Antigua Foodie Tours

Antigua Foodie Tours creates distinctive culinary adventures taking visitors through colonial Antigua and beyond.

One of the best ways to understand a culture is to experience its cuisine. And with over 250 restaurants and food-related businesses in town, La Antigua Guatemala has evolved into a melting pot of casual and sophisticated dining experiences catering to an array of culinary lifestyles.

Whether you choose to go on a tasty stroll through the charming cobblestones of Antigua, check out a local organic farm and restaurant, or head to the beach for a gourmet feast at sunset, Antigua Foodie Tours will take you on a unique adventure and introduce you to some of Guatemala’s most intriguing hotspots.

Antigua Foodie Tours

I couldn’t wait to go on my gastronomic tour of Antigua, which was so easy to book online at antiguafoodietours.com. Soon after booking, I received a confirmation email with meet-up information. I was also asked about any food allergies or preferences. And I was good to go!

On a beautiful Wednesday morning in Antigua, we met Jamila and Kwame, founders of Antigua Foodie Tours and our guides for the two-hour culinary adventure. It was warm that day, and members of our tour group appreciated the welcome gift of chilled bottled water in a lovely holder that was handcrafted from colorful Guatemala textiles.

Kwame, an avid food aficionada and cook, has been plugged into Antigua’s culinary scene for several years now. “I gained so much experience showing visitors and relatives around town and enjoying it, that they encouraged me to start my own business,” he said. That’s when in November 2016, he and his partner, Jamila, created Antigua Foodie Tours with the express purpose of supporting local restaurants, promoting tourism and sharing both Guatemalan and international cuisine with locals and foreign visitors.

The Antigua tour consists of approximately 10 stops of carefully vetted venues where you savor samples that are at once delectable and delight the senses. Almost as mouthwatering as the memorable eats you sample are the behind-the-scenes tidbits of information you become privy to while visiting these unique eateries.

At several stops, owners took part in the samplings, explained some of their secret ingredients and shared colorful stories about how they got started in their businesses.

To whet our appetites, we started at Summu Hummus where we sampled four different hummuses: coriander, red pepper, jalapeno and regular. Daniel, one of the owners, explained that while they always have four flavors on hand, they have made 12 varieties thus far. The best part is their pita bread, made fresh to order and served warm. We were in Hummus Heaven!

“The stops on this tour are designed to provide visitors with a balance of culinary experiences that range from the urban/modern to more typical Guatemala fare such as the roasted meats at Rincon Tipico and at Randy’s for their exceptional sausage,” said Kwame. “We want people who appreciate food to leave with a greater understanding of Guatemala’s gastronomy and flavors as well as its history and culture,” he emphasized.

Complementing the Antigua Foodie Tour is the Organic Tour that takes visitors to an organic farm where Maya permaculture and modern techniques meet to provide the local community with organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. “This is probably my favorite,” said Jamila, “because visitors get to roam through a huge organic farm with breathtaking vistas, interact with the animals and feast on a delicious meal consisting of all fresh ingredients grown right there on the premises.”

If you’re looking for adventure outside of Antigua, sign up for Beyond Antigua – Your own Black Sand Beach, which is an all-day excursion to El Paradon on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast. This trip is especially suited for foodies who appreciate local ingredients and fresh herbs because their gourmet lunch is prepared by chef Kwame, using vegetables and herbs from his own organic garden.

Everything is fresh and from scratch, even the tahini used in his famous hummus sandwiches, made with fresh sesame and chia seed, a bit of goat cheese, with arugula and basil on a freshly baked roll. Feast on sandwiches made with boneless chicken breast that has been marinated in nispero wine with sundried-tomato spread; fresh guacamole; fruit salad with colorful and exotic star fruit, and to quench your thirst, freshly pressed green, watermelon and pineapple juices.

After a fun-filled afternoon on the black sand beaches of El Paredón, participants enjoy a delicious Thai dinner served at a table that is brought out for your dinner right on the beach at sunset.

It’s easy to book your tour at antiguafoodietours.com or you can go to their Facebook page, Antigua Foodie Tours, for more information. If you know the date that you’d like to go on your culinary adventure, it is recommended you book in advance, as each tour has a limited capacity and doesn’t run every day.

