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Category Archives: Food & Drink

PISCO MASTERCLASS

Bar Pachamama

In the interests of research, I attended a masterclass on the fiery Peruvian spirit Pisco. The Peruvian tourist board are keen to promote the ‘Pisco route’. The first thing I learnt is the Peruvian Pisco differs from its Chilean rival in being distilled by traditional artisan methods. The fermented grape juice or must has no additives by law, not even water. It is a great source of national pride. The methods date back to the Spanish colonization in the 16th century. The name comes from a small town on the Pacific coastal desert, near to one of the oases where the grapes are grown. Legend has it that pre-columbian cultures over a thousand years ago honoured local birds, the pisku (probably small waders that are found in large numbers like sanderlings). Pure Pisco is made from a single grape variety such as Quebranta, with raisin and apple taste or Mollar with a herbal, honey flavour or Uvina with a touch of olive or Moscatel with sweeter peachy overtones. A mixed ‘acholado’ Pisco can be made to make a more complex beverage. The drink is not aged in wood nor in any material that can impart a flavour so traditionally in ceramic jars (also these came to be named piscos) and now stainless steel.

The history too is fascinating. Originally produced by the Jesuits it was sent to all corners of the Spanish empire. Pisco was exported to California during the Gold rush days as all cargo from eastern North America had to go around Cape Horn, making it a cheaper option. In the 1950’s Lima was popular with Hollywood stars. Orson Wells and Ava Gardner stayed at the Grand Hotel Bolivar, John Wayne at the Hotel Maury. Wayne married a Peruvian who became his lifelong companion, but that is another story. The most famous cocktail at the time was the Pisco sour, a mixture of Pisco, lime, sugar, ice, egg white and bitters. I tried an alternative cocktail called ‘The Pisco Punch’, which dates to 19th century San Francisco. This has pineapple, lime juice, sugar, and secret ingredient gum arabic, that allegedly delays the effect of the alcohol, cheers.
For trips to Peru please contact us.

4 Latin American Sauce Recipes

Zingy, spicy and powerful, Latin American sauces are the go-to condiments when you’re looking to add some punch to barbecued meats, fish or stews. From the fresh coriander-packed Mexican salsas to fiery Peruvian aji amarillo, you’ll surely find a sauce here that fits the bill, whatever you’re cooking.

Aji Amarillo, Peru

This Peruvian condiment is a key component in pepping up anticuchos, barbecued meat found sizzling away over charcoal on almost every street corner across the country. The sauce is both fiery and creamy and compliments the smokiness of the meat perfectly. The key to making this recipe is finding good quality aji amarillo chillies.

Ingredients

3 dried aji amarillo chillies
50g cotija cheese, crumbled
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbs oil
1 can of kidney beans, drained
1 handful of coriander, chopped

Method

Start by soaking the chillies in hot water for 15 minutes. Once rehydrated, place in a blender with a little water and blitz until smooth. Scoop out and push through a sieve to catch any seeds.

Place back in the blender and add the lemon juice, sugar and crumbled cheese and blend together into a paste.

Put a sauce pan over a medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Once browed, scoop the paste along with the kidney beans into pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add everything back into the blender along with the coriander and blitz until smooth. Leave to cool before placing in the fridge ready for your barbecued food.

Chimichurri, Argentina

Roughly a cross between an Italian salsa verde and pesto, just without the cheese, chimichurri is one of Argentina’s most iconic sauces. If you’re lucky enough to try it in Argentina, you’ll likely have it drizzled over choripan, barbecued chorizo sausage. There’s really nothing better, particularly if it’s accompanied by a cold beer. A good sauce for livening up any cooked meats or even robust fish like salmon.

Ingredients

1 large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
5 tbs white wine vinegar
5 tbs water
1 tsp salt
1 pinch of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp ground black pepper
100 ml olive oil

Method

Place the parsley and garlic into a processer and blitz until finely chopped.

Add to a large bowl along with the vinegar, salt, finely chopped oregano, water, chilli flakes and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until everything blends together.

Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

While chimichurri can be made in advance and kept for several days in the fridge, it quickly loses its vibrant green colour, so it’s best eaten within an hour or two.

Pebre, Chile

Pebre is the most southerly cousin of the salsa. While it might not be as well known as the others, it’s spicy, fresh and is perfect for giving most meat dishes the kick they need. The key to making the best pebre is buying the best quality ingredients you can afford. It’s never going to be the same if you make the dish with bland supermarket salad tomatoes.

