Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe Bursts With Cross-Border Flavors as Food and Wine Fest Returns

After a three-year hiatus, the Valle Food & Wine Festival is back.

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The Valle Food & Wine Festival is back in scenic Valle de Guadalupe.

Photo by Chema Gonzales

Valle de Guadalupe is known for producing some of Mexico’s most distinctive wine and coastal gastronomy. But this October, foodies and oenophiles have even more reason to visit the Baja wine region: The Valle Food & Wine Festival returns after a three-year hiatus. From October 21- 23, chefs and winemakers from all over Mexico and the United States will spend the weekend on part-winery and part-resort property Bruma celebrating good food and drink. Now the event is inviting fellow food and wine lovers to join in on the festivities too, with the option to stay on the Bruma property.

The weekend offers opportunities to experience dishes from renowned and up-and-coming chefs, winetastings, live music, local artwork, and cooking demos. Participating chefs will prepare food inspired by regional specialties—such as the ceviches and fish tacos Baja is known for—as well as other dishes that showcase local ingredients. Each day features dishes from some 25 chefs and 20 winemakers from both sides of the border.

This event will have a limited capacity though, with only about 1,000 tickets available for each day. James Beard Award–winning writer and festival cofounder Carolynn Carreño says the small audience has nothing to do with COVID-19 protocols and everything to do with the community’s desire to preserve the region’s natural beauty by discouraging large-scale events—which often bring light and noise pollution.

“We decided to use the opportunity to create a more elevated event,” Carreño told AFAR in a statement. “We have always been a more curated, boutique event in terms of the talent we include, the ingredients that we use, and the team behind it. So it makes sense, with this kind of attention to detail and thoughtfulness, that it also be a smaller event.”

Guests can expect a star-studded lineup, including MasterChef judge Aarón Sanchez and James Beard award–winner Nancy Silverton. Local talent will be spotlighted as well, highlighting appearances from Mexican cookbook author Gabriela Cámara and Oryx Restaurant and Nórtico chef-owner Ruffo Ibarra.

While the festival has had goals of celebrating food and wine from the U.S. and Mexico and supporting the local community since its beginnings in 2017, Carreño says that the three-year pause due to COVID-19 has made everyone more thoughtful and appreciative. In addition to raising and donating funds for the Corazón de Vida Foundation (which supports orphaned and abandoned children), the event is working with other valley-based causes like the Berry Good Food Foundation—an organization that supports local, regenerative food systems in San Diego and Baja California.

Carreño, who was born in Tijuana herself, notes, “We want to be a part of the community, not visitors, and certainly not invaders.”

Chloe Arrojado is the associate editor of destinations at AFAR. She’s a big fan of cafés, dancing, and asking people on the street for restaurant recommendations.
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