Saturday, 6 April 2013

Introducing our gourmet tour of Bolivia and dine at Noma’s owner’s new restaurant

This week saw the launch of no ordinary restaurant in Bolivia’s La Paz.

The founder of Copenhagen’s Noma, voted the world’s best restaurant for the past three years, has chosen the city as the home of his second venture, Gustu.

To coincide with this, HighLives has launched our gourmet tour of Bolivia- a seven-day journey taking in the best of the country’s produce that ends with a 15-course dinner at Gustu.
(Both Gustu and our tour were mentioned in today’s Guardian)

I’ve never been to Noma- with hefty prices, just 40 seats and a waiting list stretching years I don’t think many people have- but I’m very excited that the owner has chosen my home country for his next venture, which looks like it could lead to wonderful benefits for visitors and local people alike.

Gustu promises to deliver pioneering menus with 100% Bolivian ingredients with the aim of encouraging Bolivians to rediscover their own rich food culture. There is a cookery school to train local young chefs from poor backgrounds and plough earnings back to a non-profit foundation.

I think HighLives’ new tour gives a flavour of the region’s best produce and cooking. The country is full of vibrant markets, tasty street food and fresh, seasonal produce.

The tour takes in the wine-growing region of Tarija, where Gustus has built its cellar including the gin-like spirit Singani. It also includes Uyuni’s salt flats and the plains where super-grain quinoa has been harvested as a staple for hundreds of years.

It rounds off in La Paz, where vibrant markets burst with fresh produce and interesting snacks are cooked and sold on virtually every street corner. I sometimes really miss my mid-morning saltena- kind of a pasty sold with lots of dips and spicy toppings- and the fresh fruit juice stands. I have searched London's specialist shops for chuno- a freeze dried potato that produces a really unique flavour that tastes a lot better than it sounds! (I will be posting more soon about these tasty treats).

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