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CEN IND Q1 2018

jus,” made from

jus,” made from roasting the bones into a thick sauce, he said. “It’s the same as carnitas, but not. It’s traditional, but not really.” Alvarado served us his mole on Talavera plates, of course. Wandering Puebla, your eyes adjust as if to new light, and you see Talavera all over the city. It embellishes venerable buildings such as the Casa de Alfeñique, believed to be Puebla’s oldest museum. (Unfortunately, the large earthquake that shook Mexico last September, and which was centred not far from Puebla, left the intricate façade in danger of falling off, and the museum remains closed.) At Puebla’s other world-class hotel, the recently opened, 78-room Cartesiano, decades-old Talavera from a disused tile shop form part of the sleekly modern design, yet another instance of the commitment to honour the old and nurture the new in this city of abundant scaffolding and cobblestone. The most striking examples of Talavera I saw were at Herencia 811, a mansion that has been transformed into a collection of galleries and shops, where the lavatory floor is made of the most varied collection of tiles I saw anywhere. Puebla is one of Mexico’s most prosperous cities and its monuments have long testified to its wealth. Today they include the stunning International Museum of the Baroque, which opened last year to honour that era of ornate art and music. Cleverly, the museum’s austere home, designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Toyo Ito, is anything but ornate. Like Puebla itself, the unexpectedly minimalist structure refuses to look only backward, pairing contemporary art with colonial masterpieces. Another museum showing off Puebla’s extraordinary cultural riches is the Amparo Museum, the classic front of which opens up to a luminous construction of glass, steel and marble that brings to mind an Apple store stripped of gadgetry. The Amparo holds one of Mexico’s best pre-Hispanic art collections, but many of the works on display, such as stone carvings of dogs and jaguars, have cool, modern lines – unwitting indicators of how creativity can transcend the centuries. Recently, the museum has ramped up its cultural offerings in other media, venturing into music performances and film screenings, with the goal of embracing Puebla’s heritage holistically, rather than preserving a time capsule. This mission takes physical form when you ascend to the museum’s spacious rooftop, where wooden decking surrounds a glasswalled café/bar and blue square-tiled planters abound with blossoming iris, snapdragons and lavender. The cityscape, with all those domes, almost embraces you, and I sat there for a while, nursing a Tecate and marvelling at Puebla’s remarkable energy. A view of the Popocatépetl volcano from Rosewood Puebla SAMPLING THE CITY The best places to experience Puebla STAY After years of having none, Puebla now has two five-star hotels, the first of which to open was the 78-room Rosewood Puebla ( rosewoodhotels. com), occupying a complex of lovingly restored buildings in the old city. World-class amenities and colonial ambience are also available at the Cartesiano (hotel​cartesiano.com), a boutique hotel in a pair of 300-year-old mansions just minutes from the Unesco-protected town square. EAT Both the Rosewood and Cartesiano offer venues for sampling Puebla’s renowned cuisine. At the Rosewood’s Pasquinel Bistrot, executive chef Jorge González, an alum of Spain’s famed elBulli, applies highconcept interpretations to classic recipes. Contemporary Mexican is also the theme at Cartesiano’s Centena Cuatro. For snappy fare in a boho setting, head outside the city centre to Casa Nueve (casanueve.org) in Cholula. SHOP If Puebla’s visual splendour leaves you wishing you could bring it back, check out Uriarte Talavera (uriartetalavera.com.​ mx), which has been firing ceramics since 1824. “We stick to the traditions,” says co-owner Michael Paulhus, which means all products are handmade (no plastic moulds) by local craftspeople. In addition to its showroom and kilns, Uriarte includes a small museum featuring work by contemporary artists. 54 CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM

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