Every 1st and 3rd Saturday, visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to find great culinary treats at the Slow Food Market Cancun. Known as El Caracol (The Snail), this important new addition to Cancun’s cultural scene is located within Market 28’s Plaza Bonita.
Not too long ago, Tiago Aceitun wanted to create a new space where authentic local products could be made available to a wider audience. Like the farmer’s markets and slow food markets thriving in neighborhoods throughout many urban areas in the United States and Europe, Tiago wanted to create a space for both producers and consumers. In May, El Caracol Slow Food Market was born.
“Our philosophy is good, clean and fair,” explains Tiago.
“It sounds simply but it’s actually quite complex. Basically we make sure that the products are pesticide-free, that no chemicals, additives or artificial colors are used to transform the product. In other words, the products are natural and produced within their natural time frame as well.”
For many people that visit Cancun, not much is known outside of the beautiful stretch of beach stretching out 13 kilometers between the Nichupte Lagoon and the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. As a result, the cultural wealth and gastronomical diversity that so defines Cancun often times goes unnoticed by guests to this tropical paradise.
Eduardo Delgado is a chef and co-founder of Alquimia, a chic, low-key restaurant located in Cancun’s downtown area. He has been with the Slow Food Market Cancun since its humble beginnings when it was made up of just two restaurants and three providers.
“Slow food means taking care of the food products; transforming them into something of quality and not something you would find at a fast food joint. It’s really something well done, handmade and conscious about the product so that you respect its flavors,” says Eduardo with passion.
Today, just six months later, and El Caracol now represents 38 restaurants and producers who are actively involved in the slow food community. Moreover, they are working together with local fishermen and other communities on becoming part of this movement toward locally produced and healthy fair trade products.
A visit to the market is not only a good way to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon, you’re also going to find high quality products at fair prices. From organic coffee to delicious pastries, homemade Italian sausage to native plants, dog treats, culinary delights and even live music, El Caracol offers a space for local restaurants and producers a great opportunity to meet with the people interested in purchasing slow food products. Plus, because it is located within Plaza Bonito in the Market 28, afterwards visitors can also visit a number of the nice shops and stores found therein or take a stroll around the market in search of bargains.
For Alexander Acevedo of Cancun’s 33mm, a hip café & crêpe joint situated along Cancun’s Bonampak Avenue, the Slow Food Market Cancun is an important venue for offering locally produced goods. And not just for people who live and work here.
“I think tourists should definitely come visit us,” he said. “Here they will be able to find Mexican food and products that are different than what they may be used to finding. It also can give them another perspective about Cancun, which is much more than just sun and beach. If they will come they will see another aspect of the cultural richness of Mexican society.”
As the Slow Food Market Cancun becomes more established, organizers are working to have it certified as an official Earth Market by Slow Food International. Likewise, plans are underway for the near future to expand the market to Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.
While El Caracol may be based on a slow food philosophy, there’s no denying that the rapid growth of this popular concept means that the Slow Food Market Cancun is here to stay.