was staying in a nearby hotel.

Josefina's Kitchen i.e. her home.

Josefina’s Kitchen i.e. her home. 

Taxi drivers know where Josefina lives, but I brought her home address written on a piece of paper to show the driver, just in case.  From the ports, expect to pay about $8-$15 USD, depending upon at which of the three Cozumel ports your ship is docked. As soon as everyone arrived, Josefina led us on a short walk through town to the nearby colorful Mercado. It’s the main marketplace in downtown Cozumel.

Fresh fish and meats to christening dresses and clay pottery at the Cozumel Mercado

Fresh fish and meats to christening dresses, clay pottery and snack bar at the Cozumel Mercado.

We wind through the aisles until Josefina stops for an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Then to the meat stand for fresh chicken breasts which she asks the butcher to slice very thin.

Josefina selects the ingredients for our meal.

Josefina selects fresh ingredients for our meal. That’s a bundle of banana leaves in the center photo. 

Pin for Later!

Josefinas Mexican cooking class in Cozumel
Josefina’s staff (family) is already waiting in the kitchen for us to return from the market.

Josefinas

Josefina’s family is already in the kitchen waiting for us to return with the ingredients.

Time to begin.  First, though, a cool drink.  Homemade Agua de Jamaica and Horchata. The purple drink, Agua de Jamaica is an iced tea of sorts made from Jamaican hibiscus flowers.  Horchata is the second favorite drink of Mexicans.  It’s a combination of soaked white rice and then blended with almonds, cinnamon and sugar.  Both were refreshing.

Agua de Jamaica and a cold pitcher of horchata. The hot spices were for later!

Agua de Jamaica and a cold pitcher of horchata. The Tajin bottle of hot spices was for later!

Onto the salad.  Josefina explains the correct way to slice a mango.

Peel, halve, slice around the pit. Then dice. The lucky person gets to gnaw the fruit off the pit.

Peel, halve, slice around the pit. Then dice. The lucky person gets to gnaw the fruit off the pit.

I don’t remember where she used the prickly pear…I think it was a side dish of fruit. But here’s how to enjoy this succulent without pain.

Sponsored Link

Next…it was time to make corn tortillas.  Josefina’s helper made it look so simple.

Mixing the corn dough (maseca) with water and salt. That's it.

Mixing the corn dough (maseca) with water and salt. That’s it.

Simple? It helps to use a round plastic circle to copy the size.

Simple? For her, yes. We were given a round plastic circle to copy the size.

Once the tortillas were made, it was time to create the marinade for the main entree, Pollo Adobado Veracruzano.

Josefina chilis into sauce

Saute garlic, then Ancho, Chipotle, Arbol and Guajillo chiles. Put everything into a blender with little vinegar and cumin. Mix, blend well and it’s done.  

Everyone was given their own foil, chicken, aguacatillo and banana leaf to prepare the little packets for baking.

Folding the chicken in banana leaves.

Folding the chicken in banana leaves.  Sorry for the blur…

Cooking our tortillas with a cheese sauce.

Cooking our tortillas with strips of cheese and fresh basil from her garden.

Into the oven went the little foil packets. While they baked, we all went over to the stove to help out with making our torillas, refried beans and rice.

Stirring beans.jpg

We each had a turn to smash the overnight-soaked beans and onions.

By now we were all getting a little hungry. Over to the table for some homemade chips and salsa while the Pollo Adobado Veracruzano finishes up in the oven.

"Light" starter to tide us over until lunch was cooked.

“Light” starter to tide us over until lunch was cooked.

Finally, our lunch was ready.

Unwrapped and bubbling hot from the oven, we enjoyed our chicken creation.

Unwrapped and bubbling hot from the oven, we enjoyed our chicken creation.

It was a superb meal from start to finish.  The next time your cruise itinerary has a stop in Cozumel, try a cooking class with Josefina.  You can contact Josefina’s Kitchen through this link to Emily Egge’s CozumelChef.com.   The cost is $80 per person and worth every cent.  Don’t forget to leave a tip for the kitchen staff, too.  Or bring a little bit of Josefina’s Kitchen home with you and purchase her Cocina con Alma cookbook.

No room left to eat a heavy dessert so Josefina made fresh mango margaritas instead!

What a fabulous meal! With no room left to eat a heavy dessert, Josefina made fresh mango margaritas instead!  A perfect end to a wonderful afternoon.

By |February 10th, 2017|Cozumel, Culinary, Mexico, Places|

4 Comments

  1. E Moss August 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    My daughter, age 11 at the time, and I thought this was the best shore excursion we’ve been on even though we booked it without the ship’s help. Fantastic experience whether or not you like to cook. The market trip itself was worth the money.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKfSASlnhxY&list=UUwq5Hi_ZAMW7_zJYrPvYotQ

  2. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin September 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

    How nice that you could both experience Josefina’s Cooking Class. And thanks for sharing your video!

    Sherry

  3. Mr Chocoholic June 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    On our first trip to Cozumel, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, this was the thing my 11 year-old daughter most wanted to do. Not go to the beach. Not visit Mayan ruins. Cook Mexican food is what she wanted, so that’s what we did. It was the best shore excursion I’ve ever had, and TripAdvisor was the key to finding out about it. We bought two of Josefina’s cookbooks–one to keep, one to give. For dessert, we were taken on a private tour of the Kaokao chocolate factory, another Cozumel “can’t miss.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKfSASlnhxY

  4. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy June 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

    A future culinary star! Both are terrific activities in Cozumel. Thank you for your comment.

Leave A Comment

Send this to a friend