For each tour booked, Antigua Foodie Tours donates a portion of its proceeds to two established NGOs in Guatemala: Niños de Guatemala and Semilla de Esperanza y Amor, both of which support children in need.

Joy in the Kitchen during the Holidays – Amalia’s Kitchen

People sometimes tell me they feel that cooking is difficult or intimidating, especially if you put the word gourmet in front of it. I say cooking can be as easy as you want it to be, just take a little time to think about what you enjoy.

My philosophy in the kitchen has always been practical and healthy. Like many other people, I multi-task and quite often I resort to doing what’s quick, delicious, and easy. What I find really helpful is to create what I call a kitchen map, sort of a Mise en Place, or a plan.

Planning is not just for business or big projects. It is beneficial anytime and especially during the holiday season when stress levels can increase because of family traditions and social gatherings.

Amalia_s Kitchen

When planning small, medium, or large get-togethers, the principle is the same. Start with the number of guests you will be serving, and then follow that with your menu plan.

If you make a habit of sitting down at your kitchen table or counter to plan your menu and from here you create a shopping list, then what follows is how you will be serving that meal. My plan often includes thinking outside the box on how I will present the food, what dinnerware I use, and so on.

I am not always thinking about uniformity at the table, but rather to create something eclectic with a global flair. I opt for bringing elements together that include not just food, but dishes and utensils that may not necessarily be used for the purpose I choose. I think in terms of color and texture, and everything usually falls into place.

It’s relatively simple for artistic minds, but it may be challenging for those who don’t have this ability, so the plan becomes more important as it allows anyone to be competent in the kitchen.

Next time you plan your next soirée, think about minimizing stress for yourself. Making a plan may seem overly simplistic to some, but if your goal is to prepare something special for your dear ones, then take it seriously and have fun while doing it. With proper planning, you’ll soon discover that you are able to enjoy the year-end festivities with family and friends even more.

Here’s a super easy first course that it simple, elegant and straightforward to help your creative mind get started!

Buen provecho!

Amalia_s Kitchen

BRAZILIANA
Recipe by Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard
(AmaliaLLC.com)

This salad can be modified according to your taste. You can start with the lettuce of choice plus other ingredients that you may prefer. You can also make the salad below into a main course by adding more ingredients and a protein such as grilled salmon or chicken.

Serves 2

1 head Bibb lettuce, separated, washed
10 cherry tomatoes (red, yellow, orange)
½ cup celery hearts, finely chopped
1 avocado, pitted, in cubes
1 can hearts of palm, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
½ lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Divide ingredients in half.

Assembly. Begin with the lettuce and layer the rest of the ingredients sparingly on top.

Add olive oil, lemon, juice, kosher salt, and pepper to taste right before serving.

Amalia_s Kitchen

Wake up to a Guatemalan Breakfast

Guatemalans consider breakfast and lunch to be the most important meals of the day. These meals are usually larger than the evening meal. Families with school-age children pay special attention to serving nutritious breakfasts. Balance and quality are both important.

Guatemala food

Because fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and varied in Guatemala, it’s easy to make a nourishing meal during a busy morning. Guatemalan breakfast dishes are simple but tasty and wholesome.

Mosh (creamy whole oats with cinnamon and milk) is a favorite of the young and the old. Eggs are prepared in many styles depending on the day of the week. On weekdays they can be soft-boiled, hard-boiled or scrambled. On the weekend, they can be huevos estrellados con chirmol frito (eggs sunny-side up with tomato and onion pan sauce) or huevos revueltos con tomate y cebolla ó tortilla (scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions or corn tortilla bits).

The typical accompaniments for eggs are black beans in any style and either corn tortillas or Guatemalan-style French bread (an elongated crusty loaf divided into bun-like sections, with a delicious gummy core).

Another breakfast option for the weekend or for brunch is panqueques con miel de abeja (pancakes with honey). These are medium-thick crepe-like cakes that can be made in minutes. Pan fried plantains are a good complement to any meal. For heavier appetites, Guatemalan chorizo and longaniza sausages make a great side.

In my grandmother’s town in the countryside, tamalitos de elote (fresh corn and butter mini-tamales topped with fresh cream) were a very special treat. She made them especially when we had visitors.

