Almost everyone I know has been to a Cirque du Soleil production, be it in Vegas, Quebec, Toronto and even in Ottawa where I live…except for me. It is truly ironic and kismet that it took me to travel to Mexico to experience the world’s first and only production of Cirque du Soleil, which combines both culinary and performing arts to ‘engage the audience’s full five senses’!
I had no idea that I was going to be treated to Cirque du Soleil Joyà’s show till I arrived in Mexico and received my itinerary of events while I was attending the Food and Wine Festival in Cancun. This event was placed on the schedule as a bonus and what a bonus it was! For someone who has never seen this sort of production and then adding FOOD & CHAMPAGNE to the event…how can you go wrong?!
But first things first, it’s important to give you some context in regards to the show as it was simply unique and the only way I can describe it is: smell o’ vision…seriously! I will elaborate on my last comment a bit further on.
Joyà, has only been opened since November 2014 and takes residency exclusively at the Cirque du Soleil theatre in Riviera Maya. It is housed among the precious natural environment of that region.
Drawing on the Mexican region’s unique history and heritage, an alchemist and his granddaughter embark on a transformative quest to uncover the secrets of life. Through their wonderfully disorienting journey they will discover a hidden gem in the mangrove, passing the poetry of love and life to future generations.
Walking around the luscious property feeling eager to see what the show was all about, I got whisked away to the VIP entrance and greeted by the beautiful and colorfully painted girls of Joyà.
Entering the theatre literally took my breath away…it was mesmorizing! Lights were dimmed and everywhere you looked, a light blue hue was giving the surroundings a very surreal effect. Now the ‘foodie’ in me was curious as what type of food I was going to be having and the calibre in which it was. Escorted to the demi round table a couple of feet away from the stage, Champagne bottles were already being chilled on the table and I for one wanted to sit down and take it all in! I was informed that we would first be having dinner, accompanied by live entertainment on the stage and then the Joyà production would commence.
You have to love it when you come to a table and a nice bottle of Bubbly is waiting for you…make that two bottles!!
As much as I enjoyed drinking the bubbles, I was anxious and looking forward to the first course…and with that said…it appeared in a smoke-like haze. Dry ice enveloped the entire first course like a magic potion was cast on the meal – very poetic! In the photo you can still see smoke coming out of the centre ‘planter’.
Smoked fish, chia goat cheese, blue crab salad, cured lberico ham, Ramonetti cheese and melon caviar
The first course was not only light and refreshing, but it also set a ‘bar’ to reach and surpass for the second course in terms of flavors and presentation. It must be noted that at this time I also had a ‘palate cleanser’ which I enjoyed…as I ate it with more Champagne…don’t judge!
The perfect ambiance: great food and great music! And to say the show hadn’t started yet!
And voilà…the second course:
Short rib with corn, seasonal vegetables, marrow topped with herb salsa and stuffed chile ancho
And yes, I polished off the plate…it was delicious! For those that love marrow – this one was one for the books. The creamy texture of the marrow balanced perfectly with the herb salsa.
Drum roll please for the dessert course…
This course took me on a palate voyage in regards to flavors and textures. The presentation of the dessert course was very fitting to the show, as the entire stage was in itself in an elaborate library-like setting with books to be seen everywhere. The desserts were presented in the ‘book’ with the genius description of each on the inside cover.
Seeing the dessert description and how each ingredient played a pivotal role in the presentation and taste was genius! Reading the description, gave me a sneak peek as to how this course was put together and the thought process behind it. Aside from the varied textures that each dessert brought – from the crunchy sugar of the crème brûlée to the soft tropical bread pudding and all the textures in between, each dessert highlighted an aspect of the Mexican gastronomy. The dark chocolate cake and the ‘Yucatecan’ lime cream tart were perfect depictions.
With a more than content tummy, I was ready to enjoy the show…and what a show it was!
When I referred to the smell o’ vision earlier on, it had to do with the picture below. The picture depicts a beautiful plant in the process of flowering…the amazing part happened when the flower actually blossomed (sorry no photos of that, as I was spell blinded!). The entire room in which we were in became completely enveloped in the most intoxicating fragrant ever! It was the perfect timing in regards to the choreography as the flower was coming to its own.
True to form (as I was told) for any Cirque du Soleil production, the acrobatics and contortionists amazed and blew my mind away.
Joyà was truly a spectacular event and I can now see why Cirque du Soleil is ranked best in the world.