Most holidaymakers fall in love with Colombian cuisine after a few days in the country.
Typical dishes include everything from Ajiaco, a soup made from chicken and avocado, to fried ants which are eaten in some remote north-eastern areas of the country (although many Colombians from elsewhere wouldn’t fathom eating such things!).
However, it’s dishes such as Bandeja Paisa – a plate consisting of grilled steak, chorizo sausages, fried pork rind, red bean rice and topped off with a fried egg – and empanadas – stuffed pastries filled with beef, chicken or cheese and rice and coriander – that often prove to be a favorite with the tourists.
There a several places in Medellin where you can learn to recreate some of Colombia’s most popular dishes.
The INSARC runs occasional courses on Colombian cookery, whilst IPSA run a course which pairs learning to speak Spanish with Colombian cooking lessons.
The informative course can stretch from a week to a month and consists of fifteen lessons per week. Students are taken to typical Antioquenan restaurants and taught to cook under the guidance of local chefs.
Students taking the course should consider staying in one of Medellin’s rental apartments or cheap hotels with self-catering facilities, such as Egina or the Estelar Apartmentos, so that they can practice recreating the dishes on their own in the evenings.
While the food in Colombia can be fantastic, the country is best known for its coffee.
The most popular brand in the country is Juan Valdez. However, many of the locals still like to drink their coffee in the traditional pool halls, where it always served with a china cup and saucer.
One of Colombia’s smaller coffee plantations, Fredonia, is located just a short distance away from Medellin.
Travellers can take a tour to the region with an English-speaking guide through the company Tours by Locals.
The company can arrange pick up from many hotels in Medellin then drive 34km south of the city to the thriving coffee farm.
The trip begins with a brief overview of the many processes that take place when coffee is harvested.
Afterwards there’s the option of taking a horse-riding tour up to Cerro Bravo, where a traditional Colombian lunch will be served.
A tour around the local area takes place after lunch where travellers will visit sites of interest such as the bullring, before being taken over to the coffee mill to sample some of Colombia’s finest delights.
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