Second Tequila Lunch at La Hacienda – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2014

Two weeks after our first Tequila Lunch with Nevie, we returned to La Hacienda for our second Tequila Lunch in 2014 –
Friday, October 10, 2014

As always, the lunch began with a welcome margarita… this is one we haven’t seen yet at a Tequila Lunch…

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La Hacienda traditional margarita – very fine salt on the rim (like table salt)

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Humberto’s tequila table

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today we tasted tequilas from a variety of distilleries

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Table setting – thankfully, there isn’t a problem with space or elbow room at the tequila lunches

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it looks like there’s going to be a large group today, there’s even a table set up in the other room

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yes, a very large group

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menu – food is the same as two weeks ago (no surprise) but tequilas are different (no surprise there either)

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welcome margarita, silver tequila, reposed tequila, anejo tequila, bottle of cool water, tequila cream liqueur, a tiny bit of vodka

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the tequilas we’ll be tasting today

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Humberto, our Tequila Ambassador

Humberto is not only a Tequila Ambassador, which requires him to taste more than 20 tequilas each day, he’s also a Tequila Master… this makes him a sommelier of tequila. Because we are Disney World where things are magical and we are about to discover pairing food with tequila (instead of the traditional food and wine pairings), Humberto likes to start with “Once upon a time in the magical town of Tequila…”

Humberto was born in Tequila, Jalisco – a beautiful town he says. He grew up drinking and tasting tequila.

Tequila is made from the blue agave, it takes 7 – 10 years to mature for harvest. The long leaves are removed from the plant and the heart remains, called the piña (pineapple). The piña is then cut in half and cooked/baked, then it is brown and soft. The juices (mosto) are squeezed out, then natural yeasts cause fermentation. After fermentation, two distillations take place and then you have silver tequila. Distilled water is added to get the alcohol content to between 35% – 45%.

  • silver tequila in aged in barrels less than 2 months
  • reposado tequila is aged in barrels more than 2 months but less than 1 year
  • añejo tequila is aged in barrels more than 1 year but less than 3 years
  • extra añejo is aged for more than 3 years
  • joven is a blend of sliver tequila with one of the other tequilas – the flavors are a little peppery (from the silver) and a little oaky (from the other tequila)
    • Nick asked after the lunch if jovens were available in La Cava, Humberto said “si” and if we wanted to try them, to ask for him or Hilda
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Silver, Reposado, Añejo

First Pairing

Mayan Cerviche with Casa Amigos Tequila Blanco

This tequila comes from George Clooney’s Tequila Distillery. And Humberto taught us how to taste tequila…

  1. Visual Taste – color, corona (crown), tears (viscosity, body)
  2. Nose – bottom of glass (agave), center (distillation), top (barrel)
  3. Taste – take a deep breath, sip, swish, swallow, exhale slowly

This tequila was clear, it had a nice corona, and rather fat tears for a silver tequila. The nose at the bottom of the glass was a surprise for the two of us, it was actually quite fruity and citrusy… something we don’t usually get with a silver tequila. Taste wise – Nick thought this was the best silver we’ve ever had here, I agreed. It was slightly sweet with a low pepper level.

The pairing was nice. We decided to get some of the pepper salt from the rim with a few bites and that improved the pairing.

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Mayan Cerviche – scallops, onions, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice; served with mango sorbet

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while the mayan cerviche was excellent, it was served colder than last time (too cold actually)

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Humberto told us to use the little spoon and mix it all together

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Humberto was more relaxed today and in a better rhythm, maybe because the Patron rep wasn’t here throwing him off

Second Pairing

Sweet Potato Cream with Dos Lunas Tequila Reposado

This tequila is aged for over six months in oak barrels. The color was dark straw (nearly as dark as the anejo next to it). It had nice thick legs. We got scents of caramel, butterscotch, and burnt sugar at the bottom of the glass and spicy cinnamon notes in the center of the glass. It tasted like burnt sugar.

This pairing didn’t work for either of us. We really liked the cilantro cream last year more than this cream soup. This one is very “dessert-like” to our tastes.

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Sweet potato cream – prepared with tequila, roasted sweet potatoes, cream and Tequila reduction; topped with queso fresco foam and cinnamon oil

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the soup was smoother today than two weeks ago, there was a better balance of salt and the cinnamon was more pronounced

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cinnamon oil

Third Pairing

Land and Sea with Casa Noble Tequila Añejo

This tequila comes from Carlos Santana’s distillery. It is three times distilled and aged in french oak barrels. It has a much thicker crown and slow, fat legs. Bottom nose was vanilla and chocolate, middle nose was clearly vanilla, and top nose was a bit oaky. It was a pretty decent aged tequila, but we’re not really fans of it without food.

There was a big difference in portion sizes and the aromas were amazing. The octopus was just as good as last time, excellent in fact. We noticed that a lot of people at our table just wouldn’t even touch the octopus (we knew that one of them has an allergy). I particularly liked the little square of crispy pork fat on top of the pork belly. This pairing worked better for us than the last one.

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Land and Sea – pork belly carnitas style served with tequila gastrique reduction, octopus seared in an ajillo pepper sauce; accompanied with a cactus leaf salad, cilantro oil, and corn puree

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delicious octopus!

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the pork belly today was a bit crisper on the outside and it was even tastier

Fourth Pairing

Tequila Tres Leches Cake with 1931 Cream

This tequila liqueur is made with tequila and cream. It is very sweet (and had a lot of fans at our table).

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Tequila Tres Leches Cake – tres leches cake dipped in tequila liqueur and coffee whipped cream; served with avocado mint ice cream

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the avocado mint ice cream was a bit vegetal to my tastes, Nick said he could eat a vat full of this (he really liked it!) – or just fill up a glass with this and top it off with tequila (tequila float!)

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the cake was still slightly warm when served… EXCELLENT

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with the liqueur all mixed in… I ate every bite!

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if this isn’t on the dessert menu at La Hacienda… it should be… with a warning “adults only dessert” or put it in the cocktail listing with “dessert!”

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Humberto and Chef Jerry – they worked for months to create a menu that would challenge (hopefully not too much) and satisfy – good job

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“All of our food has a secret ingredient… LOVE” – understandably pleased

We really enjoyed this event (not surprising, we do it twice each year). We thought the food was excellent and we’re really disappointed that La Hacienda can’t serve fine dining all the time (guests just don’t get it, they want Tex Mex not Mexican cuisine).

That said… the service (as in the actions by the servers) was less polished today and a bit more rushed (maybe because it was such a large group?). They kept trying to take away Nick’s vodka glass – now, they should know that we’re sipping on that to cleanse our palates, in fact, Humberto instructed us to do so before every course. Just because a glass is nearly empty doesn’t mean you should remove it, take a closer look. Nick had to actually put up his hand a couple of times to keep his poor little sip of vodka. There was also a bit of confusion in terms of how to place plates down and take them away (left side versus right side). We noticed a couple of weeks ago that the service was more polished and that the ladies were served first.

Okay, enough complaining… The food was excellent. Humberto was at the top of his game. Chef was engaging and cracked a few jokes and was very comfortable answering questions. Wonderful way to spend a few hours during Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

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