My passion for eating and drinking sometimes gives me the opportunity to meet very precious people. The same happened also during my travel in Colombia; on January 20 I met Maura de Caldas, one of the most important representatives of the pacific cuisine in Colombia. In fact, the word ‘to meet’ is not really sufficient to describe that evening. Far beyond just meeting, dear Maura de Calas hosted me and my friend, Isabel Bedoya, at her home. For this it was such a precious meeting.
It was evident from the very first moment when Maura de Calas welcomed us at the door in her colourful dress and with a friendly smile that the evening was going to be so delightful. We immediately started to chat. Of course the chat was in Spanish, and although my Spanish was not good enough to follow the conversation, Isabel translated every single word to English and thus removed the obstacles.
The involvement of Maura de Calas in kitchen goes back to when she was just a kid, and since then she gave many courses and lectures on the pacific cuisine over the years. Indeed, she utters that the recipes and techniques she learnt from her grandmother and her mother are so precious for her and that those techniques are the ‘life vessels’ of the pacific cuisine. She further improved herself over the years, and in fact has been among the first ones to start running a restaurant with a pacific cuisine concept in Colombia. And that was exactly 50 years ago! She says that all considered her crazy previously and that in those years people were not really interested in the traditional tastes of pacific. Yet, despite all those difficulties, she carried on her path and currently became one of the most important chefs of Colombia.
During our talk we learn couple of characteristics of the pacific cuisine. For instance she tells that the dishes are mainly consists of fried food and the portions are quite big. But, why are the foods are mainly fried? Well, it’s simple. At that time, the kitchens of the local community were simple constructions with just a fire in the middle. That’s why they were preparing their food simply by frying them in pans over the fire.
Why portions are that big? She says also this has a logical and simple answer. Daily life of the local community at the pacific coasts is intense, requiring a huge effort, for this they need outrageous energy, which is significant to eating much more.
We ask her the most widely used ingredients in the pacific cuisine and she highlights especially 3: coconut, fish (either from ocean or river), and herbs.
After such a pleasant talk with Caldas, she cooked and offered us 3 traditional taste of pacific cuisine. We concluded the evening with delicious pacific foods and such a nice talk. Many thanks to Maura de Caldas for hosting me and Isabel at her house. By the way, one small remark; Maura de Caldas is planning to open a restaurant in Cali soon. Such a great news for those food lovers of Cali.
Btw, we were so lucky that night. Because, we had a dinner with one of the biggest chefs of Colombia, and all the foods were cooked by her. 🙂
Pescado en Escabeche (Salamura Balık): Gold fish, onion, lemon and oil
Chucula: Ripe platano, cheese, coconut, coriander
Repingancho: Baby shark, coconut, yucca or plantain
Gorgoneto: Sauteed shrimp with coconut, corn flour
This post is also available in: Turkish