The culinary heritage of Columbia is not as well known in this part of the world as two of its most famous exports — singer Shakira and Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now, a first-of-its-kind food festival in the city aims to change that.
The Colombia Gastronomic Festival has been jointly organised by the Colombian Embassy and Jaypee Vasant Continental to commemorate 200 years of the South American nation’s independence. Celebrity chefs Edgar Mora and Patricia Soto from Colombia are here to introduce Delhiites to the country’s cuisine.
The festival’s primary focus is on dishes from the country’s Caribbean and Andean regions — a variety of meats, cheeses, corn, tapioca, seafood, etc are a staple here. As Colombia’s Ambassador to India Juan Alfredo Pinto Saavedra, himself an avid cook, says, “Our meals are a combination of carbohydrates like potatoes and tapioca, animal protein, excellent seafood, and cheeses. It is accompanied by bread called arepa, which is similar to chapati but made with corn. We use many spices, but not chilli. Our food is very colourful and it is very tasty.”
While a majority of indigenous ingredients have been brought from Colombia, many have been sourced locally in order to customise dishes for the Indian palate and sensibility. Explains Chef Mora, “We respect what Indians eat, so we have made a few changes to the dishes in the festival. For example, instead of minced beef in empanadas, we have chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and cumin.” “We want to promote the Colombian kitchen, so this festival is a good start,” the chef adds.
The festival is on till May 2 at Eggspectation, Jaypee Vasant Continental, Vasant Vihar.