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  • Photo: Senderos

    Weekend Getaway: Reserva do Ibitipoca

    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: Quito’s Heritage in Form and Flavor

    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.

  • The Art of Eating at an Argentine Parrilla

    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.

  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    Dining Out in Tiny Tiradentes

    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.

  • The Best Restaurant in Latin America

    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.

  • Typical Food of the Chilean National Holiday

    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.

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