Ingredients

2 large ripe tomatoes
2 Anaheim peppers
3 spring onions, trimmed
1 handful of coriander
200 ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs salt
1 tbs ground pepper

Method

Add a pan of water onto a high heat and wait until it boils. Drop the tomatoes in for 30 seconds, then scoop them out carefully and plunge into cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel off the skin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Finely chop the tomatoes and add to a large bowl.

Finely cut the spring onions and Anaheim peppers. If you’re feeling lazy, you could always do this in a food processor. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Finely chop the coriander leaves and add to the bowl along with the olive oil lemon juice, salt and pepper, then mix. Taste and add more seasoning if required. Place in the fridge until ready to eat.

Crema de Rocoto, Peruvian

This Peruvian sauce is both creamy and spicy. Works particularly well over smoky meats or barbecued vegetables. It’s also super simple to make and lasts in the fridge for more than a week.

Ingredients

300 ml good quality mayonnaise
4 tbs rocoto chilli pepper paste
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs white wine vinegar
½ tsp mustard powder
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper

Method

Add the rocoto paste and the mayonnaise into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add all the other ingredients and blend together. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

RELATED: Peruvian Causa Rellena Recipe

Instead of making these sauces at home, why not head to Latin America and try the real thing? To start planning your holiday, call one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

6 THINGS TO DO IN URUGUAY

ENJOY MONTEVIDEO THE STRESS-FREE CITY

The nation’s capital is big enough to have plenty to see, but small enough to get around easily. Much of the city is along the seafront, where locals jog and families play ball games. The city is ranked as having the highest quality of life in Latin America and considering many offices don’t start until 10am it has a very relaxed ambience. I visited earlier this year and found the people friendly and happy. The Spanish historic centre is like walking back in time, and for those who like meat stop at the Mercado del Puerto for an asado, a mixed charcoal grill. For shopping an old prison at Punta Carretas is now a fashionable mall. Tango is also as popular here as in Buenos Aires. If you want some real peace and quiet go to La Baguela, a country hotel just 30 minutes away with its own deserted beach.

RIDE THE DUNES OF ROCHA

The department of Rocha in the East has some of the finest beaches and lagoons in the country. The sand dunes are sparsely inhabited, and you can even stay in a yurt or beach cabin at La Pedrera. This quiet area is great for bird-watching, horse-riding or as I chose, biking. There are amazing walks over the dunes to the old hippie colony of Cabo Polonia. Take plenty of water with you on any of these trips, as there are no refreshments on sale anywhere. You may stumble upon tiny fisherman’s villages, but the only living thing I came across was a donkey.

PLAY JAMES BOND AT JOSÉ IGNACIO

José Ignacio is a coastal point that attracts the wealthy jet-set. You can find ultra-modern architects dream hotels like the three glamourous Vik properties (Estancia, Bahia and Playa) each decorated with unique works of art or the Fasano hotel in nearby Punta del Este. The Awa boutique hotel also is in Punta del Este. The lagoon at Jose Ignacio is a fave spot for kite-boarders.

TASTE THE TANNAT

Uruguay has some great wines, with a heritage going back to Italian, Spanish and French immigrants. The grape that has been adopted here is Tannat, which produces a heady, strong and full-bodied wine suited to the harsh dry environment. It is only recently been discovered by importers and well worth trying with a good steak. Some of the bodegas or wineries are open to visitors and do tastings, (make sure that you are not the designated driver). A few of the estancias take in guests, I particularly liked Narbona, which was further to the west near Carmelo. We also stopped at the charming Aguaverde Wine Lodge near Punta del Este for lunch. The welcoming lodge has rooms and cottages for guests, a stunning infinity pool and a vineyard beyond the gardens.

WALK AROUND COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO

Take a day trip to Colonia, a charming town steeped in Spanish and Portuguese historical monuments. Popular with trippers from Argentina too, as a 45-minute ferry connects with Buenos Aires. The town is dominated by the lighthouse and fortified walls, but there are many interesting museums, churches and art galleries. One of the main attractions for me are the old classic cars that can be seen dotted around the centre, some of which are no longer driven but make unique bar-rooms for a romantic drink. There are some nice boutique hotels such as El Charco, if you have time enough to linger a day or two.

