There is a lot of talk about Colombia’s Coffee Region going on, both in and outside Colombia. Within Colombia, many Colombians are beginning to realize the beauty of the area and are flocking there during long weekends and school holidays to relax. Another reason to visit the area, though, is the amazing food you will find there. Today, I want to tell you about some of the most typical dishes you will find there.
The Bandeja Paisa is perhaps the most iconic, traditional, and well-known dish to have come out of the Coffee Zone. It is a monster of a dish that requires a very empty stomach, but a delicious dish that should not be missed. It consists of a portion of white rice, a slice of avocado, ground beef, fried pork rind, blood sausage, chorizo (Colombian artisanal sausage), a sweet plantain slice, and slow cooked beans.
Mondongo is a traditional soup that is made from a base of tripe, onions, potatoes, garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes and a few other additions including pork meat and/or pork sausage. Mondongo is typically eaten with white rice and a slice of avocado. This soup can also be very filling; so, don’t think it “light” just because it’s a soup!
The Coffee Region is also known for its distinct arepas, which are made from ground white corn and are rolled out very thinly. They are grilled, and are normally grilled until they are crispy. Fresh off the grill, they are buttered and often eaten with a soft cheese called quesito and accompanied with a black coffee or hot chocolate made with agua de panela (unrefined cane sugar water).
A soup made with a little bit of everything, sancocho antioqueño is another filling soup you will find in the Coffee Region. It is generally made with a mix of pork, beef, potato, yucca, cilantro, onion, garlic, green plantain, sweet plantain, corn, carrot, cabbage, salt, and cumin. Like mondongo, it is traditionally eaten with a slice of avocado and white rice.
A cold soup, mazamorra is made from cracked white or yellow corn that is pressure cooked and covered with milk. Panela (unrefined cane sugar) is either sprinkled into the soup or the soup is served with a bowl of panela chunks that you bite as you eat the soup. Although the combination may sound strange, it’s a creamy, refreshing delicacy that is perfect as an appetizer or even dessert, although for many Colombians it’s seen as a drink!
A typical drink in the Coffee Region, claro is the milky water the cracked corn for mazamorra was cooked in with a small amount of panel added to give it a touch of sweetness. For those who want a taste of mazamorra, but don’t want to fill up on the corn, claro is the perfect option. Like mazamorra, it is served cold and it a refreshing beverage.
Good food is waiting for you!
Paige M Poole.