COLOMBIAN FOOD GLOSSARY
Below, we have included a brief glossary with descriptions of key ingredients in Colombian Cuisine.
Perhaps one of the most flavourful root vegetables in the world. This product rich in starch can be appreciated in Colombian cuisine for its versatility, as it is originally from the tropical region of the Americas. Christopher Columbus, upon his return to Spain, introduced this food to the world. So special is its flavour that it made its way from Europe to Africa and from there to Asia. Today, it is amongst the top five most cultivated and eaten products on earth.
While the pre-Hispanic peoples of the Americas pioneered the farming of this root vegetable, the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the fourteen hundreds, saw the doors of the world open to this food. It made its way from Europe to Africa and from there to Asia. Today, it is amongst the top five most cultivated and eaten products on earth.
Amongst the foods most representative of the Americas, the potato may be the most popular. We can find potato farms from Mexico to the north of Chile. Colombia has one of the most delicious and versatile varieties: the yellow potato (papa criolla). A small yellow skinned root vegetable which holds in its interior the flavours of the Colombian countryside. Farmed 2300 meters above sea water, after eating one, it is impossible not to love them.
Originally from the tropics of the Americas, yellow potato crops stretch from Mexico to the north of Chile. The yellow potato belongs to the Solonaceae family, of which Colombia is the place of origin of 4 varieties.
We have already mentioned that Colombia has not one flavour alone, rather, it is multicultural and of many flavours, which range from mountains to snow fields, beaches to grasslands, deserts to backwoods. However, there is only one single product that has been used by all pre-columbine cultures in the Americas: corn. The Mayans, the Incas and the Aztecs grew corn from there very beginnings. Indigenous settlements in Colombia such as the Chibchas and the Kogi taught us to grind it and shape it into a tortilla which we call: Arepa.
How do we eat arepas? Multiculturalism comes into play here once again. In the coastal towns, they are eaten with an egg, in Medellin with butter and a little cheese, in the capital, with cheese and huevos pericos (Colombian style scrambled eggs).
Gordita, popusas or arepa are the different names given to this 100% Latin-American culinary delight. Colombia has style!
In the Americas, it is known as elote, choclo, jojoto, sara o zara. In the different areas of Spain, it is known as danza, millo, mijo, panzio, borona or oroñ. The importance of this food is well-known across THE GLOBE.
This large variety of long fleshy fruits are called plantains, of between 10 and 15 centimetres in length, slightly curved and with smooth green peels. In Colombia we enjoy eating patacon and tajada (long-sliced fried plantains), the most authentic of Caribbean cuisine.
Imagine for a moment the smooth texture of mashed potatoes mixed with the most varied of Colombian spices. All ensconced inside a crunchy corn shell. This technique was inherited from Spain and with the passage of time; they have become ever more popular. Today, countries such as Argentina, Chile, Peru and others, have put their own twist on this classic recipe. In Colombia, they are commonly eaten together with guacamole and hogao (Colombian creole sauce).