WHALE WATCHING

Southern Right Whales head along the coastlines of South America. They mate and raise their calves before migrating towards Antarctica, where their main feeding grounds are. Uruguay has some prime spots for whale watching. The season stretches from June to December, depending on the weather. The best time to observe these graceful giants and their offspring is between August and October. The Atlantic coast has good vantage points at Rocha and Punta del Este. Boat tours should be approved by the Organization for the Conservation of Whales (OCC-Uruguay) to make sure that the whales are not disturbed. It is even possible to observe them from the beach, with a binoculars. Watch out for water sprays, churning water and flocks of sea gulls – these are sure indicators that whales are near. Chances are even better in the early morning or late afternoon. For more details about visiting Uruguay do contact us.
All pictures except whale are copyright David Horwell.

RELATED: 6 Things to do in Uruguay

9 REASONS TO VISIT QUITO

Quito is not just a stop en-route to the Galapagos Islands but one of the leading cities of South America,. Voted one of the Best Destinations to Discover, according to National Geographic Traveler magazine. Here are 9 reasons:

Quito is at the middle of the world

Quito is the capital city closest to the sun in both altitude and latitude. At a lofty 2,850 meters above sea level and is also near a place where you can straddle both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. A visitor site has sprung up at the “Centre of the World” where the equatorial line is drawn at Latitude 0 ° 0’0 ”. Despite the altitude Quito enjoys a spring-like climate, all year round.

An Unsurpassed Historical Centre

Quito was declared the first World Cultural Heritage site, with one of the best-preserved colonial centres in the Americas. Wander around restored gems such as La Compañía de Jesús, a baroque masterpiece; or the Plaza Grande, the main square surrounded by historical monuments; tour the religious complex of San Francisco. Ramble through La Ronda, a charming street that keeps traditional trades still alive. The historical centre is not just a museum, it is dynamic living place where inhabitants, religious devotees, public officials and merchants get on with their lives.

Quito’s Cuisine

Quito’s cuisine is one of the best kept secrets. Try traditional mestizo dishes that mix the pre-Columbian and colonial. A fusion of Andean and Iberian culture. Try locro: potato & avocado soup, fritada: fried pork, empanadas: tasty pasties, home-made chilli sauces, paila fruit ice cream, the list goes on. Other dishes are influenced from the Pacific with fish and prawns and coconut. Taste the gourmet chocolates made with finest cacao and the high-altitude coffee. Enjoy fresh fruits throughout the year: such as the tree tomato, naranjilla, cherimoya, granadilla and taxo, babaco and much more.

Handicrafts and art

Quito was an important cultural and artistic centre during colonial times. These skills have been passed down through the ages. You can still see artisans plying their trades in their workshops: drapers, hatters, tailors, goldsmiths and jewellers. Colonial Quito fostered religious art, its well-known Quiteña School, produced some of the most important colonial artists including the sculptors Bernardo de Legarda and Manuel Chili and the painter Miguel de Santiago; discover their works in the many museums and churches.

A Bit of Culture

Quito has many places with permanent and temporary exhibitions, theatre, music or film. Highlights are The Museum of the City, the Museum of El Alabado (with pre-Columbian treasures), a Wax Museum, the Sucre Theatre, the Centre of Contemporary Art and Music to name a few. For archaeology buffs, take a trip to the site museums in Tulipe, Rumipamba or La Florida. Children also have their spaces in the Yaku Park Museum, the Interactive Science Museum and the Train Museum.

Nightlife

Ask our local guide to recommend one of the many restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs in the sectors of La Mariscal, La Floresta, Guápulo and La Carolina. There you will find music, local and international cuisine and, above all meet the locals having fun.

Take a Train

From the district of Chimbacalle, in Quito, you can embark on a journey in “the most difficult railroad in the world”. An ambitious work of engineering linking the coast with the Andes, built the beginning of twentieth century. Now it has become a heritage tourist train, including the famous Devil’s Nose zig-zag through the Andes. Today you can take upscale pullman on a four-day journey or take the local one-day train. The slow pace better to appreciate the Andean scenery.

Shopping

Quito is ideal for retail therapy, you will find a variety of choice for all tastes and budgets. From modern shopping centres such as Quicentro Shopping or Mall El Jardín, or stores of Ecuadorian contemporary design in La Floresta district or La Mariscal; likewise in the Historical Centre you can look at handicraft shops such as El Quinde, with Andean alpaca clothing, gold, silver, filigree jewellery, leather goods and weavings. Unique products are vegetable ivory (tagua) from the Amazon and the famous straw hats (misnamed Panama Hats). In Quito you will find paintings, sculptures in street markets and in La Mariscal there are galleries and antique shops.