Guineo mojoncho con leche was another favorite breakfast dish. This is red-skinned bananas grilled over charcoals, peeled, cut into chunks, mashed, and added to hot milk in a bowl. We ate this dish like cereal. At school, whole (not rolled) oats were cooked in milk.

Traditional breakfast drinks include freshly squeezed orange juice and licuados (blended drinks made with seasonal fresh fruit and milk). Guatemalan café con leche (coffee with hot milk) is also popular.

Here is an easy and delicious recipe that is very near and dear to my heart.

Guatemala breakfast

HUEVOS REVUELTOS CON TOMATE Y CEBOLLA

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Onions (recipe by Amalia Moreno-Damgaard)

Guatemala food

This recipe is as Guatemalan as corn tortillas. Try it when you’re getting tired of the same old scrambled eggs. Guatemalans modify the recipe in many ways. For example, sometimes people add corn tortilla bits or cooked chorizo instead of tomatoes and onions. Accompany the eggs with Frijoles Chapines (Guatemalan black beans any style) and Tortillas de Maíz (corn tortillas).

Or serve the eggs atop a panfried corn tortilla with beans on the side. You can also modify this recipe by making the eggs sunny side up and using the onion and tomato comb.
Serves 2 people

2 large or 3 small eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 1/2 tablespoons finely diced Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely diced yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Beat the eggs until fluffy and set aside.

2. Add the oil to a heated medium nonstick skillet. Add the tomatoes and onion and season with salt. Cook at medium heat until saucy and thick, (about 3 minutes). Taste and adjust salt, if needed.

3. Add the eggs and combine well with the sauce. Continue to cook until eggs are cooked and smooth (2 to 3 minutes).

Dulces Típicos, Traditional Guatemalan Candy

Dulces típicos began very shortly after the Spanish arrived in Guatemala in 1524.

Candy brings back memories of our childhoods and a sense of joy. It is engrained in our cultural heritage. We always associate candy with sugar, which may have originated in the Polynesian Islands over 5,000 years ago. It migrated to India, Alexander the Great took it to Ancient Greece and then Rome, and the Arabs took sugar cane to Spain and Portugal as a highly profitable crop.

Introduced to the island of Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the crop flourished as he reported it grew faster there than any other place in the world! It was first cultivated in Guatemala by the Dominicans at Hacienda San Jerónimo in the 1550s. It is in all of the dulce típicos (popular candies) of Guatemala today.

Dulces TípicosDulces Típicos de leche. photos by Luis Toribio

Dulces típicos began very shortly after the Spanish arrived in Guatemala in 1524. Many of them are of Arabic ancestry, including bocadillos, nuégados, cocadas (cononut candies), mazapanes, (marzipans), canillas de leche (milk legs), colochos de guayaba (guava curls), huevos chimbo (candied eggs), frutas cristalizadas (candied fruit), zapotillos (zapotillo plums), tartaritas (tarlets), quiebradientes (hard taffy), pepitorias (pumpkin seeds), suspiros, paciencias, africanos and besitos, all known as “dry confectionary.”

References to a Confectionary Guild (Gremio de Confiteros) go as far back as 1613. Throughout Latin American, nuns (particularly those from Santa Clara and Capuchinas) made popular candies and other fabulous desserts for sale. With the arrival of coffee to the country in the 1870s, caramelos de café con leche were added.

Dulces TípicosHigos / Figs

Popular candies are also sold in front of churches for the local fiestas and fairs. After a visit to the local church, traditional Guatemalan candies are purchased. These include maletas de higo (candied figs), sweet potato, chilacayote (pumpkin), melcochas (pulled taffy) and batido (taffy).

These are only a few candies, as 224 recipes are included in a cookbook manuscript from 1844 dedicated to Dolores Zelaya de O’Meany. More than 90 varieties remain popular today.

While in La Antigua Guatemala, visit the famous store of doña María Gordillo (4a calle oriente #11), whose family received the CNPAG Diego de Porres Gold Award for maintaining the traditional of candy-making in Guatemala. Other popular stores are La Casa (7a calle oriente #20-A) and El Sombrerón (4a calle poniente #11 and 4a calle oriente #24). Dulces típicos have been made the same traditional way for centuries.

Dulces Típicos