Oregano is an aromatic herb that is very popular in Mexico. It has a wide array of tasteful, practical and functional uses that make it popular in local dishes as well as for therapeutic and wellness uses. Known to have strong anti-bacterial properties, oregano inhibits the growth of many kinds of bacteria. Moreover, it is a powerful source of many antioxidant vitamins. As such it is thought to have positive benefits in strengthening the immune system and possibly slowing down the aging process.
At Esencia, oregano is one of the many herbs we grow in our gardens. Both Aroma Spa and Sal y Fuego Restaurant use fresh oregano from the gardens because of its many benefits.
At Aroma, oregano is featured in the Ritual de Aromas Mágicos. This ritual consists of aromatherapy and a relaxing massage done with small bags of “chia” seeds and oregano leaves combined with creative botanical essence synergies to calm your mind and body. Oregano is used in this treatment for its anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and antiseptic properties. The Ritual de Aromas Mágicos is the perfect massage for guests looking to relax and find inner peace.
At Sal y Fuego, fresh oregano is used in the regional dish, Cochinita Pibil. This traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula is served as a Chef’s special during the holidays and on special occasions. Chef Bernardo describes the preparation required to make this delicious dish.
We cook on the loins of the earth. We excavate a hole approximately 29 inches in the ground, and place hot stones inside in order to turn the hole into a ground oven. Later we burn green firewood, known in the region as ‘havin’, on the open cavity turning it into a 662°F oven.
Meanwhile, we marinate the pig with organic achiote diluted in the juice of bitter oranges, fresh oregano from our garden, tomato, xcatic pepper, salt, pepper, green tomatoes, and wild epazote leaves. Banana leaves (also from our garden) are used to line the ground oven and prevent contamination from the earth. Next we bury the marinated pig in a mud casserole for 3 hours.
We place fresh wood crosspieces and cover it with chavín leaves and banana leaves to preserve the aroma of the leaves. Later we remove the pig from the earth furnace, careful not to contaminate the earth.
Cochinita Pibil is served with a lot of onions marinated in bitter orange and habanero pepper in fresh corn tortillas.