The Paramo and the Cloud Forest

Just an hour or two away from Quito, you can enjoy two different environments. Firstly, the haciendas located in the Andean moorland. Enjoy thermal waters, horseback riding, hiking, mountaineering, flower plantations and more. Alternatively head to the Northwest, you can discover the subtropical cloud forest, a paradise for bird watching, with more than 500 species. One of the best places to see dozens of species of hummingbirds and butterflies. Two completely opposite worlds, one warm and one cold.
To visit Quito as part of a tailor-made tour please see our journey ideas at Select Latin America.

RELATED: Top 10 places to visit in Ecuador

 

Latin America’s culinary capitals

Calling all foodies. More travellers are picking their holiday spots based on gastronomy than ever before. Latin America boasts some of the world’s culinary capitals, such as Lima. The Peruvian capital is at the epicentre of Peru’s thriving food scene. Whether it’s the diverse landscapes or the varied people and cultures, Latin America is doing something right when it comes to cuisine. If you don’t know your completo from your choripan, you’ve come to the right place. From years of Latin American food exploration, we’ve compiled a handy list of the gastronomic hotspots.

Mexico City, Mexico

mexico city food

Flickr: The DLC

While Oaxaca is often tipped as the centre of Mexico’s most complex food, they’re pipped to the post by the metropolis of Mexico City. Its streets are brimming with foods from all corners of this magnificent country. The sights and smells are almost intoxicating and can’t fail to get you salivating. While not all street food is equal, it’s hard to find one that’s bad. Grab a pew at any humble taco stand and tuck into tortillas topped with juicy grilled meat, queso blanco and spicy salsas. If you’ve got an accompanying cold beer, all the better.

Cartagena, Colombia

When you look around online, you’ll find eager bloggers waxing lyrical about Cartagena’s colourful streets and people, and it’s true that this coastal city is a little gem. However, few mention how good the food is here. It’s teeming with good restaurants serving up fresh seafood and cafes knocking out humble (but delicious fare), but it’s the street food where the city really shines. Wander into almost any plaza or cobbled street and you’ll find vendors plying everything from cornbread arepas and grilled meats over coal to Colombia-style ceviche.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian food is fusion food, a lip-smacking blend of Italian, African and indigenous. Expert hearty stews, pasta dishes, seafood soups and crispy salgados. Rio’s Carioca’s know how to live the good life, with weekends spent on the sun-drenched sand, cooling off in the ocean and pauses to munch on tasty treats. Try one of the waterfront restaurants, bag a cheap street food snack or indulge in some fine dining. The Marvellous City has got you covered. For a healthy start sample exotic tropical fruits, fresh or blended into a ‘vitamina’ (smoothie).

Lima, Peru

Lima has carved out a spot as one of the gastronomy centres of Latin America. No small part down to 9 entries in the 50 Best Restaurants. It’s not all fine dining and innovative gastronomy. At its heart is the humble fare which helped inspire its more lavish counterparts. The food has influences coming from Asia, Europe and the Moors, and its ancient civilizations. Together a bounty of fine produce coming from the mountains, desert coast and rainforest. No wonder that it’s achieved global recognition today.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Another culinary heavyweight, the capital of Argentina has got an impressive list of entries in the 50 Best. As you enjoy the food, you’ll taste its Italian roots – rich pasta dishes, breaded milanesa and long list of creamy cheeses. Yet the undisputed champion of Argentine cuisine is beef and they know how to cook it. Forget vegetables or dainty salads, slabs of the best beef on the continent char-grilled are the order of the day. Breakfasts are also a treat, with buttery pastries washed down with plenty of milky coffee.

São Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo is still crowned as Brazil’s top foodie hotspot. In part due to the successful restaurants like Alex Atala’s D.O.M. He uses Amazonian ingredients to produce new dishes. Italian immigrants also brought European techniques which rubbed off with today’s Brazilian cuisine. With the highest population of Japanese of any city outside Tokyo, good sushi is not hard to find.

Are you ready to explore Latin America’s culinary heavyweights? Want to head off with our guides to discover the best hidden street eats or let us book you an exclusive table in one of the capital’s top restaurants? Get in touch with one of our Latin America experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

RELATED: Argentine empanada recipe

How to make Latin American tamales

There are few dishes as iconic to Latin America as the tamale, though their origins are a little less clear. The simple snack of steamed or grilled corn wrapped in banana or leaves date back thousands of years. The first pictorial references are seen on ancient murals in Guatemala created just under 2,000 years ago. Though found in almost all Latin American countries, in some form or other, their original country is not known. They spread from country to country by trading nomads.

