I’m not a huge fan of liquid nitrogen. Especially when it is overused and more of a gimmick than actually enhancing the meal. The one place I do regularly like appreciate this element of molecular gastronomy is in cocktails. At the Aviary in Chicago they freeze ginger in a deconstructed… Read More →
Carignan was brought to Chile from Argentina after the massive earthquake of Chillán in 1939 to blend with Pais grapes that were heavily impacted, but haven’t been heard of much since. Suddenly it is being rediscovered.
Whenever I arrive to Cartagena, Colombia, after the hot, sticky cab ride from the airport, all I can think about is that I need something cold and refreshing to drink. In many cases a limonada de coco is waiting for me at check in at whatever hotel I’m checking into. It’s the unofficial welcome drink of Cartagena.
I’ve never been a fan of chicha de jora. I have tried it dozens of times, but it always tastes a bit skunky. The only time I can manage to stomach an entire glass is in Cuzco’s picanterias, where they add strawberries to it, and call it frutillada. Chicha de… Read More →
I randomly met Romina Puente-Arnao at a famed fried yucca stand in Lima, Peru’s Mercado Palermo earlier this year while filming for the Travel Channel’s Street Eats International and was excited to learn that she was helping launch her family’s pisco label in the United States this year. While most Peruvian piscos are far less mass produced than those in Chile, the brands that have made the trip north thus far are some of the largest labels and are no longer family owned and operated, which is a generally a defining characteristic of Peru’s, mostly small batch, piscos. The brand is called Capurro Pisco in the US and Nazca Pisco in Peru. While Nazca Pisco has been around for decades in Peru, Capurro just launched in Miami this September and has plans to make its way up the East Coast later this year. It’s a much needed addition to the American Pisco market. Puente-Arnao was kind enough to give us a detailed story of Capurro:
Last night the 12th edition of Vinos Y Bodegas, Argentina’s biggest wine expo, got underway at the giant exhibition centre of La Rural in Palermo, Buenos Aires. Although tending towards extremely crowded, particularly on the last two evenings Friday and Saturday, the event is a must for any wine lover, and even more so for those who are relatively new to the local wine scene. At Vinos y Bodegas visitors literally have the chance to taste their way around the country, visiting all the country’s major wine producing regions in the 5000m2 space filled with 70 wineries and over 1000 wines to try.
The Ica region is Peru’s leading grower of grapes, with the area around the city of Ica itself being the epicenter. Pisco, a sweet aromatic grape brandy is produced here, as well as wine.
Agua de Sapo is a traditional Costa Rican drink made from tapa de dulce (unrefined sugar), limes and ginger that originated in the Limón province on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, an area that takes on a much more Afro-Caribbean feel than it’s more Latin flavored Pacific side. According to Monte Azul, a lovely hotel on a private mountain reserve near Chirripó National Park, the region’s cultural roots are apparent in the language which is a Patois based on Jamaican English, with French, Spanish and Bri Bri (the principal indigenous people of the area) influences.
I was recently given a sneak peak at Solbeso, a spirit being distilled from fair trade fresh Peruvian cacao fruit. It’s the first spirit of its kind. It’s not a chocolate liqueur, but a clear spirit with a consistency like that of pisco. It is said to have the same the chemical benefits of dark chocolate, yet none of the sweetness or flavor. On tasting it, I smelled chocolate notes immediately as soon as I brought the glass to my nose.
Chile’s expanding craft beer scene is still going strong, particularly in Valparaiso where a handful of small breweries are thriving.