We are more than coffee, exotic fruits and empanadas ….
Gastronomic tourism is a style of travel that I have been practicing for several years now.
When I started this journey it was a strange thing to understand for those who were close to me and those who came to know my routes. Nowadays, more and more people are concerned about flavors and their cultural impact on the destination.
The question I am always asked is the following with a self-answer: which South American cuisine do you like the most? Peru! Of course.
To which I answered: ¨Every destination has flavors that I love and I want to keep trying, but if we are going to talk about cuisine, I can tell you that Colombian cuisine never ceases to surprise me¨.
I have seen many surprised faces at my answer and that is to be expected. We believe that our gastronomy is the poorest and most basic of all because of the little we know about it.
In Colombian gastronomy there is an infinite variety of flavors, as well as regions and seasonings.
Life has allowed me to get to know several regions of Colombia, to interact with local cooks, communities and indigenous ethnic groups that have opened the doors of their homes to help me understand their customs, flavors and cooking methods.
We are not only coffee, exotic fruits and empanadas. Although we have more than 12 coffee producing departments, they are particularly different according to the climate and the agricultural conditions in which they are harvested.
We have exotic fruits in all our departments but we are not only passion fruit and passion fruit to name the most known by tourists. In Amazonas we have a fruit called aguaje that is drunk in juice, in the valley the currants that are eaten with a little salt in the corners and in the galleries, in Cartagena, Santa Marta and the Caribbean in general is the corozo and mamon that can be eaten without any additive or in juice. The gulupa is cultivated in different regions, one of them being Antioquia, and is mainly consumed in juice. I could go on naming more fruits and more regions since the variety is infinite and several fruits are only known by the natives.
Coming to the empanadas, we are a country particularly consumer of these dumplings and it is what a foreigner takes in his memory: empanada and fried! But we do not have a single variety of empanadas, we have a diversity according to the region where it is consumed. The empanada de pipián from Popayán is not the same as the empanada arriera from Quindío or the empanada de masa de añejo from Nariño. Depending on the region, the dough changes and the filling changes along with its chili peppers.
We are more than coffee, exotic fruits and empanadas. How much do you know about our gastronomy and our destinations?
Colombia has a banana culture. The plantain from Quindío with its patacón cookies and its plantain is not the same as the plantain from the Pacific that is eaten encocado with a blue crab or some plantain cocadas with local ceviche with enough cilantro cimarrón. If we go to the Caribbean we will eat the guineo in a popular manchebuche (cayeye) or patacones to accompany a fried fish on the beach.
And if we want to talk about exotic foods, what about the reculambai that is eaten breaded with a few drops of lemon on the seashore on the beaches of bocagrande in the Pacific, the pirarucu with a little cassava contemplating the Amazon River, the roasted mojojoi in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the Caribbean in the company of the Kogui, the roasted guinea pig with salted potato in the lagoon of La Cocha in Nariño, the turtle with peeled corn arepa that although its consumption is prohibited, the Wayuu continue to gather to have breakfast with their families watching the Cabo de la vela in the Guajira, the turtle with peeled corn arepa that although its consumption is forbidden, the Wayuu continue to meet for breakfast with their families watching the Cabo de la vela in La Guajira, the sancocho de sesos de cabro accompanied by sweaty yucca in the Tatacoa desert in Huila, the pepitoria with grilled meat and arepa santandereana in the Chicamocha canyon in Santander and so I can continue counting one and a thousand flavors that blend with the richness of natural attractions that we have in each region.
It is not necessary to start getting to know foreign flavors when in our country we have several tastes and destinations to be tasted.