Don’t wait to travel to Latin America before trying these mouth-watering snacks, they’re aren’t difficult to make at home. Mexican tamales are often made from lashings of lard which keeps them moist when cooking. Substitute for butter if you’re a vegetarian. Once cooked, you can keep them refrigerated for up to a week.

Serves: 8 (4 each)
Time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients

Masa dough

400 g masa harina (maize flour)
700 ml hot water
225 g lard
100 g butter, softened
2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ baking powder
250 ml chicken stock
24 corn husks or banana leaves

Salsa

4-5 tomatoes
1 large onion
2 large serrano chilies
1 bunch coriander
a pinch of salt

Method

Take a large bowl and pour in all the masa. Stir in the hot water and wait until the masa is moistened. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and doesn’t stick.

Add in the lard, butter, salt, crushed garlic, baking powder and knead again until the everything is well mixed. Add the chicken stock a little at a time, mixing as you pour. Stop when the dough is light and fluffy. Put the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. While the dough is cooling, soak the corn husks in hot water until soft, around 30 minutes.

Now for the slightly tricky part. Lay the first corn husk down and add a large spoonful of the dough in the middle and roll the two sides over the top. Bring the narrow side down and fold the wider part over the top. Tie everything together with string. Repeat until they are all complete.

Put to one side and start on the salsa. Put each of the tomatoes into boiling salted water for 10 – 20 seconds. Remove and leave under cold running water. When cool, remove the skin and de-seed. Dice all the tomatoes.

Peel the large onion and chop finely. Cut the chilies in half and remove the seeds. Finely chop them. Take a handful of coriander and wash under cold water. Chop into small parts. Mix everything together in a bowl along with salt, a squeeze of lime and a little olive oil. Leave in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavours blend together.

Take a large steamer and put an inch of water at the bottom. Put on a high heat and leave until the water is bowling. Put all the tamales in standing up and steam for an hour. Remove and leave to cool.

When cool, open the tamales and serve with the salsa. Enjoy.

Want to try tamales for real? Start planning your trip today by calling one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or emailing us here.

RELATED: Argentine empanada recipe

The best bars in Mexico City

Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities. What better way to meet other travellers and locals than at one of the many top bars in city’s lively neighbourhoods. From jazz clubs to rooftop bars, here’s our picks of the best places to grab a cold one or sip on a tequila.

La Casa de las Sirenas

If you want to taste Mexico’s national alcoholic drink, there really is no better a place than La Casa de las Sirenas. The bar, housed in a lovely old 16th century property, stocks more than 250 different tequilas. Remember, while we’re used to knocking back shots of tequila, in Mexico it’s sipped. When night descends, the bar transforms into one of the hippest places to be seen.

Calle Republica de Guatemala No. 32, Cuauhtemoc, Centro Histórico

Aurora

This cosy restaurant features a large outdoor terrace and a surprisingly good cocktail menu. If you are a gin lover, they have a particularly good selection. A wonderful place to while away an evening, away from the bustle of the city.

Santa Catarina, 04010

Jules Basement

Jules Basement have cleverly branded themselves as the first speakeasy in Mexico City. To reach it, you must first walk through an unassuming fridge door which opens into a large space, perfect for the live music they host. Try one of the excellent cocktails while you are there.

Calle Julio Verne 93, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560

Condesa DF

This romantic rooftop bar is situated in La Condesa district. Enjoy cocktails, cold Mexican beers and wines while taking in the breath-taking views from the decked rooftop. Bars don’t get much better than this in Mexico City.

Av. Veracruz 102, Roma Nte., 06700

Zinco Jazz Bar

This jazz club would surely rival any in New York City. Hosting live performances almost every evening, it’s one of the best places to see music in Mexico. Housed in the basement of a former bank in the historic centre, it’s got the décor and atmosphere to match.

Calle Motolinia 20, Centro, 06050 Cuauhtémoc

Wallace Whisky Bar

While Mexico is best known for tequila and mezcal, this cosmopolitan city caters to all tastes. Tickle those taste buds with interesting tapas-style dishes in the trendy Wallace Whisky Bar while you sample some fine whiskies from around the world. They also stock some excellent local craft beers.

