Photo: Cafe La Furgoneta
There was a time when I found it strange that visitors to Brazil would complain about the coffee. That sort of complaint didn’t seem to gel with the numbers (Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, producing around 1,350 million kilos of coffee per year, which clocks in at one-third of the world’s coffee production) nor my experience in country (we have amazing cafes in São Paulo, after all).
Photo: Kevin Raub
Believe it or not, the first time you land in Brazil, it can be kind of hard to find a bar; at least, what most of us from North America and Europe think of as a bar. It is not, however, particularly difficult to find a place where people are drinking! That’s because most Brazilians, especially outside major metropolitan areas, drink at a Brazilian institution known as a boteco (aka buteco or botequim), which comes from the Portuguese word “botica“ and the Spanish word “bodega,” originally meaning a grocery store to buy goods. According to Wikipedia, “In Brazil, the boteco (buteco), or botequim, was traditionally known as a place where alcoholic beverages were sold, serving as a meeting place for ‘bohemians,’ who looked for a good drink, cheap snacks and a chat without obligation.”
Photo: Central Restaurante
A few months ago, Central Restaurante clocked in at number 14 on what is perhaps the planet’s most prestigious food awards, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (it was the top restaurant in South America). Now, the renowned Lima eatery, which is owned by chef and restaurateur Virgilio Martínez has done it again, this time capturing the eye – and, one could say tantalizing the taste buds – of Latin America’s most important food awards, the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America (a spin-off of the World’s Best awards).
Photo: Terra Hall
For the last seven years, food lovers have flocked to South America’s most grandiose food festival – Mistura – and this year is no different (save for a few details). With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Costa Verde on the other, Mistura stretches 37 acres in Lima’s Magdalena del Mar district. It is there that chefs and restaurants from every corner of Peru cook up their most-loved dishes. For 10 days each September locals and foreigners, travelers and foodies walk through Mistura’s gates and into a new world, or as 2014 would have it 12 new ‘worlds.’
Photo: Bridget Gleeson
The fourth edition of the quickly growing biannual food event benefits the Buenos Aires food bank – and features fifteen new participating restaurants, Campari aperitifs, and a creative banana split with cognac that everyone’s talking about.
More than 40 restaurants are onboard for the current edition of Buenos Aires Food Week, running now through September 14th. The three-course menus run AR$140 for lunch and only AR$220 for dinner, not including tip or drinks – unless, of course, you’re counting the complimentary aperitifs offered at many restaurants. Cocktails aside, Food Week is a convenient opportunity to sample the cuisine at some of the city’s more prestigious dining venues. I talked to Anne Reynolds, co-founder of the event, about highlights of this year’s line-up.
Photo: Renato Ganoza
Colombia’s most famous caffeinated beverage may come from beans, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing around for the tea-lovers out there (the sheer number of British expats living in the country should reassure anyone with concerns on the matter). Though tea isn’t literally growing out the ground like coffee, there are a number of cafes and shops dedicated to the fine art of producing a great cup of tea – if you want the leaves read, though, you’ll probably have to go elsewhere.
With its chilly Andean climate and international influence, Bogotá is one of the best places in the country to find a quality cup or two. So if you find yourself without much to do on a rainy Bogotá afternoon, grab a good book (or your iPad) and head to one of these steamy spots.
Photo: Eileen Smith
Traipsing through your local mall does not always yield the best food options, but there’s a mall in Santiago that may turn your thinking around. And even more so with the newly-opened Carlo Cocina, a restaurant showcasing the best Chilean food in small portions, so you can custom build your own meal out of what you like best.
In winter, it’s quiet in Mendoza – temperatures drop, winemakers focus on protecting their grapes from occasional snowfall, visitors pass through on their way to ski resorts in the Andes. It’s the perfect moment for the region’s culinary talents to escape for a few weeks and bring their olive oil and Bonarda to the tables of Buenos Aires.
Case in point: Zuccardi at the Palacio Duhau. Starting this week and extending through August 24th, a pair of creative young chefs – one from Familia Zuccardi’s Casa del Visitante in Mendoza, the other of the elegant Gioia restaurant at the Palacio Duhau–Park Hyatt, perhaps the grandest hotel in Buenos Aires – team up to present a special four-course menu with wine pairings.
Though ceviche originated (and may have been perfected, depending on who you ask) in Peru, Colombia’s Atlantic coast has put its own distinctive spin on it – camarones en salsa rosada, anyone?
Cartagena’s diverse and excellent food scene has the challenge of trying to cater to locals and international tourists alike, which has led restaurants to try to outdo each other when it comes to this coastal favorite. Each place – and each resident — has an individual interpretation of what makes a good ceviche, and the possibilities, from Asian fusion to traditional corvina, are almost as colorful as the city’s famous architecture. These are some of the best places in the city to go to get a taste of the full spectrum of flavors.
While the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list continues to climb in status among foodies the world over – some give it more clout than Michelin these days – so does Brazilian cuisine, which in the 2014 awards not only maintained another top 10 placement (D.O.M. in São Paulo at No. 7), but trumped the world over for one of the side awards, the Veuve Cliquot World’s Best Female Chef.
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