Friday, 25 September 2009

The Medellin Food Show

I was supposed to publish this right after the show, but I’m just pretty damn lazy these days….. But better late than never ….
The food show was billed as the spectacular culinary event of the year in Medellin. I’d been to one or two food shows before, and sometimes they are a little disappointing. This one fitted that bill perfectly.
It was held in the Jardin Botanical, which is trying to set itself up as a culinary wonderland. They had closed the Botanical Gardens for this 3 day event. They also decided to impose an entrance fee of 16,000 pesos, which to a lot of people is a lot of money. Grudgingly we paid and entered.
The fair was set up in 3 different areas, quite close to each other. One area was designated to foods from around the world (?). These included Peru, Mexico, and Ecuador and from Colombia, the State of Boyoca was being highlighted.
Another area was for food demonstrations. We were there for over 3 hours and never saw sign of one.
The final area was where the stalls were selling locally produced culinary delights. All everyone was selling were jams, conserves and sauces. It occurred to me looking around that people here really have no imagination. When one person comes up with an idea, instead of going forward from there, everyone copies. As everyone was selling literally the same products.
As we wandered around, we noticed no one was giving tasters. Now, I am a sucker for buying stuff at markets, if I have been able to sample a little bit of it. Maybe they were worried that people would just taste and walk away and not buy anything. We were given lengthy talks on the products, but when we were expecting to sample a little. Alas no. So we did not buy. Shame.
Back to the first area, a restaurant represented each country invited, and they had prepared dishes for people to try. Small tasters I think are the best way to describe it. These were not free, but the dishes we saw were 6,000 pesos each.
The look of the food from Ecuador and Peru did not tempt me, as it was mainly stir-fries. Not very Latin. The Mexican stand was only selling tacos. Lot’s of them. They were really busy. It had been a while since I had eaten a good taco. So looking at the list I had to have a mole and a tinga one too.
It was pure Mexican street food. The taste was superb, slightly less hot than you would get in Mexico, but Paisas can’t take much heat. The consistency was a little too runny, but they had made it in bulk, and to last for a while. Apart from that they were pretty good. The price was a little out of order. $3 for a taco that would normally cost less than a tenth of that back in Mexico. But hey ho.
We only tried a loganiza from Boyaca. It’s kinda like a chorizo but filled with chicarron (kinda similar to pork scratching), and a few other bits of meat. It was pretty damn good, but as was only a taster, not enough of it. It went down well with the beer I was drinking.
All in all it was a pretty crappy fair compared to others I had been to, but for Medellin this was a big deal.
On a positive side it is showing Medellin going slightly forward in a land of inward looking people. But for me it is too slow. I’d say they are where England was back in the 70’s or early 80’s. In some restaurants the decoration is a bit too much. I mean who really wants to eat a whole sprig of rosemary. But on the whole, at least they are moving forward.

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