Tamaulipas 45, Condesa, 06140 Cuauhtémoc

Bellini

The Bellini holds the title of earth’s largest revolving restaurant, and it doesn’t disappoint. Located on the 45th floor, the restaurant bar offers an extensive list of drinks, great food, and views across one of the world’s largest cities accompanied by soothing piano music.

Montecito 38 Piso 45, Torre WTC Cd. de México, Col. Nápoles

Miralto

Literally translating to ‘high view’, this rooftop bar is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. It’s central position in Zócalo means it is easy to reach and the views over this enormous city from the 41st floor are astonishing. They also do some excellent international cuisine.

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000

La Unica

Not only does La Unica serve up some incredible Mexican fare, the restaurant bar has one of the best selections of wine in the city. Sip on reds and whites paired with dishes created from fresh local produce as well as seafood. It may not be cheap, but it’s worth the extra. They also have a mean cocktail menu to kick off the evening.

Anatole France 98, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco, 11550

Puebla 109

This exclusive bar restaurant, housed in an early 20th century building, is popular with the city’s elite. Dine on mouthwatering Mexican cuisine washed back with some inspired cocktails. If you want an evening of sophistication in Mexico City, this is the place to come.

Esquina, Puebla, Roma, Cuauhtémoc, 06700

Articbar

Cool down at the first ice bar in Mexico. No need to bring a coat with you, the bar has warm clothing, so you won’t freeze in the -26˚C. Shoot a vodka in an ice glass and then make your way over to the dance floor for a below freezing boogie. It’s as unique as it sounds and well worth an evening to visit.

Av Nuevo León 73, Condesa, 06140

Area Bar

Located on top of the Hotel Habita, by day, the rooftop Area Bar serves as a relaxing spot complete with pool. By night, it transforms into one of the city’s most trendy night spots with live music and excellent cocktails.

Av. Pdte. Masaryk 201, Polanco, Polanco V Secc, 11560

Hostría La Bota

Situated in the historical centre, this lively bar is popular with locals who descend every evening to sip on cold Mexican beers and cocktails. They regularly host live music, particularly on weekends. Be sure to get there early or you might not get a seat. For such a centrally located bar, the drinks are surprisingly good value.

Peatonal San Jerónimo 40, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06050

Want to visit the bars of Mexico City? Call one of our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

RELATED: 6 Gastronomic Experiences in Mexico

A guide to Uruguayan Food

The culinary delights of Uruguay have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Like Argentina, the Uruguayan diet is meat-heavy making it a little tricky for vegetarians, but a paradise for carnivores. Here’s our rundown of the best things to eat during your visit.

Asado

Let’s start with the most famous and most popular. The asado is essentially a barbecue, but unlike any you’ve known back at home. Huge cuts of beef, pork and lamb along with sausages and offal are slow cooked over huge charcoal parrillas. Best washed down with plenty of Uruguayan red. Visiting Uruguay without trying an asado is unthinkable.

Asado con cuero

Similar to a normal asado, the only variation being the whole animal, skin and all, is cooked over the flames. Typically, a cow or sheep, the body is spread eagle and then slow cooked for hours. The sheer space required to cook this means you’re more likely to find it in the countryside than the city.

Choripán

Choripán is a favourite of ours. This spicy chorizo sausage is cooked over charcoal and usually served in a bread with lashings of chimichurri sauce. Often one of the first things to come off an asado barbecue.

Empanada

There is nothing quite as iconic as the empanada. Almost every Latin American country has their own variety and Uruguay is no different. Typically filled with minced beef and cheese, these crispy baked pastry morsels are delicious. Just remember to order more than one! For something a little different, try the empanadas Gallegas, a fishy version packed with tuna and peppers.

Morcilla dulce

Black pudding, boiled pork blood sausage, tends to divide people. Some love the earthy flavour and texture, others can’t stand the stuff. In Uruguay, their morcilla comes with added raisins and nuts to give it a slightly sweeter taste than other versions.

Milanesa

A popular dish all over Latin America with roots firmly in Italy. Beef or chicken is flattened before being breaded and fried until golden brown. For something more luxurious, go for a milanesa rellena which includes melted cheese and ham.

Ñoquis

Flickr: Vince Alongi

Also known as gnocchi, this potato based pasta from Italy has long been eaten on the 29th of every month in Uruguay when the average worker gets paid. You can’t beat a bowl of homemade gnocchi which sometimes has a coin or note placed below it which is supposed to attract prosperity.

Pancho

Flickr: Rix Arg

Take a frankfurter and place between a bun called a pan de viena. Add plenty of condiments, and you’ve got the South American version of a hot dog. Great at the end of a heavy night to help soak up the booze.

