I’ve just come home after 4 weeks travelling the colourful country of Colombia.
What a hecticly incredible place, and so far beyond any of my expectations for a travel destination.
I’ve seen some remarkable countries in my time as a footloose traveller but Colombia takes the cake in diversity and wonder.
It ticks all the boxes that one hopes to find in an adventure. Beautiful landscapes, stretches of white sandy beaches, affordability, culture shock, shiney happy people and of course – bangin street food!
The fruit of Colombia are sold everywhere. In whole form, fruit bowls, elegantly sliced bouquets and juices & smoothies. Its hard not to get your 5 a day when they’re presented so beautifully on every street corner and so exceptionally cheap.
There were some super exotic vaieties, like bread fruit, banana-passionfruit and spanish limes. It’s a strange experience to bite into a funky looking peice of fruit not knowing at all what texture or flavour you will be presented with.
I wasnt too sure what to expect in the way of street food. It’s been years since I’ve travelled somewhere where the street joints almost outnumber the restaurants. Now that I am a chef, the excitement to try absolutely everything a new place has to offer is at an all time high.
Colombians definitely love their fried food, which I try to vere away from in normal situations. But here, there were exceptions to be made – especially when they come in empanada form.
Most empanadas came with a homemade spring onion salsa/hot sauce that added just that perfect amount of heat to an otherwise perfectly tasty bite.
One of my other favourite street’eats were the Arepas. At times hit or miss, but when made right, they offer such a nice base to any topping. A cheesy, doughy, corn flavoured puff – Whack on some fresh avo, tomatoes and salt & pepper and breakfast is served!
We found a lovely cafe in Santa Marta that served theirs with all sorts of fresh and interesting toppings. Pictured below – shrimp, mango, avo, lime and cilantro.
My love for open top sandwiches have taken a new turn!
One strange combination of flavours, was their Bocadillo con Queso. A layer of jam’like guava paste topped with a layer of white cheese. An odd little sweet treat that Colombians love.
I’ve highlighted my favourites but there are so many more to be sampled like the Patacones – fried green plantains. Tamales – flavorful masa or rice, stuffed with different kinds of meats, vegetables and spices, then wrapped in a banana leaf. Almojabana – a pillowy donut like dessert… The list goes on.
Near the end of our trip we made our way to Salento in the coffee region. We spent a day learning all about the history and traditions of Coffee in Colombia.
As an extreme coffee enthusiast, I felt a keen interest to discover what puts Colombia so high on the world coffee charts! I was also eager to learn what defines a great cuppa coffee. These days knowing your coffee is much like knowing your wine.
It was a super interesting morning and one that fueled a desire to understand coffee further. After all – if I’m going to have a great cafe one day I’m going to need a an amazing coffee to compliment it.
As my journey continues, Ill be documenting as best I can my food discoveries. However, as this is a bit of an extended vacation, I wont be posting any new recipes in the coming months.
I’m hoping the culinary stories I find in these amazing countries will help influence a whole new direction to my current food style.
Next stop – Vietnam.