Lately I have been hearing a lot about South American food from my friends, and the food scene in Sydney is starting to finally appreciate South America for the rich culture it has and the innovative cuisines it produces. From the world of ceviches in Peru, to the bobo in Brazil, the food scene is growing big in many South American countries, and it is being appreciated more broadly around the world.
This year we have many South American chefs coming for Crave, the Sydney International Food Festival World Chef Showcase in October. The lovely Joanna Savill is escorting food lovers on a tour to Peru. And my dear friend Alejandro Saraveja is opening his long-awaited restaurant, MORENA, featuring his wonderful take on Peruvian cuisine. So finally chefs from South America are being recognised here for their knowledge, innovation and food, and I am dreaming of my next trip to South America.
Each year I take a small group on a tour of Brazil and Argentina which is a 15 days and 14 nights of play, culture and amazing food. While dining in Buenos Aires (BA), it may look as if you’re in Paris, but the food is another world. When you look over the mountains from Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro, your heart misses a beat from the sheer beauty.
From the sway of the samba in Rio to the drumming girl bands of Salvador, Bahia, the essence of Brazil is brought to you in one big riot of colour and one big feast of food you have never seen before. So many times in Northern Brazil I feel as if I could easily be in New Orleans with the rich flavours of bobo and moqueca. The spirit of the Africans brought over as slaves dominates many Brazilian dishes, at the same time it is enhanced by the new world ingredients that it combines with to create exciting new bold flavours. Rio and Salvador, Bahia are the highlights of our Brazilian part of our tour and then we are off to Argentina.
Buenos Aires has the architecture of Paris so it is extremely beautiful. The young new chefs there are creating new dishes, so the culinary scene is changing rapidly. They also have “underground” restaurants you can book into (if you know how to find them). These provide a unique dining experience to indulge in. From learning the true art of making empanadas to sipping high tea at the lovely Alvear Palace, we go from old world to trendy, new world and on.
The rest of the Argentina trip takes in the north where the Andes loom over the open desert of patchwork cactus fields. The cuisine shows more native Indian influences, and dishes like llama are standard on most menus. The “motorcycle diaries” tour down Ruta 40 to the wine region of Cafayate is a dream-like day of sheer unimaginable beauty with a fantastic asado (Argentinean BBQ) along the way.
Yes I am dreaming of South America, and looking forward to my next trip there. I hope you’ll join us!