Vast in culture and people, the sprawling beauty of South America is home to a veritable feast of food and drink. By turns rustic and metropolitan, it’s a continent that’s brimming with palate-pleasing treats, with its coffee, wine and food regularly ranking amongst the world’s finest.
If you’re planning a trip to South America, you don’t have to look far to experience its greatest wares, but if it’s specifics you’re after, let us help out with this continent-wide guide to South America’s best food, wine and coffee.
Foodie Favourites and Festivals
Feeling hungry? South America makes sure no rumbling stomach goes unsatisfied. It’s all about indulging while you’re here, so be sure to stop off at one of these while you’re here.
Mistura Food Festival, Peru
A wildly popular food festival that should be on the list of anyone’s Peruvian pilgrimage, Mistura is a showcase of Peru’s storied, multi-faceted food heritage over the course of 10 indulgent days. From Novo-Andean cuisine’s mix of old flavours and new approaches to Asian-Peruvian fusion, the melting pot on display here is a real treat.
Amidst the street food vendors, renowned restaurants and critically-lauded chefs, you’ll find old favourites like ceviche and guinea pig, along with causa (layers of spicy mashed potatoes and avocado, topped with seafood), inchicapi (a hearty Amazonian stew) and anticuchos, beef heart skewers slightly charred for a wonderful smoky flavour. Don’t forget to wash everything down a pisco sour, a grape brandy flavoured with lime juice, triple sec and topped with an egg white foam.
Salon de Chocolate, Ecuador
For those with a sweet tooth, this is the dream! Every year in the month of May, 15,000 visitors feast on exclusive chocolate tastings from both large and small Ecuadorean producers. Exceptionally indulgent, Ecuadorian cocoa is considered some of the finest in the world, inspired by French producing methods, even adding it to savoury dishes to create something special.
With an awards ceremony at the end of each festival, including the mesmerising chocolate sculpture category, this is a must-see stop-off for any chocolate lover.
Fine Wine Indulgence
Looking for a few top tipples while you’re here? South America might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine, but it’s certainly home to some fantastic wine festivals and regions.
The Grape Harvest Festival
Dating back to 1936, this Argentinian wine festival holds a special place in the hearts of all those who attend. With over 40,000 visitors and winegrowers, the atmosphere is more akin to a party, a true celebration of the grape in all its glory. Complete with a carousel, a winery banquet to gorge on and a tour along San Martin Avenue, before the grand finale sees a beauty pageant, float parades and free samples from local wineries.
Producing nearly three million metric tons of wine every year, Argentina is well known for its Malbec. The region has been producing it for over 150 years, but it’s only recently earned a reputation as a luxuriously dark red noted for hints of berries and coffee beans.
Another region that’s come into its own recently, Uruguay prides itself on Tannat, a rich, spicy red that’s said to be a rib-eye steak’s greatest accompaniment. In Uruguay, meat is much-feted, so having something to pair it with is of the utmost importance. Equal parts sweet, acidic, and earthy, the Tannat is not one to be missed while you’re here. Its little-known status won’t be hidden for much longer.
Colombia and wine might not be two things you’d associate with one other, but the region is positively brimming with the good stuff. Take a trip to the Marques de Villa Leyva vineyards and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Amongst its wares, sweet Rieslings and a stunning Pinot Noir stand out, while its stunning location makes it a fantastic place to sip a glass in the sun.
Producing most of the world’s coffee, South America certainly knows a thing or two about their beans. If you’re the kind of person who’s always on the daily grind, be sure to stop by these coffee spots while you’re here.
Café Brasilero, Uruguay
Built in 1877, this charming little café has kept its décor and style the same pretty much ever since. Perfect for leisurely afternoon cups, there’s no rush here thanks to a relaxed atmosphere, old-timey ambience – photographs of famous patrons adorn the wall – and plenty of high-quality coffee to go around.
Café Cultor, Colombia
Made out of a recycled shipping container, locals rave over the coffee here and with good reason: it’s award-winning and lovingly made. It’s really close to gourmet restaurants too, so it’s great for an aperitif or digestif.
Arabica Espresso Bar, Peru
Another place locals swear by, this fair-trade-only coffee centre specialises in a variety of brewing techniques that are sure to excite your coffee cravings. Laid-back and full of character, it also serves superb cakes and pastries, so go with an empty stomach for maximum enjoyment.
At Cruise1st, we have a range of South American Cruises perfect for discovering all the other magnificent areas of the continent. Take a look at our cruise deals online, or call our friendly team of cruise specialists on 0808 256 7010 today.