The Travel Journal: Central Mexico

The Travel Journal: Central Mexico

In preparation for the launch of our first ‘Hecho en Mexico’ product line, The Artisan Series, the team spent a week with Veronica and Jon in the central highlands of Mexico—a stunning part of the country known for its strong tradition of producing high-quality ceramics. The well-worn cobblestone streets, 16th-century Spanish Baroque architecture, and cerulean blue sky provide the perfect inspiration for collections to come.

The region has long been a mecca for artists (fun fact: Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato!). Archways open to contemporary art galleries and courtyards filled with bright pink bougainvillea and succulent gardens. A former home of a Duke or Marquis is now a restaurant or high-end designer boutique. You’ll definitely want to meander through the streets to feast on the visual banquet of weather-beaten wooden doors and patinated brass door-knockers. 

Despite just celebrating one year of living in Central Mexico, Veronica and Jon have quickly become insiders to some of the best dining, shopping, and cultural destinations. Here’s how we spent one of our favorite days exploring with our new-found tour guides. 

Artisan Market

Browsing stalls filled with handcrafted rugs, baskets, bags, linens, decorative pottery, and artwork, one is quickly introduced to the talent and rich cultural heritage of the region. We’re still dreaming about the colorful woven textiles.

Local Cuisine

For lunch, we popped into Jacques. Located near the Mercado de Artesanías, it’s a hidden gem. Inspired by American and Mediterranean cuisine, the menu is filled with vegan and gluten-free options, much of which is sourced from local farmers. Everything is made fresh, in-house every day. We recommend the Oaxaca Bowl, filled with grilled sweet potato, coleslaw, avocado, black beans, caramelized pecans, and topped off with a drizzle of Sriracha dressing. Another team favorite was the basil lemonade, perfectly refreshing after a morning of exploring. 

Surprise…A Festival!

A region known for its rich cultural heritage and festivals, it’s no surprise we unexpectedly happened on a parade. The colorful costumes worn by locals are steeped in tradition and history. And the mojigangas! These giant puppets (up to 15 feet tall!) are something to behold. Twirling and tipping in their costumes, the mojigangas tower above the crowd as they make their way down the streets filled with revelers. If you look closely, you’ll notice the place where the puppeteer peers out through the figure’s torso. With practiced steps, they’ve learned to dance while balancing the built costume on their shoulders.

A Visit With Julio

Located on the outskirts of town, we dropped by the LBE production facility—just in time to witness a lesson in pottery with master craftsman Julio. This kind and patient soul is an expert engineer, chemist, and artist with decades of experience designing and creating pottery. With attention and care, he demonstrated to his apprentices, Mari and Hugo, the use of special tools to trim and smooth the edges of a freshly molded raw clay saucer, and finish it with the first stamp in the Artisan Series (spoiler alert!), AND + LBE Design.

Sunsets and Reflections

As the day drew to a close, we headed to El Jardin, a plaza in the heart of the city where the town congregates to sit and relax. With mariachi musicians setting the mood, we noticed newlyweds arm-in-arm, children at play, and people young and old all coming together as a community to enjoy the beauty of this life.

A visit to Central Mexico is not complete without at least one rooftop bar experience. And we happily watched the sunset at Antonia Bistro. With views of the city, we celebrated this new chapter for us in Mexico as we bring production closer to home. We can’t wait to introduce to you our new collection.