In 2008, Timothea Mesh, of San Antonio Village, in the Mountain Pine Ridge of Cayo, had an enterprising idea and created a unique and educational visitor experience around the cultural traditions of their village. Together, with other women in her community, “The Women’s Group of San Antonio” demonstrates domestic customs of the Yucatac Mayan.
The San Antonio experience begins with a tour of the village's open air, thatched-roofed kitchen which includes an authentic Mayan stove, or fogon, and a matate where the maza, or corn dough, is made. Maza is the base of the Mayan cuisine.
To make maza corn kernels are soaked until outer skins are soft removed for mashing in the matate. After a demonstration visitors get a hands on experience working the matate and forming the maza. Once created it is rolled, boiled down again with water, reconstituted and reboiled to form the base of various dishes.
For tortillas, the maza baked on the fogon, turned by hand then slathered with coconut oil and raw salt -- the crepes of the Mayan Mountains. Reconstituted it is boiled down with cinnamon sticks and spices into a porridge that hints of Chai flavor. And the same maza is used to form the dough of the tamale.
In addition preparing the various dishes of the Maya culture, visitors learn about pottery. Clay brought up from the nearby riverbed is soaked and wedged and formed into sculpture, pots, plates and cups. A demonstration of this art is given and then lunch is served.
The Women’s Group of San Antonio provide a wonderful culturally interactive tour for visitors. Less than 30 minutes from Hidden Valley Inn and Reserve, the tour is about an hour and a half. Local pottery and embroidery from the village is also for sale in their small gift shop.