The aromas and flavors of Christmas - Vallarta Nayarit Blog " />

The aromas and flavors of Christmas

Special collaboration of Executive Chef Isaac Esparza and chef David Bernal

The smell of cinnamon and chocolate, a good punch, a freshly baked turkey, a delicious fruit cake, or an exquisite pasta are some aromas and flavors that indicate that Christmas is getting closer and closer, and even many of them bring a certain nostalgia because they also remind us of our childhood in each bite.

We believe this season is about embracing these memories, smiling, and enjoying our beloved ones. That is why Isaac Esparza, Executive Chef at Casa Velas, shares this recipe with you today and tells you why it is so special.

Post-Christmas ‘romeritos’ tacos

Mexican romeritos with mole recipe for Christmas dinner

“The story behind this recipe is that on some Christmases my family and I visited my aunt Carmen who lives in Cancun. She is a splendid cook, it’s in her blood since we inherited it from my grandmother.

My family used to celebrate Christmas in Mexico City since my grandmother lives there, but every 4 or 5 years we celebrated Christmas and New Years’ Eve in Cancun, where two of my aunts live. One of them loves to cook and always delights us with her dishes (even if it’s Christmas or not), but especially on this date, it is very common for families to gather and each one brings something to eat.

My aunt always cooked this recipe of ‘romeritos’ (seepweed leaves) with mole and shrimp. Something funny is that both she and I ate something different since we loved to try this dish one or two days after Christmas. It’s not a great secret that many dishes taste better when reheated and this is one of them; for us, it was a delight to taste the post-Christmas ‘romeritos’, especially with some reheated tortillas on the ‘comal’, I still close my eyes and I can remember the smell of the reheated tortillas beginning to brown, and the ‘romeritos’ at their boiling point ready to go into the tortilla. I just imagine it and I start to salivate!

I hope you like this recipe; it is very simple apparently, but the secret is actually in the mole.”


  • 2.2 lb (1 kg) clean seepweed leaves 
  • 20 fl. oz. (½ L) red mole 
  • 20 fl. oz. ( ½ L) chicken broth 
  • 1 tbsp. oil 
  • 14 oz. (400 g) ooked diced potatoes 
  • 7 oz. (200 g) dried shrimp powder 


  • Boil salted water and cook the seepweed sprigs for 4 minutes (until they soften but do not fall apart). Then quickly place them in a bowl with ice water.
  • Pour the mole into a bowl and pour half the broth. Mix until you get a paste.
  • Add the tablespoon of oil to a saucepan and fry the mole. Pour in the rest of the broth. Stir to dissolve the lumps and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.
  • Add the potatoes, the rosemary, and the shrimp powder. Mix very well; add salt and cook for 25 more minutes.

Fruit cake

Christmas fruit cake recipe

David Bernal, chef at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, shares with you this exquisite fruit cake recipe, a traditional one from the Christmas season and that cannot be missing from your dessert menu for Christmas dinner. Enjoy it!


  • 5 oz. (150 g) raisins 
  • 5 oz. (150 g) dates
  • 5 oz. (150 g) cherries 
  • 5 oz. (150 g) sun dried apricot
  • 5 oz. (150 g) candied orange
  •  8.5 fl. oz. (250 ml) aged rum 
  • 5 oz. (150 g) pecan nuts
  • 5 oz. (150 g) whole almond
  • 4 oz. (120 g) butter
  • 3.5 oz. (100 g) sugar
  • 5 oz. (150 g) brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 9 oz. (250 g) flour
  • .07 oz. (2 g) baking powder
  • .07 oz. (2 g) baking soda
  • .07 oz. (2 g) nutmeg
  • .07 oz. (2 g) ground cinnamon
  • .07 oz. (2 g) ginger powder


  • Macerate the raisins, dates, cherries, sundried apricots, and candied orange in the aged rum for a minimum of two hours.
  • Chop and bake the nuts and almonds for 5 minutes at 374 ºF (190 ºC), and reserve.
  • Cream the butter with the sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs little by little.
  • Add the dry ingredients, previously sifted.
  • Add the macerated fruits without the rum, reserve a little for decoration, and finally add the nuts and almonds.
  • Place the mixture in a mold and bake at 338 ºF (170ºC) for approximately 45 minutes.

Bon appétit!

Do you have a favorite aroma or flavor that reminds you of your childhood at Christmas? Tell us in the comments…

And Happy Holidays!


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