Lunch at Hacienda Ochil
Merida Travel Blog› entry 10 of 15 › view all entries
October 26th, 2009 – by: lrecht
Hacienda Ochil is right off the main road on the way to Campeche and is an old henequen plantation and factory that includes several artisan workshops, a great restaurant (although it appears that large groups arrive here by bus so show up early of late), a cool little museum that shows the history of the site and of henequen production, a really nice little gift shop and a big amphitheater surrounding a cenote.
There is supposed to be an entry fee of something like 20-30 pesos but since we ate lunch there, the nice guy waived the fee. We started with a walk through the grounds and some of the artisan shops (some don’t open till later in the day) and saw a young girl making pretty, ornate silver jewelry. You follow the little mini-railroad tracks (you can see the antique train in the picture that used to haul the henequen to the processing area) and eventually go through the big arch to the restored Hacienda now serving as the restaurant, gift shop and museum. They have this massive outdoor barbeque/oven that they make the conchinita pibil and other dishes in which gave me grill envy. We need a bigger hacienda! Our guide walked us around the Hacienda and down to the cenote which they are currently renovating. It is surrounded by a mini Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and apparently they plan on putting on events. We also got a tour of the machinery that used to pulverize and strip the fibers from the henequen.
You might be wondering as we did “what the hell is henequen?” Here is a description from Wikipedia:
“Henequen is an agave whose leaves yield a fiber also called henequen which is suitable for rope and twine, but not of as high a quality as sisal.
“The plant appears as a rosette of sword-shaped leaves 1.2 to 1.8 meters long, growing out of a thick stem that may reach 1.7 meters (5 ft). The leaves have regularly-spaced teeth 3-6 mm long, and a terminal spine 2-3 cm long.”
Lunch was really tasty and we were the only ones there. I had the Tres Panuchos plate that had one each of conchinita pibil, chicken and Pavo en Relleno Negro and Cindy had hand made tamales. We finished off with a dessert dish of Papaya con Queso which was really very good if a little different. A hacienda visit is definitely worthwhile if you have a car. Hacienda Ochil has a website at www.haciendaochil.com but I think it is currently only in Spanish.
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