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.’
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Paul Silva
While it’s only recently received a nod from the international food community for its innovative dishes, creative ingredients and chefs who are committed to nothing less than perfection, Peru is (and has always been) a serious food country. Case in point – each September it hosts Mistura, South America’s largest and most popular food festival. This year half a million hungry food enthusiasts are expected to visit Costa Verde de Magdalena for the ten-day event which kicks off September 5.
So what if they’re finely trained millionaire superstars bathing in the flattering glow of an international spotlight? These guys are Argentine – and they like all the same things you like about Argentina. Steak on the parrilla, the Pope, a relaxing gourd of yerba mate at the end of a hard day’s work: La Selección Argentina, they’re just like us.
Photo: Carlos Varela
Winter is upon us in Chile, and that means cooler temperatures, with more humidity, and the ever-present snow capped Andes on clear, sunshiny days. And with those cool temperatures come all the ways in which humans like to keep warm. We’ve got layers, and scarves, woolen gloves, hats and scarves. But perhaps the most warming thing of all is a nice bowl of hot soup.
Chile has many soups to call its own, and though they are popular year-round, this is a particularly good time of year to order some cazuela, a caldillo, paila marina or mariscal.
Photo: What's Gaby Cooking
With the soccer event of the year nearly here, Brazil is the destination of choice for many travelers. If you’re jetting off to one of the host cities, make sure to check out its bustling culinary scene. But where to find the best food? Our friend and food blogger Gaby Dalkin from What’s Gaby Cooking rounded up her favorite places in a fun map on where to eat in Brazil. From the best caipirinhas in Fortaleza to the traditional Brazilian seafood stew moqueca in Salvador, each host city offers an unforgettable gastronomical adventure. Read the full story here.
It’s hard to know what to expect at Boragó, one of the world’s best restaurants, ranked 8th in Latin America, and first place in Chile. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán dishes out innovative small-plate creations into a several-course tasting menu, featuring harvested products from all over Chile, much of it from close to Santiago.
Most folks think of Brazil as a beach destination. Rightfully so, there’s no denying Brazil was sun-kissed by God almighty himself when perfect sands were being dished out to Earth. But Brazil is also home to a massive interior of pastoral hills flush with hidden waterfalls, deep canyons, rolling coffee plantations and dramatic rocky landscapes which come along with a culture entirely different from that of the beach – no bikini necessary.
One of Brazil’s most beautiful countryside destinations is the state of Minas Gerais, which is famous for colonial towns, hearty cuisine and cachaça, Brazil’s local firewater; but is perhaps best known for the friendliness of its people. I have a little joke in Brazil: Whenever I meet a Brazilian that I immediately love to death, they are almost always a Mineiro. To that end, Mineiros are especially good at hospitality. If you are visiting Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third biggest city, on business or pleasure, consider hanging around a bit and making the 195-mile trek south to Reserva do Ibitipoca; better yet, if you’re in Rio de Janeiro (for pleasure – what else?), it’s even an even closer journey: 157 miles. But regardless of where you come from, this luxury plantation is a world away.
Casa Gangotena, the residence, has for centuries shared the square with Quito’s oldest Spanish construction, the awesome San Francisco church complex. A 3.5-hectare enclosure is probably the largest in South America (or close to it). It was born only days after the city’s foundation in 1534. A handful of years ago, the Franciscan Order’s next door neighbors sold their heritage home, which would be restored and turned into a glorious hotel that (talk about location!) looms over Quito’s very first square, very first church, very first water fountain, very first streets… this is the heart of Spanish America. So staying at one of Casa Gangotena’s 31 unique rooms is a treat with a deeper historic premise.
At any Argentine parrilla, or steakhouse, you can spot the tourists in a heartbeat. They’re always the ones who arrive too early for the meal – the people silently staring, bewildered, at the thick menu, wondering what the difference is between morcilla and chorizo (and trust me, it’s a key distinction.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a local friend to show you the ropes, you can learn how to eat like an Argentine with Parrilla Tour, a guided food circuit that takes travelers into a series of hole-in-the-wall parrillas, traditional empanada shops, and artisanal heladerías.
In the interest of preserving authenticity at these little-known venues, the tour operators don’t allow journalists to publish the names or locations of the restaurants and shops we visited. You’ll have to go yourself – but in the meantime, learn what to order. Just follow the parrilla experts’ advice in four easy steps, illustrated with my photos from last Friday’s tour.