Pizza por metro

Flickr: Simon Law

Literally meaning ‘pizza by the metre’, here it’s sold in rectangles not circles. Usually cooked in a big wood fired clay oven, you choose the ingredients you want it topped with.

Dulce de Leche

While not a dessert itself, it’s used in any manner of ways from spreading on toast to eating with your morning medialunas pastries. You won’t go far in Uruguay without seeing sweet, caramel-like dulce de leche.

Alfajores

Like Argentina, Uruguay have somewhat of an obsession with these short bread biscuits filled with sticky dulce de leche. We can see why. They are as delicious as they sound and best eaten with a strong black coffee.

Churros

These long star-shaped cylinders of fried dough covered in icing sugar have their origins in Spain, but they are just as popular in Uruguay. Look out for vendors setting up on street corners in the early evening and buy them as soon as they’ve come out the fryer.

Arroz con leche

Delicious, creamy rice pudding. What’s not to  like?.

Bizcochos

Usually served for breakfast, these little pastries of different sizes and shapes are eaten in the morning with strong black coffee. They can come as either sweet or savoury, both of which are delicious.

Grappamiel

The national drink of Uruguay, grappamiel is made from distilled spirit mixed with honey. It’s strong, so be careful when you’re drinking it.

Mate

Flickr: kweez mcG

Like the gauchos in Argentina, the yerba herbal drink of mate is consumed in the sort of quantities British drink tea. Many Uruguayan’s can be seen headed to work carrying a thermos flask of hot water and mate cups.

Want to try the food of Uruguay? Start planning your trip to the country today by calling one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email us here.

RELATED: 6 Things to do in Uruguay

What to eat in Nicaragua

Flickr: Adam Cohn

Nicaragua is fast becoming to hottest destination in Latin America. The Central American country is flanked on both sides by the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, and is known for its dramatic landscapes of towering smoky volcanoes, golden sand beaches, and glistening lakes. It also has a rich history, and glorious Spanish colonial architecture, particularly in the southern city of Granada. We’ve just launched the country as a new destination, so to celebrate we’ll be publishing a series of articles on the culture and history. Most are unsure about what Nicaraguan food is all about, so here’s a typical day in food.

Breakfast in Nicaragua

Flickr: hollykathryn

Breakfast in Nicaragua is a hearty affair. Typically, gallo pinto is the stable breakfast dish found in very restaurant across the land. Translating to ‘spotted roster’, gallo pinto is simply rice and beans cooked with fried onions and garlic. On the Caribbean coast, the rice is cooked in coconut milk. It’s served with fried or scrambled eggs, and sometimes comes with Nicaraguan cheese, fried plantain, and tortillas. On Sundays, be sure to try nacatamales, traditional cornmeal tamales wrapped in banana leaves and filled with pork, rice, and vegetables. They are usually found being sold from people’s homes. If you’re staying in a hotel or you visit an upmarket restaurant, your breakfast will usually come with plenty of exotic fresh fruit and juices. Wash everything down with plenty of Nicaraguan black coffee.

Lunch in Nicaragua

Nicaraguans take the time for a big lunch, and there are plenty of dishes to choose from. If you’re near the coast or Lake Ometepe, try the guapote, deep fried while fish covered in mango, tomatoes, and lime. Alternatively, try vigorón, shredded cabbage mixed with tomatoes, onions, chilis, vinegar, and salt. This is topped with boiled yuca and chicharones (fried pork belly). Corn is another stable in Nicaragua, so if you’re looking for something light for lunch, try the grilled corn on the cob sold from vendors on every street corner, delicious covered with lime salt. Quesadillas, tortillas stuffed with cheese, are also popular street snacks.

Dinner in Nicaragua

In the evening try indio viejo, a mouth watering stew of meat, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and mint. Usually mobbed up with plenty of warm tortillas. Sopa de mondongo is a hearty soup made from cow tripe, onions, achiote chilies, ayote, garlic, yucca, and sour oranges. Even if you aren’t a fan of tripe (stomach lining), give this a go. It might just change your mind. Wash all this down with cold cervezas. Try the local Nicaraguan Tona or La Victoria Bufalo, both of which are excellent. Alternatively, el macua is a popular cocktail made from rum, lemon juice, guavas, and sugar. A must try for an visit to the country. Before you go to bed, try a pinolillo, a hot chocolate drink made from toasted corn, cacao power, milk, sugar, and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Would you like to try the food in Nicaragua? To start planning your trip to the country, take a look at our Nicaraguan suggested tours, call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478, or email us here.

