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The Mexican consulate has teamed up with The Sebastian Hotel in Vail The Four Seasons Hotel Denver to prove that Mexican cuisine is much more than tacos and tequila.

"People might think it's nothing more than tacos, but gastronomy in Mexico is really growing," says Sergio Howland, chef at Block 16 restaurant in The Sebastian. He will pair Mexican wines with modern interpretations of his country's classics - salmon al pastor, tamales with langostines, and chipotle-glazed duck.

The consulate has invited Mexican chefs and sommeliers to educate the American palate about the progress their country is making in wine and food.

The event runs through Saturday in Vail and culminates with a four-course dinner at Edge Restaurant in Denver at The Four Seasons on Monday.

(Provided by the Sebastian Hotel)

"Worldwide, food has always been a cultural exchange," says visiting chef Paola Garduño, who owns three restaurants in Mexico City. "I understand a little more of your country if I eat what you eat."

Find the list of Vail demos and dinners at www.thesebastianvail.com or call 1.800.354.6908. For information on the dinner at Edge, call 303.389.3343. The cost is $75.


Sweet corn gorditas

2 Tbs corn oil
1 Each yellow onion, brunoise
2 Each garlic cloves, finely minced
10 Each sweet corn grated (use a box grater) 1½ Cups corn flour
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs kosher salt
1 cup cilantro minced

Method: preheat a pot at medium heat.
- Add the corn oil and sweat the onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the grated corn and sweat as if you are cooking polenta.
- Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and transfer the corn mix to a bowl.
- Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Mix the corn flour + sugar+ salt and add it to the corn mix.
- Finally add the cilantro.
- Adjust the consistency with more corn flour if needed.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Form small 2 oz. balls and press them using a tortilla press.
- Fry before serving.

- Recipe courtesy of Chef Sergio Howland