Foodies in São Paulo live and breathe for Veja magazine‘s annual Comer & Beber (Food & Drink) issue, which chronicles the best of everything in culinary-obsessed Sampa, from bar snacks to beef and everything between the two. The city’s gastronomically-inclined hinge on the special issue’s release every October.
Photo: Kevin Raub
It’s certainly no news flash that Brazil is a wonderful place to eat (check out our breakdown of Brazil’s finest dish), and the country’s biggest city, São Paulo, is certainly home to the biggest concentration of culinary wonders in South America, but Brazil’s holds a culinary secret deep in its interior that folks might not consider when planning their gastronomic itineraries. World: Meet Tiradentes.
Photo: Beatrice Murch
You know it’s springtime when the art galleries open their doors to the warm evening air – when you can hear musicians tuning their instruments beneath the trees – when cold champagne flows like water. Read on for three events you won’t want to miss this month in Buenos Aires.
Photo: William Reed Business Media
The folks behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – an annual snapshot of the world’s best restaurants based on a taste buds of internationally recognized food experts – created a Latin American spin off which includes South America, Central America and the Caribbean region. This year, the ceremony took place in Lima. The excitement was even greater when they announced 1st place. The prestigious title went to the famous Peruvian restaurant Astrid & Gastón.
Photo: mabel flores
September in Chile means several things. It represents the much-awaited beginning of spring, the time of year when you first start to see kids and their parents out flying kites, and most importantly, it’s when the national holiday (Fiestas Patrias) is celebrated.
Every year, the 18th and 19th of September, are given over to celebrating chilenidad, all things Chilean, which means the cueca, which is the national dance, national costumes, typical games such as spinning tops and flying kites, and of course, enjoying the national foods.
Below are some foods you won’t want to miss during Chile’s colorful Fiestas Patrias celebrations! Many of these are available year-round, but never in such great quantity, and usually not all together.
Photo: Ethan Hartman
Last week in Lima, 250 Latin American chefs, food journalists and industry insiders announced the first-ever lineup of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013. Though only one Buenos Aires restaurant placed in the top ten, Argentina dominated the list: a total of thirteen Argentinian restaurants made the cut, all located in the capital city (save for Francis Mallmann’s legendary eatery at Bodega Escorihuela winery in Mendoza.) Here, a short list of the winners.
Photo: Claudia Baiana
While Brazilian street food certainly doesn’t reach the same levels of intrigue as that of India, or gourmet levels of America’s food truck movement, it still manages to grip your taste buds in cross-cultural delight. Like Brazilian food in general, the country’s tropical roadside kibbles are as diverse as its population, with influences from Africa to Japan spilling into Brazil’s samba-fueled streets and, more often than not, sun-kissed beaches.
There is a good deal more from where the following street treats came from (ranging from simpler things like grilled corn on the cob and fresh-fried potato chips to more elaborate choices like beach-grilled shrimp and sweet, tamale-like dumplings known as pamonha), but these are five of our favorites.
And don’t worry about getting sick–Brazilians have high standards of hygiene, so you’d need to be very unlucky to get sick from any of the following (it’s never happened to us).
For folks that pay close attention to such things (and many, many people swear by such things), the coveted World’s 50Best Restaurants list, brought to gastrophiles the world over annually by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, is the end-all, be-all of destination dining. It is where foodie fervor reaches fever pitches; a one-stop ticket to foodgasm; the Bible of culinary creationism. For the 2013 edition, La Cellar de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, dethroned Copenhagen’s Noma, to take over No. 1 restaurant in the world accolades, but we’re not here to talk Spain and Denmark.
We’re here to talk Brazil, which means we’re here to talk about São Paulo’s D.O.M., the 6th best restaurant in the world according to the 2013 list, and the most highly-ranked spot to grab a bite to eat in all of South America (and No. 2 in all of the Americas period, second only to Eleven Madison Park in New York).
Are you hungry yet?
To understand something about Argentina’s culinary tradition, consider one of their favorite sayings: ‘todo bicho que camina va a parar al asador’ (every animal that walks ends up on the grill). Indeed, it’s a nation of farmers, cows and carnivores, famous for its vast pampas, spectacular produce and grass-fed beef, and, of course, the weekend asado, or barbecue. But the meat-centric national cuisine is developing far past simple steaks on the grill. Here, two takes on la nueva cocina argentina (the new Argentinian cuisine) in Buenos Aires.
