Good Morning Latin America
It’s hard to get out of bed, even when the alarm clock tells us we’re running late. A good breakfast seems like a dream, but all over the continent, people take the time to wake up right.
photos: ana maría lopez | production: macarena rivera
A quick coffee and a medialuna (croissant) pays succinct homage to the café culture found in big cities like Buenos Aires: the art of lingering over a cup in a charming spot, while you chat with a friend or read the paper. The decadent pastries need an encyclopedia of their own: facturas, vigilantes, cañones, sacramentos and more. Breakfast at home means toast, hot chocolate, dulce de leche and mate, a beverage that brings families together around a precise ritual. “The cebador (who prepares the mate) is the host,” explains Argentinean entrepreneur Lourdes Sarni.
On a cold Sunday in Bogotá, the best way to warm up is with changua, a soup of milk, onion, cilantro, egg and bread. In Medellín, try calentado, a spin on the bandeja paisa made with the previous day’s leftovers (like beans, rice and chicharrones). Another option popular throughout Colombia is scrambled eggs with diced tomato and scallions, accompanied with arepas (buttered or with cheese). And every morning starts with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a classic hot chocolate whipped up in an aluminum jar with a wooden molinillo.
Café da manhã. If you’ve traveled to Brazil, you’ve probably enjoyed this luxurious spread of fruits and juices, local coffee, cheese, ham, bread and at least one kind of sweet pastry. Some versions even include eggs and pão de queijo (soft and chewy cheese rolls, a traditional favorite originally from the state of Minas Gerais).
On the beach and need a boost of energy and flavor? Try açai, a purple fruit from a native palm tree, best served whipped like ice cream with guarana and sugar, plus sliced fruit, granola and honey.
Peru boasts a wide range of breakfasts further multiplied by the country’s different regions. On Sundays, Lima families with healthy appetites feast on green or chicken tamales (made of corn) papaya juice and café pasado (coffee extract with hot milk or water and sugar) or what’s possibly the best breakfast in the world: the pan con chicharrón, a sandwich of braised pork shoulder, with sweet potato and a spicy sauce, served on a baguette.
There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee: guayoyo is a less-concentrated version (that would shock an espresso-loving Italian); it’s sometimes served marrón (with milk). If you’re eating at home in Venezuela, the classic arepas with cheese (made with masarepa, dehydrated cooked cornmeal) are accompanied with shredded beef, black beans (caraotas), grated hard cheese and perico (eggs scrambled with tomato and onion). “Juice is also important, including papelón, which is made from sugar cane,” says Bárbara Silva owner of an arepa cart called En tu salsa.
Green plantain is central to Ecuadorian cuisine, even at daybreak. Try it roasted with bits of pork in bolones, sliced, smashed and fried as patacones or stuffed with cheese in tortillas con queso. Plantain mixed with onion, eggs and chicharrones is tigrillo, a dish native to the Zaruma region in the south but famous throughout Ecuador. Breakfast beverages include zumos (fruit juices), fresh local coffee or colada de avena, an oatmeal drink flavored with naranjilla (bitter orange), cane sugar, cinnamon and clove.
Like any large country with a rich culinary heritage, Mexico is full of breakfast options, but the local staple of corn is always a key ingredient. One example is chilaquiles, pieces of corn tortilla fried and topped with chicken, cheese, cream and spicy sauce. Eggs are another ubiquitous ingredient – huevos rancheros are one famous variation – but beans, sweet and savory tamales, café de olla (coffee with cinnamon) and avocado, are also on the table. When it comes to the brunch trend, Mexicans are way ahead of the curve.
Chileans love breakfast so much they have it twice a day: in the morning and as an afternoon snack known as once. Typical breakfast ingredients may be absent from the mix – even coffee, since tea is quite popular – but bread and avocado are essential. Soft and creamy Hass avocados are preferred, and the best bread is the marraqueta (somewhat like French bread). The smell of toast is synonymous with home. On cold winter mornings, Chileans favor sopaipillas, a fried pastry made with pumpkin. They’re called sopaipillas pasadas when smothered in cane-sugar syrup. in