The true taste of Colombia
July 8, 2011 Leave a comment
By Verónica Poveda, Metropolitan Touring Ecudor
I never imagined how the culinary culture of Colombia would change my life, nor how much would I enjoy it while being there… and even in my own country, Ecuador!
The story of how I fell in love with it started right at the start of my trip there: dramatic combinations and presentations of dishes that everyone took notice of. And, I must say, Colombia’s attraction didn’t end with its culinary culture. Colombian’s kindness and the courtesy of the people at all times, shows the warmth and love that accompanies every meal.
So, which dishes captivated me, you may ask?
The ajiaco is the dish of the highlands of Cundinamarca and Boyacá in Colombia. It is a soup made with potatoes grown on their own land. The ajiaco soup we tasted in Bogotá is prepared in different ways, usually with the same ingredients in different proportions, although you can change the chicken for beef. It contains chicken, potatoes, onions, corn cobs. You get very excited when you get the soup with its companions: boneless and frayed chicken, mixed with cream, avocado. Do not forget the arepa! I will talk about it later.
Well, calling it delicious is nothing to actually trying it. It can be found throughout the country. It generally consists of a portion of beans (with spoon hogao above), dry white rice, ground beef, pork, sausage, blood sausage, fried green banana, plantain slices, a fried egg, sliced avocado and corn cakes, served all together in a tray. Unfortunately I could not eat it all, but would have done it “with pleasure”.
I have heard of the preparation of the pig for this, but decided not to explain it. The desire of eating something so delicious might be lost. Anyway, the preparation is also very different in each area of the country, but the one we tried, at the Hacienda San José in Pereira, included special dressings that showed us why this is a dish that cannot fail to be tasted in Colombia.
Patacones or tostones are made from green plantains peeled and cut cross-wise. Patacones are fried twice and served in restaurants all over Colombia as a side dish for fish dishes or as an appetizer with guacamole, hogao (tomato and onion sauce) or ají. I tried this giant one right after planting a Wax Palm Tree at the Cocora Valley – a unique experience, followed by a unique flavor! After planting a tree I still have to write a book and have a child!
I could still mention lots and lots of delicious dishes and drinks that you can find there…
But here’s what I think. You have not been in Colombia if you have not eaten arepas!!
The arepa is a recognized icon of Colombian cuisine. According to recent research, the arepa is part of the Colombian cultural heritage and can be considered as a national culinary symbol.
I wish I were one of them!
In Colombia, the arepa can be found anywhere! Neighborhood stores, supermarkets and market places ready for grilling or frying. There are also specialized restaurants and the arepas are also getting popular as an element of the menu in other restaurants.
It is also very difficult to decide which one is better! There are different types, like the the “arepa de maíz calentao”, “arepa de huevo” and the best one: “arepa paisa”.
I have not found something tastier than the arepas! And could eat them every day for the rest of my life! In fact, I will!
If you want to know more about Colombia, ples visit Metropolitan Touring’s website.