Photo: Renato Ganoza
Gastronomical offerings all over Chile are growing more and more international, with an African fusion restaurant way down south in Puerto Natales, and a cluster of gourmet restaurants in the northern outpost of San Pedro de Atacama. In Santiago, sushi and pizza are popular and newly, so are Thai, Korean and fusion. But one of the most popular international cuisines among Chileans and international visitors alike is from our neighbor to the north, with many Peruvian restaurants all around Santiago. Here are some that span a few different neighborhoods, and to suit every budget. Here are three of our favorites.
Photo: Santiago Brusa
Perhaps you’ve heard: Buenos Aires’ culinary scene has been undergoing a metamorphosis. In the not very distant past, if you weren’t in the mood for grilled meat, pasta, or tapas – the latter two a throwback to the city’s Italian and Spanish heritage – you were out of luck at dinnertime. Today, a growing number of innovative chefs bring much-needed diversity to the city’s dining sphere, while others focus on perfecting traditional recipes for an increasingly discerning clientele. Of course, the foodie scene isn’t necessarily easy to access: as any traveler who’s ever visited a large city can attest, it’s easy to overspend on a mediocre meal. Enter the professional epicures. Though the following two services are quite different – the first a socially-minded food tour, the second a personalized ‘anti-tour’ through the city’s lesser – known food highlights – both provide invaluable entry into gourmet Buenos Aires.
Photo: La Mar
As far as South American cuisine goes, there is none more famous, tasty or more cunningly marketed than Peruvian, where mountain-high piles of citrus-doused raw fish have made ceviche a household name the world over. There is, of course, much more to Peruvian cuisine than raw fish: Lomo Saltado (stir-friend sirloin with spices, tomatoes, onion and French fries), Ají de Gallina (cheesy, chili pepper chicken) and Causa (mashed potato dumplings) are tasty favorites, but are merely ubiquitous introductory dishes to this complex cuisine full of regional variation and locally-sourced ingredients from the sea (black shells, green seaweed) to the Andes (quinoa, Andean legumes).
Photo: Natalie Southwick
Like most Latin American countries, breakfast in Colombia revolves around carbs. There’s a bakery on practically every block in every city or town, packed with all manner of rolls, panes and other droolworthy pastries. The most ubiquitous of all is the humble arepa, a breakfast staple across the country and in neighboring Venezuela as well. Though arepas can be found in every corner of Colombia, not all arepas are born equal. In fact, depending on who you ask, there are between 70-100 varieties in Colombia alone.
São Paulo is a monster. A grotesque concrete jungle, one of the most intimidating urban metropolises in the world, some 21 million people clambering for a leg up in the beating economic and cultural heart of Brazil. The endless skyline makes Manhattan look like a quiet suburb; the traffic makes Los Angeles seem like a free ride.
Photo: Ratha Grimes
If you read enough guidebooks, you can be forgiven for thinking that half of a country falls into the “can’t-miss” category. While this phrase is heavily abused by the travel writers of the world, some things truly cannot be missed. This is the case for landmark restaurant Andrés Carne de Res near Bogotá.
The restaurant, which has been an institution in the central Andes since it opened its first location in 1982, is nothing short of a delicious, colorful, musical all-night party. Plus, the fact that the flagship location takes up the space equivalent to a city block makes it literally impossible to miss it if you’re within a mile of it.
Photo: Feirinha Gastronômica
If there ever was a city ripe for the gourmet food truck pickens’, it would be São Paulo, one of the best foodie cities in the entirety of the Southern Hemisphere. The obvious combination of a captive audience of 21 million hungry mouths coupled with a city that works hard, eats even harder, means this culinary hotspot should be one giant traffic-snarled gastro rush hour. Except it’s not.
Sampa has no gourmet food trucks. “Currently, there is no law that allows food trucks in São Paulo,” explains local foodie and event coordinator Mauricio Schuartz. “We see it happening in the near future but no one knows exactly how.”
Photo: Lidyanne Aquino
Brazil doesn’t actually roll off the tongue of discerning oenophiles three-glasses deep into conversations about the next great terroir – it is, after all, a country fueled by caipirinhas and chope (draft beer), two beat the-heat-treats that would almost always be the go-to tipple of choice in the tropical heat. But that is changing. Brazil’s Vale dos Vinhedos, located 120km north of the country’s southernmost capital, Porto Alegre, is finally producing wines that have the Chileans and Argentines starting to glance over their shoulders.
