The Colombian Food Guide for Event Planners in Bogotáby HarryPrince, 07 June 2022
Welcome friends, to our catering guide for events in Bogota. From drinks and sides to the main event dishes and the deserts, we’ve got it all covered.
We might be event experts by trade, but this piece is for everyone. For folk going to Colombia, eager to learn about the cuisine or people who are just fascinated by food.
If you haven’t had your lunch yet, we apologise in advance. Because your stomach will be singing once you’ve read this article on Colombian cuisine. And don’t forget, we can also help with a venue or event caterer in Bogotá, it’s what we do after all.
So without further ado, dive in, friends. And as always, make sure to hang around till you reach the conclusion where we’ll be sharing further expert advice to help your event planning!
The Spirit of Colombian Cuisine
So before we dive into each traditional Colombian dish, let’s take a second to consider what distinguishes Colombian cuisine from other nations.
To the uninitiated, you might expect your event caterers in Bogotá to pack a punch with spice and chillies. However, Colombian cuisine is relatively mild compared to its Latin and Caribbean neighbours.
In reality, you’ll find that this Colombian food guide is stacked with hearty stews and soups, lots of grains, and a passion for grilled meats.
So, in short – spoiler alert – you’ll come to learn that Colombian cuisine is synonymous with deep, earthly flavours, all thanks to the smoking, wood grilling, and fermenting techniques used throughout this country.
In this handy guide, you’ll see impressive usage of tropical leaves and herbs, Spanish and Arab influences, and a whole lot of surprises!
So, I know you came here for food, but first of all, we’re going to talk about food. Because more often than not, at friends or at a party, your drink comes before the meal. It will probably be the same with your event caterer in Bogotá.
And when you think of drink and Colombia, you probably think of coffee, right? When you’re in Bogotá, make sure to try it as the locals do, in the form of a tinto. A tinto is a heavily sugared and watered down black coffee. Pure energy and refreshment!
The next thing we need to tell you about is Colombia’s remarkable variety of fresh, exotic fruit juices. You can get fresh fruit juice everywhere and anywhere, but nowhere fresher than in Colombia. And moreover, some of these fruits you just can’t get in Western supermarkets; some are so foreign, in fact, that they don’t have English translations.
So ask your event caterer in Bogotá to get in the following for you and your guests to try: guanábana, lulo, mango, feijoa, maracuyá, mora and guayaba.
This Colombian food guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fantastic beer they make here. What singled them out from other world beers is that they’re cheap and have a light, fizzy taste to them. Make sure to try beloved brands like Dorado, Club, and Aguila while you’re here.
And for those looking for something a little more authentic to Colombian culture, then make sure to try anise-flavoured aguardiente, beloved by the locals. And for those who want to take trying local culture to the extreme, see if you can find chicha, a frothy drink made with maise, most often found in rural parts of the country.
2. Bread, Pastries, and Other Starchy Goodness
Colombian bread is a marvellous thing, and they tend to be recipes that have combined the influence of European baking and the flatbreads made by native populations.
Asmasijos are the archetypical Colombian bread, and it comes in many forms. One of the most popular is arepas. They’re generally made with corn, cassava, or what. They’re versatile too, as they can be sweet or savoury; baked or fried, stuffed with cheese, and a blank canvas for toppings!
They’ve been known to be filled with things like rice, eggs, and even meat. You can have them as breakfast, or as a light snack.
Another snack you might be interested in are arepas do choclo. It’s similar to a pancake, with a chewy, fatty texture, served with butter and sugar, and topped off with some cheese.
Then you have almojábanas, a spindly and slightly sweet cheese bread made from corn. It’s perfect for a light breakfast treat or an afternoon snack. And make sure to take it as the locals do, with scrambled eggs and hot chocolate!
And of course, we couldn’t talk about Colombian cuisine without mentioning empanadas. They’re popular throughout South America, as you might know. What they are, are little half-moon pockets of dough, stuffed with goodies. You’ll find all sorts of fillings, from potatoes, rice, and cheese, to thick and hearty stews.
And finally, for our starchy chapter, we have pandebonos. They’re rounds of bread, with a golden hue and stacked with cheese. They’re crispy on the outside, and fluffy in the middle, creating a stunning contrast of textures. In Bogotá, the locals tend to stuff theirs with guava paste. A must-try for all visitors!
As you might have figured out already, a lot of traditional Colombian dishes come served with cheese, especially in Bogotá. While you’re in the country, you absolutely have to try the following cheeses: Campesinos, cuajada, doble crema, Hilado, queso paipa, and costeño.
And perhaps surprising to some visitors, it’s very common in Colombia to combine cheese with sweets. For example, if you order a hot chocolate, it will almost definitely come with some cheese. Enjoy it as the locals do by dunking it until it melts, then drinking it.
You’ll also need to try salpicón, a fruit cocktail that comes with grated cheese. And after that, you’ll need to try the quintessential Bogotano dessert cuajada con melao!
Due to Bogotás’s mammoth height, it might not be the hottest capital in South America. However, it is very much a tropical country after all. Which means it has an abundance of fresh and exotic fruit! A visit to one of the street markets just to gaze at the colour in the stalls is a tourist excursion in itself.
Fruit is an integral part of Colombian cuisine and culture, as many are only available here, such as Feijoa, guanábana, lulo, mangosteen, cactus tuna, and a whole load more.
And as well as eating them wholly by hand, Colombians love turning their fruit into fresh juice (as you now know), thick shakes, preserved into condiments and jars, desserts, and snacks. And outside of getting your fix from your event caters in Bogotá, you can’t miss out on getting fruit desserts from one of the many carritos (street carts).
When you think of South American grilled meat, you probably think of Argentina. And rightly so. However, this Colombian food guide will state the case for Colombia’s grilled meat mastery too!
Indeed, across the whole of South America, there is the Asado tradition: the collective and social experience of barbequing meats. Well, Asado is undoubtedly part of what foes towards a traditional Colombian dish. With many of the city folk in Bogotá escaping to the Savanna countryside at the weekend to barbeque it up!
These Asado experiences usually involved beef, pork or chicken, with an expansive option of sides including plantains, chees, potatoes, corn on the cob, arepas, bocadillo, chorizo, morcilla, chimichurri, and more.
Soup might not be the most inspiring dish you can think of. In fact, it might even seem generic or uninteresting to most. But not in Colombian cuisine, it isn’t! The people of Bogotá are very proud of their soups!
The most famous one is ajiaco, particularly iconic for its status as a Christmas Eve staple. It’s a wholesome and hearty chicken soup, bolstered by a variety of different kinds of potatoes, corn, and an enticing herb called guasca finished off with a garnish of pickled capers avocado, and some cream.
So yes, soup is indeed a traditional Colombian dish. With many recipes are built on the back of a variety of grains like oats, wheat, and barley. Then you add in a charming combination of beans, plantains, potatoes, and a whole lot more. Every town, village and region has its own unique voice when it comes to soup, and it’s up to you to try as many as you can!
So there you have it, our guide to catering in Bogota. And as you can see, the food is undoubtedly a happy weapon in the event planners’ arsenal here.
Your next task will, of course, be to find a quality location to host your events. Well, we can help with that too! We have a fantastic selection of venues in Bogota for you to choose from!
And finally, he’s some bonus expert advice from us: our ultimate guide to stage design. We hope you enjoy it!
Join the Club
Get access to the event industry's inside scoop