Yucatán’s small villages have a unique charm and aesthetic that sets them apart from the rest of the country. They are characterized by elements that blend colonial and Maya culture, such as Albarradas (stone walls), majestic churches, Maya houses, archaeological sites, and unparalleled natural beauty.
Maxcanú is an excellent example of all of the above. The town is just an hour away from Mérida and is a must-visit during November, when the Jicama Festival takes place. During this grand celebration, Maxcanú honors one of its greatest treasures: the jicamas that make this municipality famous. These flavorful and succulent white tubers bring flavor, freshness, and nutrition to those who try them.
This is the fourth edition of the festival that aims to promote local producers and showcase the quality of the jicamas harvested here. Over two days, on November 18 and 19, there will be various activities, events, and products centered around jicamas.
These tours take place at the X’kaluumkim plot, a 100% traditional space managed by a local family, the Cauich family. When you arrive at the location, Doña Paty and her father, Don Ausencio, are responsible for welcoming you and introducing you to the jicama process. They will teach you how they plant the seeds, how these foods are extracted from the earth, the correct way to peel and wash them, as well as various interesting facts. They even help you harvest your own jicamas.
To top it off, Doña Paty and her sister will show you how to prepare a delicious Xe’ek’, which you can then taste. It is worth noting that the adventure begins from the moment you travel to the field, as you’re taken there in a Mototaxi.
Departures for this tour are from the tourist letters in Maxcanú’s Downtown and cost $440 pesos for nationals and $500 pesos for foreigners per Mototaxi, with space for up to four people. There is also another tour that includes an extra experience: the opportunity to see how jicamas are cooked in a Pib (underground oven). This add-on is well worth it for everything it entails, but keep in mind that it is only available by prior reservation.
If you’re a food enthusiast, especially for dishes that go beyond the ordinary, you’ll feel right at home in this festival. The wide and surprising culinary offer available includes various delights made from jicama, such as crème brûlée, cupcakes, empanadas, tartlets, wine, horchata, ice cream, smoothies, and much more!
But if what you want is a more gourmet experience, you can visit the urban and author cuisine restaurant ‘Tito’s and Wilma’s,’ which has prepared a special menu for this event. It consists of three courses where you can choose an appetizer, either jicama toast with creamy lemon or a salad of fresh vegetables with cilantro, jicama, and jicama liqueur vinaigrette; a main course that can be jicama cream fettuccine or Rib Eye in its juice with jicama cream, and for dessert, an eclectic mix that includes jicama ice cream, jicama sweet, and jicama in Pib. If you want to add a special touch to your meal, you can accompany it with a refreshing Nance cocktail with jicama milk liqueur; if you find the flavor hard to imagine, let me tell you it is delicious.
The normal operating hours of the restaurant are only in the evening, from Friday to Sunday, from 7 – 11 pm. However, in celebration of this important event, during the festival, they will be open from 8 am to 11 pm. This means you can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner right there and then move on to other activities.
Everything I’ve told you up to this point represents just a small part of the total experiences that Maxcanú is preparing for you in the coming days. They will also have bike rides around jicama fields, contests, artistic performances, Vaquería, exhibitions of jicama-based products, and many other activities that are worth discovering.
This festival has become a source of pride for all the residents of Maxcanú who, like Chef José Rodríguez (president of the organizing committee), love their town and are happy to share their white gold with the world.
If you have the opportunity to attend, don’t think too much about it and do it. This is a great opportunity to support 100% Yucatecan producers, artisans, and entrepreneurs, as well as the local economy while discovering new corners and flavors of Yucatán. Undoubtedly, after attending once, you’ll want to come back every year and experience the jicama fever again.
Are you in?
For more information about the program and other details of the festival, we advise you to check the Facebook profile of Colectivo La Tierra de La Jícama.
By Carlos Guzmán
Photography by Carlos Guzmán for its use in Yucatán Today
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