Photo: Lance Brashear
They are an odd sight even when expected. The Curuchos –dressed in purple robes, masked from head to toe, and wearing a large cone on their head – are part of Quito’s Easter, celebratory tradition. The cones symbolize humility and the color purple, penitence.
Visitors to Argentina may notice that the country has something of a sweet tooth: Heladerías (ice cream shops) can be found on nearly every street corner in Buenos Aires, and most of the coffee for sale in supermarkets comes with sugar already added to the grounds. But no sweet treat is as popular or ubiquitous as dulce de leche, a caramelly concoction used as a spread for bread, as a filler for cookies and cakes, and as a flavor and add-on for ice cream.
Photo: Enrique Castro-Mendivil
Did you know that Lima hosts the largest gastronomy fair in South America called Mistura? Last September this iconic event attracted half a million visitors and this year they are expecting around one million!
This 10-day fiesta welcomes cooks, bakers, street food vendors, sweet vendors, restaurants, culinary institutes, patrons, and many more.
Photo: Juan Luis Aizpuru
In a country famous for its steak, it’s no surprise that barbecues are a heralded event in Argentina. These “asados,” as barbecues here are called, are traditionally a family event and take place each week on Sundays. Generations gather in the afternoon and cook large amounts of different kinds of meat— everything from steaks, chicken, beef ribs, chorizo sausages, morcilla sausages, and, in Patagonia, lamb— over a large grill, which is usually set up outside, like a campfire pit or a stand-alone chimney. While the meat cooks throughout the afternoon, people nibble on charcuterie plates of cheese and sausage (in Argentina they are called “picadas”) and sip on red wine or cocktails of Coca-Cola and Fernet Branca, a bitter spirit made of herbs and spices. When the meat is ready, it’s often served with bread and simple salads; the classic Argentine salad is lettuce, tomato, and white onion, with a bit of olive oil and salt as dressing.
Photo: Maurizio Costanzo
From alcohol to ice cream, the exotic fruits of Ecuador are commonly enjoyed every day as part of Ecuador’s rich gastronomic culture. Residents often do not think twice about them, but the fruits of Ecuador are one of the first things visitors notice as dozens and dozens of exotic fruits, many never before seen by tourists, are utilized in many different ways. But two of the most common preparations are juice and ice cream.
Photo: University de las Americas
Food is an eternal theme that never seems to lose its appeal with travelers. For that reason, cookbooks in foreign countries can be coveted by those who travel to discover flavors. And in recent years Ecuador has produced some of the finest publications to introduce the world to its rich cuisine.
Photo: Michael Barrera
Chile is a country of many flavors. A combination of European and aboriginal traditions allows for wide gastronomical variety.
Seafood fans will be glad for the long coastline of Chile. Some of the most famous coastal dishes are: caldillo de congrio (soup with onions, potatoes and carrots); pastel de jaiba (Chilean crab pie); chupe de locos (sea snail soup); machas a la parmesana (clams with grilled parmesan cheese); and mariscal (cold soup with a variety of raw seafood).
Photo: Astrid y Gastón
We usually provide our readers with inspiring travel tips in South America, but today, we are bringing Peru to your kitchen by giving you a gourmet recipe worth its cooking time.
And if you call yourself a real food lover, then surely you have heard of Gaston Acurio, celebrity chef and ambassador to Peruvian cuisine. This recipe of the pallar dish (lima bean) is courtesy of one Acurio’s top franchises, Astrid y Gaston, known for its sophisticated yet laid back dishes and atmosphere.
Photo: Steven Depolo
For those traveling on a small budget, I suggest the traditional empanadas, a type of pastry filled with pino, a mix of diced meat, onions, olives, raisins and a piece of boiled egg. You can also find them filled with cheese, seafood, chicken and other combinations depending on the place.
You should also try sopaipillas, a round fried pumpkin dough. It can be eaten as a snack combined with a good pebre, a mix of chilli peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro, or as a dessert with chancaca (dark brown sugar) or powdered sugar.
