Colombia has a lot to offer her visitors: a wide range of traditional recipes from all regions, but also new trends that use local products to create innovative dishes.
It is said that one of the tips to romance someone is to prepare good food for them. “Seduce by taste” as the popular saying goes! Or“barriga llena, corazón contento”: when the belly is full, the heart is happy.
The typical Colombian cuisine is very diverse, just like it’s climate, landscapes and culture! Besides the fertility of its land that produces everything, there is also the limitless imagination of expert chefs who are constantly creating new recipes!
Traditional Colombian dishes
Many well-known dishes such as the bandeja paisa or the ajiaco santafereño are prepared especially in their places of origin with the ingredients, quantities, setting, utensils and final decoration of the particular dish.
The bandeja paisa is a local dish from the department of Antioquia and it’s surroundings, whose main ingredient is the beans grown in the region; Colombia is the leading producer of beans in the Andean zone and it is the leading national consumer product.
The Ajiaco Santafereño
The Ajiaco santafereño, typical of the Colombian interior regions, is a soup made from several varieties of potatoes grown in the highlands of Cundinamarca and Boyaca, which also contains guascas [aromatic herbs], corn and chicken from the region.
The Patacon is probably the most popular recipe in Colombia. These are pieces of green plantain bananas that are flattened and then fried. Served as an appetizer or as a side dish, they can be found all over the country. The difference from one region to another lies in the shape of the Patacon: sometimes small and round, oval and thick, thin and large… Whatever the shape, is certain is that you will find it with all the local dishes!
The art of gastronomy has traveled with the country’s chefs. Find a wide variety delicious recipes in the cities, in the countryside and within everyone’s reach.
Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the diversity and richness of the local cuisine, which has also been shared by Colombians living abroad, true ambassadors of Colombian culture and traditions.
Colombian Flavors in Contemporary Cuisine
The imagination of Colombian cooks is amazing. The are constantly consulting and researching the history and ingredients in order to create new dishes that will captivate your taste buds.
Julián Gómez Simonds, a young chef with experience, is a professional who is constantly working on the creation of new recipes using flavors and ingredients from Colombia to achieve surprising textures, colors and shapes.
Gómez and Alejandro Olaya carried out fieldwork and research throughout Colombia, which enabled them to learn about strategies, methods and available resources and thus create the new menu of the Habemus Papa restaurant in the Usaquén neighbourhood of Bogotá. Olaya, the manager, says that this experience served them to start a revolution in Colombian cuisine through the preparation of recipes that recall the taste of the regions, but that do not replace traditional menus. They’ve created the following dishes: cabrited [goat] pie, Caribbean-flavored grouper and the Guapi Palm!
“These dishes are an example of how to use the flavors and resources available in all regions of the country to create authentic Colombian dishes with a more modern touch,” says Gómez, the creative chef who in 2007 represented Colombia at a cultural and gastronomic event at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
The cabrito pie reminds us of the Department of Santander, because it uses the ingredient that is the symbol of the region (cabrito), served with a special potato tortilla [omelette]. The Grouper is a fusion of Caribbean seafood, fried banana, yam and coconut, which are traditional ingredients of the coast’s cuisine. Guapi Palms are mixed with seafood and codfish purée, traditional products of the Pacific coast in the department of Cauca.
These dishes, as well as enriching the national cuisine, are becoming export products that contribute to positioning Colombian cuisine among the most important in the world.
Tasting contemporary Colombian recipes is like establishing a link that transports us to the interior of its diverse and beautiful regions. They lead us on the road of taste and imagination to the kitchens of all its territory. The flavors of Colombia are seductive and leave lasting memories.