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.
Photo: Eileen Smith
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.
Photo: Danny Ayala Hinojosa
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.
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