Photo: KaMpErƎ & Le-tticia
There are a few theories about the origin of ceviche and its name but it seems that it originated more than 2,000 years ago among the indigenous groups of northern Peru, where the Moche culture was situated (Chiclayo and Trujillo). Nowadays it is prepared in many Latin American countries in a multitude of ways. But if you want to know how it’s served at the best cevicherias in Peru, get your pencil, paper and fish ready for a great recipe!
Photo: Jeff Kovacs
In the U.S. we call them hot pockets or turnovers; in Italy they are calzones; in India, samozas. And in Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, stuffed pastries are known as empanadas.
The word empanada comes from the Spanish verb “empanar,” meaning “to wrap in bread.” Empanadas are filled with meats and vegetables and baked or fried all over the continent, with variations in each
country. If you find yourself in Ecuador and you want to try a true Ecuadorian empanada, what are you options?
Photo: Lance Brashear
There is a dish highly recommended at La Gloria Restaurant in Quito. When customers hear about it or see it on the menu, the reactions range from genuine delight to skepticism. For those who find the item disagreeable, owner Santiago Jarrin politely asks them, “But have you tried it?”
Inevitably the response is “No, but the head…”
Photo: Enrique Castro-Mendívil
Over the last years, Peruvian gastronomy has become known worldwide. Many Peruvian entrepreneurs have opened restaurants abroad that immediately became famous, like if they had a secret formula. But why do people from different countries and of different tastes love this food so much?
Photo: Thomas S.
Peruvian Pisco Sour is a national cocktail that you must try as soon as you arrive to Peru. It has become a welcome drink of our country. If you want a taste, you can also try a shot of its base liquor Quebranta Pisco.
What is the history behind this Peruvian grape-based liquor?
Photo: Mario Carvajal
Christmas season brings out the sweet tooth in everyone and the people of Ecuador are no exception. These four desserts can be enjoyed throughout the year but are fancied even more during the holidays. There are variations on the presentation and preparation of each, but today’s recipes come from Chef Pablo Zambrano of the Hilton Colon Hotel and his book 111 Platos Populares del Ecuador. You can find these treats at the Hilton’s Café Colon or Sal & Pimienta Restaurant. Throughout the city you will find these same treats in many restaurants and bakeries.
Photo: David Horowitz
The central zone of Chile, located between two mountain ranges: the Andes and Coastal ranges, is home to fertile valleys bathed by different rivers. Taking advantage of these special characteristics, this area of the country has seen the establishment of vineyards that produce different and exquisite varieties of wines. It’s led to Chile being recognized as one of the main exporters of wine from the “new world.”
Photo: Cyril Prudhomme
Aromas y Sabores – GUAYAQUIL
September 20-22, 2012
Crystal Palace, Malecon 2000, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Exhibiting the best in coffee and chocolate products in Ecuador, this fair aims to promote and position the country as the top exporter of high quality coffee and chocolate.
If Argentina is associated with any one beverage, it’s usually wine, not beer. But many families in Argentina trace their roots back to Germany, and nowhere is that heritage more evident than in the massive Oktoberfest celebration each spring in Villa General Belgrano, a picturesque town in the province of Córdoba.
Photo: Mabel Flores
Chile celebrates its independence from Spain in September and the entire month is recognized as the “Month of the Nation.” The weather has begun to change, spring has almost arrived and the sun sets the mood for a celebration.
Fiestas Patrias, or more commonly, Dieciocho, are the names given to the holiday celebrations that take place on September 18 and 19. This year festivities will also take place on Monday the 17th. But don’t be surprised if you discover that the celebrations already got started. Because Chileans are patriotic and like to always have fun, the Fiestas Patrias provide a great excuse for a party.
Polo has long been the favored pastime of Argentina’s elite, and for years, there were few opportunities for visitors to experience the sport themselves. In Argentina, polo is usually played mainly at exclusive members’ only clubs, and the few tournaments each year can be expensive to attend.
But recently one polo club, located on a picturesque estancia about an hour’s drive outside the center of Buenos Aires, opened itself up to non-member visitors for daylong excursions. The program is simply called Argentina Polo Day.
If you came to Quito ten years ago and visited the central historical district, you probably thought you would never need to return again. The city was dirty and the streets overcrowded with vendors. And those with more refined tastes had no choice but to head to the international chains to spend the night.
Fast forward to today. The city streets are free of vendors (all have been relocated to indoor markets), old town has been dramatically restored, and luxury hotels adorn what was once an eye sore.