Food & Drink
Latin America now boasts exciting creative culinary experiences as well as producing some world-class wines, coffee and chocolate.
Far from the typical view of Latin American food just being beans, rice and chilli, the region has a surprising diversity of cuisines stemming, in part, from its rich history of varied cultural influences. There are also a huge range of drinks – including fine wines, fiery spirits, luscious cocktails and exotic fruit juices. When you consider that in Colombia you get five countries for the price of one – Pacific Coast, Andes, Amazon, Eastern Plains and the Caribbean, it should come as no surprise that the richness and variety of ingredients is almost overwhelming.
Peru, with its unusual fusion of Andean, African, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, has for some time been regarded as one of the world’s great culinary destinations. Lima is now a must-visit foodie city, with restaurants such as Central, Rafael and Maido jostling for top position. Indeed, we have had some guests who made a major deviation to their itinerary just to spend one night in Lima to dine at Central at the start of their trip – they were not disappointed!
But time does not stand still and it is now Colombia, particularly Bogota, which in our opinion has grabbed the culinary destination prize. Leonor Espinoza put the city on the gastronomic map when she opened her eponymous “Restaurante Leo” in 2007, subsequently being nominated the best female chef in South America in 2017. The explosion in the number of top class restaurants in the last five years means that different areas can be identified by their restaurant offerings – Barrio Chapinero (locally known as the gastronomic zone) has Mesa Franca, Mini-mal and El Chato, La Magdalena and so on. Read Paul Richardson’s article “How I developed a taste for Colombia” in the Sunday Telegraph to get a full insight into the exciting gastronomic scene in Bogota and Medellin.
And don’t forget to try a Pisco Sour while you are there! Claimed in equal parts to be the national drink of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, it rivals Brazil’s caipirinha as a great way to kick off an evening! Read about the Pisco trail in this Financial Times article.
For something more down-to-earth, Argentina is world-renowned for its fabulous and ever-popular steaks and barbeques: with meat this good it is unsurprising that the country has the highest beef consumption per head of population in the world.
Brazil is better known for Caipirinhas and carnival than for its food, but is making huge strides to improve its offering. Sao Paulo is undoubtedly the culinary capital of the country, being home to some of the world’s best restaurants offering innovative and mouth-watering dishes (sometimes – but not always – at eye-watering prices). Feijoada is a well-known must-try dish here, while the Afro-Brazilian cuisine of Bahia brings us delicious dishes like Moqueca. Salvador is rapidly emerging as a new gastronomic centre with an emerging class of top chefs.
Argentina and Chile have both made a great name for themselves for their excellent wines. Mendoza, the centre of Argentina’s wine production, is dominated by the spectacular backdrop of the Andes. In the L’art de vivre Financial Times article Paul Richardson explores the vineyards in Mendoza. Off the beaten track in Salta Province, wine lovers who are not necessarily connoisseurs may be in for a pleasant surprise; here the vineyards are amongst the highest in the world but the dry sunny climate is particularly well suited to the distinctive Torrontes grape variety, producing a wonderfully fragrant dry white wine.
In Chile, the Colchagua Valley is considered to have some of the finest terroirs. Both destinations offer the visitor an excellent range of wineries and boutique hotels, as well as some of the country’s best restaurants, making them perfect gastronomic retreats.
Colombia is well known for its coffee – and the Coffee Region offers the chance to visit some delightful coffee plantations and see just how complicated the process of picking and preparing coffee can be. And neighbouring Ecuador is a chocolate-lovers paradise, producing some of the finest chocolate in the world. Be sure to include a stay at Hacienda La Danesa to stay at the very heart of cacao production.
You will certainly not go hungry or thirsty in Latin America. At Miraviva we are passionate about our food and drink. We can give you some ‘top tips’ for the latest ‘in’ restaurants and bars as well as where to try something completely different or very traditional. We can arrange visits to markets and cooking classes with top local chefs as part of your holiday – or can even focus your whole trip around the food and drink theme.
To discover more about the revolution in Latin American cuisine and its fine wines, give us a call or send us a message.
Places to stay
Cavas Wine Lodge
This hotel exudes quality in every way with stunning views of the Andes in the heart of Mendoza's vineyards.View details about Cavas Wine Lodge
The Vines Resort & Spa
Ultimate retreat for discerning food and wine lovers set in the vineyards of MendozaView details about The Vines Resort & Spa
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
The Belmond Palacio Nazarenas is Cusco's top hotel offering the highest standards of service and comfort.View details about Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
The Country Club Hotel
The Country Club is an elegant 1920s hotel and one of the classiest places to stay in Lima.View details about The Country Club Hotel
Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Hotel Monasterio has a great sense of history and is a great all-round option for a stay in CuscoView details about Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Sol y Luna
Delightful casitas set in beautifully maintained gardens make Sol y Luna our favourite hotel in the Sacred Valley.View details about Sol y Luna
The Awasi style, service and attention to detail simply can not be faulted. A stay here is an incomparable Patagonia experience.View details about Awasi Patagonia
Vineyard luxury, fine dining and privacy with some of the best views in Chile's Wine Valleys.View details about Lapostolle
Beautifully styled hotel with the most stunning views. A true gem.View details about Vik Chile
A stunning new hotel located in a beautiful setting, close to the lakeside town of Pucon in Chile’s Lake District.View details about Vira Vira
A new five-star hotel located on the beach in Barra District, to the north of Ipanema.View details about Grand Hyatt
A truly delightful hideaway located on a remote beach on the Maraú Peninsula, but within striking distance of the fun bars and restaurants in Barra Grande.View details about Butterfly House
Rancho do Peixe
A lovely family friendly hotel situated near the village of Jericoacoara and nearby beaches, in an area remarkably unknown to visitors from outside Brazil.View details about Rancho do Peixe
An outstanding example of contemporary architecture located in a private elevated position above the fashionable resort of Buzios.View details about Private Villa
This historic colonial hacienda set in beautiful countryside offers some of the best horses and riding in Ecuador.View details about Hacienda Zuleta
La Pinta is large motor yacht which has recently been completely renovated. In spite of its size, it accommodates just 48 guests leaving ample social areas and a beautiful observation deck towards the bow.View details about La Pinta
Belmond Miraflores Park
Following a major recent refurbishment, this hotel is now back in its rightful position as one of the best large hotels in Lima.View details about Belmond Miraflores Park