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Flavours of Puerto Vallarta

Pescado en vara sounds tastier than its translation: "fish on a stick."

Mexico’s most famous gay-friendly destination, Puerto Vallarta — or PVR, its more common moniker — is also renowned for its gastronomy. In fact, standing on the city’s famous waterfront boardwalk, the Malecon, is a bronze statue of San Pascual Bailón, the patron saint of cooks.

Each November, Puerto Vallarta embraces its culinary scene with its 10-day International Gourmet Festival (Nov 8–18, 2012) featuring 30 guest master chefs. Restaurants offer special chefs’ tables and winemakers’ dinners, as well as cooking demonstrations, gourmet safaris, and cheese, wine and tequila tastings.

In March, enjoy the annual Vallarta Wine Fest, with wines from Mexico, South America and beyond. Restaurants offer wine tastings and food pairings, often with live entertainment.

The flavourful regional dishes of Puerto Vallarta were recently showcased in June at the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic (FWC) in Aspen, Colorado, by chef Kori Sutton, formerly of PVR’s renowned restaurant Café des Artistes. Sutton is now sous chef at Bocados STK, a leading restaurant and part of the Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa.

Sutton presented a tantalizing lineup of delicacies that should be sought out by any PVR tourist: tomatillo gazpacho with mezcal; lime-grilled shrimp with toasted gaujillo chili sea salt; plaintain gorditas topped with gaujillo-chili-rubbed pork and mango confit; baby watercress with grilled scallops; and aguachile. Just reading that list should be inspiration enough to make exploring everything PVR’s restaurants have to offer as much a priority as sunning in the “blue chairs” gay section at Playa de los Muertos beach.