Latin America possesses a diverse culinary heritage that was relatively unknown beyond the continent until recent years. However, as our taste preferences expand and a greater appreciation for gourmet delicacies emerges, the delectable specialties of South and Central America are gradually gaining worldwide recognition.
Furthermore, Latin America has become an appealing destination for renowned and imaginative chefs, who are contributing exceptional fine dining experiences to tailor-made luxury vacations in South America.
The Latino professional kitchen scene is heating up with exciting developments. Recently, it was announced that Ken Hom will oversee the launch of a pan-Asian restaurant called ‘MEE’ at the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, which is a thrilling endeavor. Another unexpected gastronomic venture can be found in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, at Gustu. Claus Meyer, the brilliant chef behind the renowned Noma restaurant, has chosen this high-altitude city as his next culinary exploration, introducing local ingredients that were previously unfamiliar to most food enthusiasts.
If you desire to explore the intricacies of Mexican cuisine like never before, you might consider indulging in a private chef’s table experience and engaging in conversation with renowned chefs such as Alejandro Ruiz at Casa Oaxaca or Marta Ortiz at La Patria in Mexico City. Across the continent, you will find a growing number of innovative chefs who skillfully blend local ingredients—ranging from quinoa to exotic tropical fruits like the tomate de arbol (known as ‘tree tomato’)—to create unique fine dining experiences that truly reflect the distinct flavors of each region and country.
South America offers a remarkable selection of seafood, ranging from the impressive King crab known as Centella to the flavorful abalone called locos in Chile. This makes it an ideal destination for indulging in ceviche, one of the continent’s renowned delicacies. The raw fish or seafood is marinated in lime juice and combined with chili, coriander, onions, and other ingredients, depending on the region. Personally, I highly recommend trying the ceviche at La Mar in Santiago. In Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the presence of expansive cattle ranches ensures that you won’t be disappointed when it comes to enjoying a delicious and tender steak. For me, dining at La Cabana in Buenos Aires elevated the experience to almost mythical proportions. You can choose your preferred cut of steak, specify how you want it cooked, savor it with chimichurri sauce, and pair it with a fine Malbec—a true paradise for everyone except vegetarians.
During your journey in South America, you have the opportunity to arrange special celebratory dinners at some of the continent’s finest dining establishments. Likewise, you can enrich your bespoke Latin America vacation by partaking in truly unique fine dining experiences at exceptional venues. Embark on an insider’s street food tour, where you can explore the local culinary scene. Meet local cooks who will gladly demonstrate how to recreate delicious regional specialties when you return home. Additionally, you can visit rural communities to learn how to make traditional staples of the continent, ranging from tortillas to the perfect empanada.
Culinary holidays in South America present an incredible opportunity to intimately experience the culture and delectable cuisine of this captivating continent.