Image Source : “>Chilean Empanadas by Idee Arte, CC0
Chances are you met your spouse through a shared interest, whether it was school, work or mutual friends; there are even 465/1 odds that you both met at a New Year’s Eve party. Those shared interests are part of the foundation of your relationship, and travel can be a great way to explore them together. If you and your partner are both die-hard foodies, then South America is a veritable treasure trove of new tastes just waiting to be explored. With so much to experience on this continent of flavor, you’ll soon be savoring every bite.
Now, you might already know the basics in South American cooking. These include traditional ingredients such as peppers, corn, potatoes, cheese and quinoa. Many of the methods used to cultivate and prepare these ingredients are ancient and have a time-honored custom in South American culture. Remember that when you’re trying your first authentic tamales and find them a little different from those you may have eaten at home!
In Argentina, you’ll find delicious little parcels of temptation called empanadas. And if you’ve ever traveled to Spain, you’ll know what I’m talking about! The crescent-shaped pastries are served hot and filled with cheese, meat or vegetables. They resemble a smaller, more refined Cornish pasty in this respect, but bursting with flavor. Different provinces of the country have developed their trademark fillings, and the dish is often served as a party food. You can buy them everywhere from small businesses like Punto y Banca in Buenos Aires to established vendors like empanada experts Norma and Eduardo at La Casa de las Empanadas Cafayate in Salta Province.
The Chilean hot dog or completo is a must-try while you’re in Chile. It’s like a super-sized American hot dog but with all kinds of extras as standards, such as mayo, tomatoes, pickles, sauerkraut and avocado. You will find them being sold on street corners everywhere, although I’m told that the best can be found in Santiago. If you’re looking for more refined cuisine, however, you can’t go wrong at the Monticello Casino and Hotel. Situated an easy 45 minutes outside of Santiago, it has seven different eateries on-site and serves up everything from Peruvian Creole cuisine to gourmet global fare. Often touted by travelers as a great place to visit when you’re in the area!
Image Source: Tamal con arepa by Nicole Tarazona, CC BY 2.0
When visiting Venezuela or Colombia, you must try the local dish arepas. Little “sandwiches” made from ground maize dough (the principal ingredient in both tortillas and tamales) are filled with a range of different ingredients like cheese, beans or avocado. They are light and fluffy, eaten hot and served daily in their countries of origin. Small yet satisfying! You can get them at Quero Arepa in Cartagena, Colombia, or at El Budare de la Castellana in Caracas, Venezuela. Be sure to order a few, as you may find that they go down just a little too easily.
Wherever your South American travels take you, be sure to sample a little taste of every local dish you come across. With just a few simple base ingredients, this continent creates a riot for your taste buds from the north to the south. And afterward, you can wash it all down with a pisco sour. ¡Salud!