Maridaje 2013 is a food festival happening all this weekend at Plaza Mayor.
I suggested Friday afternoon because I had a hunch it’d be much busier on the weekend, and potentially dead in the evenings. This turned out to be a winning strategy.
Tickets can be purchased at the entrance of the convention center for 12,000 pesos ($6).
Here, you can also buy a large wine glass for 10,000 pesos ($5), which is important, because most of the wine stands do not offer glasses. To save money, I see no reason why you can’t bring your own either.
Upon entering the center, the first room is dedicated to wine distributors. Early in the afternoon, only a couple were pouring samples, with most telling us to come back after 3pm. There were sinks available to wash your glasses too.
Toward the back of the same room, there was a market set up with bottles of all the same wines, and more, which were available at a discount.
If you liked one of the wines you tasted, you could proceed to buy a bottle, and enjoy it right there on the spot at one a few dozen tables.
Ryan and I arrived first, and after sampling a few wines, began wandering through the other rooms. All of the rooms had small stages set up for cooking demonstrations though we weren’t paying attention to that schedule of ongoing events.
About 50 restaurants signed up to take part, and while I thought they’d be giving out free samples, that wasn’t the case. Instead, they presented limited menus, from which you could purchase food.
After talking to the gregarious Spanish chef of Ole Ole, I opted to try three of his tapas, and enjoyed them all. His restaurant has been added to my list for a future visit and write-up.
Next, Ryan and I wandered into the cheese room, which I suspect was his favorite in addition to mine. Here, we sampled all the cheeses on offer, at least a dozen.
The only problem was we were out of wine and would’ve had to go all the way back to the entrance for another sample. No matter, there was still plenty of time left in the day.
I also discovered El Laboratorio de Cafe, where I sampled a slow-brewed, cold cup of coffee. I know a good cup of coffee when I taste it, because there’s no urge for me to add milk or sugar. I can’t wait to check out one of their real cafes for more.
Soon after, we united with Eric and Karen, and proceeded to head outside for some air. There, they and Ryan ordered from the Chef Burger “Land Yacht,” a food truck that’s used for special events, like Maridaje and Colombiamoda.
After lunch, it was back into the fray, exploring another room of restaurants, and artisinal food products. It was here, we tasted some of the spiciest marmalade and fruit spreads I’ve come across in Colombia. They were all products from Santa Elena.
And to my great surprise, there was an artesian ice cream stand. The all natural ice creams were the best I’ve tasted in Medellin. I sampled both the Snickers, and the mint, and they were both fantastic.
Unfortunately, these ice creams aren’t widely available (yet). To try them yourself, go to the Parque de Presidente (next to the Dann Carlton Hotel) on a Sunday afternoon. They have a presence there as part of a weekly Sunday market.
As the afternoon wore on, the crowds of people slowly began to increase. Around 4 or 4:30pm, we began tasting more wines, and opted to buy a bottle of one for 28,000 pesos ($14). Split amongst four friends, it was a mere $3.50 per person for two glasses of good wine.
By 6pm, there were two lines of at least 50 people each leading to the ticket booths. Feeling a little tipsy, we all decided our work was done for the day, and headed for the exit.
Maridaje 2013 runs until midnight tonight, October 19, as well as all day Sunday, October 20. If you’re looking for a fun way to explore local food products, discover new restaurants in Medellin, or get tipsy off Argentinian, Chilean, and Spanish wines, head for Plaza Mayor pronto.