RELATED: Top 8 things to do in Nicaragua

A guide to the best street food in Colombia

The best food of a country often comes from the streets. We’ve never quite worked out why, but perhaps it’s the vendors dedication to cooking just one or several things really, really well. While restaurants require a full menu, street vendors can put all their efforts in doing the best arepas or the best empanadas. It’s also cheap. With few overheads, and relatively humble dishes, the food is always inexpensive to produce. Are you planning a visit to Colombia? Hit the streets and find some of the Colombia’s best food.

Arepas

Flickr: lesleyk

Arepas are found on street corners across the land. To say they are popular is an understatement. Considered part of the cultural heritage of Colombia, these little street snacks are made up maize discs filled with indregdients like melting cheese, avocado and meat. There are even sweet arepas which work well for breakfast in hot chocolate.

Corn

Corn is a stable in South America and has been eaten there for thousands of years. It can be bought simply barbecued over hot coals. Alternatively, corn is cut off the cob and mixed with cheese, meat and salad, a less filling meal that most Colombian dishes. Be sure to look out for mazorca desgranada.

Almojabana

Almojábanas are round rolls made from cheese and corn.  They’re simple but filling and best eaten straight out of the oven in the early morning washed down with Colombian coffee.

Plantain chips

Flickr: Ben Ward

Plantain is seriously popular across the Americans. In Colombia, they’re cut thinly and deep fried until sweet and golden. Look out for little mobile vendors selling this across the Bogota and Cartegana. Though fried in oil, they are actually really nutrious. The perfect little snack to eat on the go.

Salchipapa

Flickr: Gary Stevens

The original ‘drunkies’, salchipapa is the simply amalgamation of sausages (usually of the frankfurter variety) and potatoes doses in sauce. What could be better to soak up the booze after a cold cerveza or two.

Churros

Flickr: Karl Baron

It may be the Spanish who are famous for the churros, but Colombia do it just as well. Dough is piped into hot oil and fried until golden. Unlike the Spanish who eat them with hot chocolate in the morning, Colombians prefer them dosed in arequipe and condensed milk. The perfect way to finish a street food meal.

Fruit

Colombia has a wealth of exotic fruits. Some make it into smoothies, but most just eat it as it is. Vendors piled high with sweet pineapples, papayas, starfruits, custard apples, guavas, passion fruit, melons and much more. Look out for vendors selling refreshing fresh coconut water.

Obleas

Those with a sweet tooth should look out for oblea. Jam, whipped cream, arequipa and fruit are sandwiched between two thin circular wafers and devoured right away. Best eaten on a sunny day.

Empanadas

Empanadas need no introduction. Eaten throughout Latin America, this iconic street food snack is particularly good in Colombia. The name comes from empanar, the Spanish verb for wrapping something in bread. Dough, sometimes made from corn, is filled with meat, cheese and sometimes vegetables before being fried or baked into a mouthwatering morsel.

Perros calientes

Hot dog lovers should rejoice. Perros calientes are popular throughout Colombia. Like a Chilean completo topped with cheese, fries, avocado and plenty of sauce. Not something to eat on a date, there’s no way of gorging on one of these politely.

Bollos

Like much of Latin America, Colombia has its own version of tamales known as bollos. Best eaten in Cartegena for breakfast, bollos are boiled hominy or yucca, sometimes including other treats like small pieces of chicken or boiled eggs. Be sure to get them hot when they taste best.

Chicharrón

Flickr: James

If you’re on a diet, this may not be for you. For everyone else, chicharron is one of the tastiest things you can eat on the streets of Colombia. Pork belly is deep fried until crisp and sometimes served with a spicy salsa dip. It makes up the national dish, bandeja paisa, an enormous plate of chicharron, chorizo, steak, eggs and beans – aka the gut buster.

Bocadillo

Bocadillo is a sweet paste made from guava. It’s best eaten with crumbly white Colombian cheese, one of the most perfect combinations.

Ceviche

Don’t be put off street seafood. Along the coast, the seafood is incredibly fresh. It’s quite different from its Peruvian counterpart. Colombian ceviche is similar to a shrimp cocktail – raw seafood marinated in lime juice, tomato sauce, onion and garlic.

Want to try the street food of Colombia? Take a look at our suggested Colombia tours, call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message here.

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