As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, Colombia is a country rich in culture and in diversity. Luckily for all visitors, me included, this also means that there is a lot of different types of delicious food to try while you are here. In an attempt to avoid a laundry list I will simply give you a teaser through a day in my life.
To begin the day, it is naturally necessary to start with a breakfast. A typical Colombian breakfast is actually quite similar to a sturdy English breakfast. As such you might find yourself in front of plate of sausage, egg, bread, beans, but also coffee and avocado. Being a good Frenchman I often opt for the lighter version of Colombian breakfast and go for the pastries. Right around the corner from where I am staying I have found a bakery that sells wonderfully large and flaky sort of croissants that are lightly filled with a strawberry jam. When you come visit it is naturally up to you to choose how hungry you are.
Moving on to lunch you may want to try some traditional Colombian delights. Most recently I went to a restaurant that specializes in such dishes called La Falsa Puerta, situated in the heart of La Candelaria, with my fellow intern. While there we got to relish in their version of tamal and their traditional soup ajiaco, made from potatoes with chicken and a little bit of corn for good form. Personally the tamal was one of the best I have had and kept me sticking my fork in for more. The soup meanwhile was hardy and creamy and finished filling me up.
To lighten things and add a little sweentess we had some delicious freshly squeezed juices on the side. My fellow intern decided to be more classic and stick with a wonderfully sweet strawberry juice whereas I decided to tempt fate and try their lulo juice. To my delight this turned out to taste like what might be described as a combination of lime and rhubarb. Definitely a must try on your list.
As the day moves along if you still have space for dinner I would recommend a more convivial and group oriented meal. My personal favorite combination for a group of 3 to 4 people is to get a patacone and a picadilla plate to share. Patacones are thick fried plantain chips upon which a variety of foods are placed on top. If you are feeling on the lighter side you can maintain the crispiness of the chip and go all vegetarian. Often this also helps taste the slight sweetness of the chip. If you are however feeling more ravenous you can go all out as I often do and get a topping of chicken, cheese, corn, and mushrooms. While all of this unfortunately often makes the chip less strong and a little soggy it is an absolute delight in your mouth. Picadillas meanwhile are a medley of various meats and starches. They often include some sausage, beef, chicken, potatoes and/or fries, yucca, a starchy root vegetable, and small patacones.
To join accompany this meal you might want to opt for one of two traditional drinks. If you are looking for a little alcohol you can opt for canelazos. These are hot drinks that consist of a mix of aguardiente, a strong alcohol that is often derived from sugarcane in Colombia, sugar and cinnamon. Depending on where you are you can also opt for other alcohols such as whiskey, gin, or tequila depending on your alcoholic preferences. If you are trying to be a little more modest you may instead try another warm drink called aguapanela. This Colombian version of tea is made by infusing panela, hardened sugar cane pulp, inside of water. The result is a nice sweet and intense drink.
After all of this you would certainly be more then stuffed and satisfied as your belly hit the mattress at the end of the day. This however only consists of a few examples of the rich diversity of food here. Another time I may delight with the numerous street foods and plethora of unique fruits you cannot find in the US or France. Until then I however hope I got your mouths to water at least a little bit.