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Goldring Travel Heads to Colombia – A Culinary & Cultural Experience (Part III – Chef Leo!)

One thing I wasn’t really expecting when I decided to travel to Colombia was a Michelin Star level of cuisine or, to be honest, such a cacophony of flavors that are unique and subtle at the same time.  

As you know from my first day’s local culinary and cultural experience: Goldring Travel Heads to Colombia – A Culinary & Cultural Experience (Part I – Getting There and Diving In)    I was pleasantly surprised. But I wanted more. I knew there had to be more. 

The night between the two-day Buyers’ Marketplace I was attending was designated as a free night to be used to explore Bogota, Colombia’s restaurants and nightlife. So, with options open, I began my research. One restaurant, actually chef, kept rising to the top: Chef Leonor Espinosa.  It was a very easy decision what I was going to do.

Chef Leo
Chef Leo

Chef Leo, as she is referred to, has won pretty much every award possible, being named the World’s Best Female Chef, the Best Chef in Colombia, Conde Nast’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World, Top 50 Restaurants in Latin America, and more. Colombian Leonor Espinosa is recognized as the “best female chef in the world” – BBC News Mundo

Her current restaurant, La Sala de Leo (Leo’s Room), is a small, stark but warn, restaurant that offers a few options, but – well, you know me – and I went for the 12 Course Tasting Menu with Wine and Spirit Pairings. But this menu is not merely 12 courses, but a culinary journey through all of Colombia’s six regions and, as I would learn, fifty-two (52) different sources of ingredients.

Making this experience even more amazing is how the flavors from different regions are combined and/or played off of each other. A few years ago, I had a dining experience in Lima, Peru that had a similar concept, but Chef Leo has taken it to an entirely different level!

Rather than explain each dish, what follows is the menu (provided upon request after the culinary adventure) and a map showing where each ingredient was sourced from. Taking things further, on the back of the menu is a QR code that takes you to a detailed description of each ingredient from history to techniques. 

Overall, it was the most beautiful dinner I have ever enjoyed anywhere in the world. Each component of each dish was not only expertly displayed, they complimented everything else being presented at the same time. (By the way, as you will see, thee may have been twelve courses, but many of the courses had up to four separate dishes!)

Insects were elements of two dishes. One was a Big Ass Ant and here is a Big Head Ant

Coca Dusted Cocktail

As beautiful as this culinary journey and experience was, I have to say that what will always stand out is the number of unique flavors and their combinations. Honestly, no single dish or cocktail blew me away, but alas the sum of the parts was far greater than any individual dish.

What is more important is that whatever you may have thought the Colombian food scene was before, I am confident that it is far more elevated now!

Up Next: Part IV – A Travelogue

Interested in a Luxury Journey by Cruise, Expedition, or Land?

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Email: eric@goldringtravel.com 

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY or (530) 562-9232

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