Cirque du Soleil is seemingly ubiquitous–with a dozen touring companies scouring the continents, and 7 different resident shows selling out across the Las Vegas strip, making this entertainment company the most prolific circus producer on the planet.
But JOYÀ is different, and I couldn’t wait to share the experience with my family.
Staged in a custom-built, butterfly-inspired structure surrounded by a cenote within the Riviera Maya jungle,
the 600-seat theater features a thrust stage anchored by perimeter table service, and tiered seating beyond the waiters’ service stations.
For the epicure, this production offers a dinner component one-hour before showtime that relies on gastronomic smoke and mirrors to draw the guest deeper into the Mexican experience.
According to Mexican Top Chef Alexis Bostelmann, “Each element of this magnificent show served as my inspiration, where imaginative curiosity is met with unexpected discovery,” said Bostelmann.
The adventure began with an edible menu,
followed by a polished slab of wood featuring a salad of edible flowers and Iberian ham, served with a lobster taco, a sweet potato, and fresh ceviche seasoned with coconut, mint and passion fruit.
I said “yes” to the protein option to garnish my salad: locally-sourced chinicuiles–a salty worm that feeds off maguey roots, and is often found swimming at the bottom of a mezcal bottle. A true Mexican delicacy!
Our featured beverage, in addition to a chilled bottle of Mecier Brut Champagne was Dragon Breath–a signature tequila concoction that was smokin’ and refreshing!
We noshed on a basket of bread bark,
and broccoli boughs while we waited for the second course.
My entree arrived under a meteor shell. I opted for braised short ribs nestled beside a dugout dinosaur bone of grilled veggies, and accompanied by a geode-styled crock filled with ginger, coconut and sweet potato mash.
Leah received a treasure chest of jewels…
accented by a fillet of salmon resting on a poblano-mint puree, elevated by a tower of grilled vegetables, and an oyster-sized seaweed salad topped with a coconut milk pearl.
All the while, our remaining senses were treated to traditional Latin music performed with a jazzy twist.
After the second course was cleared, we were presented with a novel idea–
–a quartet of desserts plated within the pages of the Periodic Table of Pastries.
“My goal was to present a menu rooted in historical meaning that parallels the show’s beloved storyline so that once the performance begins, guests will connect all the details for a completely immersive theatrical experience,” Bostelmann added.
If dinner set the scene, then the show would bear more earthly delights. Noah, Nathan, Leah and I waited for the lights to dim…
and let Cirque du Soleil transport us to a magical place, where gravity is optional.
Continue to Part 2…