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3 Things to Know Before You Wine & Dine Your Way through South America

Just for a minute, set aside your adventurous nature, the one that craves the next expedition along the Amazon or zodiac landing on Antarctica. Also, forget your artsy side temporarily, the part of you that knows you can master the tango and, deep down, has always felt a connection to centuries-past painters, sculptors and other creators.

For now, we appeal directly to the part of your soul that we all share: the hungry side. Crystal Serenity’s “Southern Celebración” 2017 World Cruise is set to embark in exactly seven months and will travel to some of the hottest hubs for flavor hounds on the planet. From Peru to Argentina, Chile to Ecuador, Uruguay to Panama and beyond, we thought we’d share some tasty tidbits of South American cuisine you have ahead of you.

  1. © Slickspics | Dreamstime.com - Grape Vineyard In Autumn Photo
    Uruguay’s grapevines are young in comparison to those in Argentina and Chile, but still hold 250 years of history.

    Uruguay is the fourth-largest wine-producing country in the world, with wine grapes thriving in the region for more than 250 years. While Uruguay’s neighboring countries, Chile and Argentina, have long fetched the limelight for herbaceous Carmenere wines and rich and rustic Malbec, the country’s iconic wine, Tannat, is widely celebrated as the robust star that put Uruguay on the winemaking map. After arriving in Uruguay from the Basque country in the 19th century, Tannat has proven well suited to the South American climate.

    Taste the tannins of Uruguayan Tannat – along with Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – during a special visit to Juanico Winery (from Montevideo). Descend into the caves and learn of about the organic growing practices employed by this premier winemaking family for the last 150 years.

  2. Pepper and spices are on the menu in Ecuador, as is soup. The country is famous for enhancing the natural flavors of foods with creative blends of pepper, cumin, coriander, garlic and achiote that might test your tongue’s heat tolerance. Those who crave more spice are in luck, as it’s common for dishes to be served with chili sauce “picante” or “aji” on the side. Ecuadoreans are also fairly serious about soup, offering it as a staple with virtually every meal.

    Locro potato-cheese soup and sopa de tomates con plátanos, tomato soup with plantains, are among the popular options.Techniques, tricks and traditions of Ecuadorean cuisine are in store during a two-hour hands-on cooking class with the head chef at the five-star Oro Verde Hotel in Manta. We encourage you not to get too distracted by the sea views along El Mucielago Beach, since you’ll no doubt get to eat your final exam. If it’s too spicy, a refreshing Ecuadorean beer should help.

  3. The fish market in Lima, Peru is famous for a reason. Or rather, thousands of reasons. Since that’s approximately how many fresh catches of giant fish, live crabs, octopus, shrimp, sea bass, mussels, clams and virtually anything else that lives in the sea awaits you on a bed of ice. The daily bounty is practically begging to be reinvented as ceviche, which is considered to be Peru’s national dish. As with many mouthwatering South American specialties, ceviche is almost as fun to say as it is to taste, rolling off the tongue as easily as bites roll in. Again, prepare for peppers, this time of the chili variety, accompanied by fresh cured citrus juices.

    Explore the endless array of seafood in Lima’s fish market, then venture into the produce markets for avocados and more varieties of potatoes than you might have realized existed. From there, head to San Ignacio de Loyola University’s culinary school for a course in the perfect preparation of Peruvian fare (which will hopefully include ceviche).

Your mouth is watering. Admit it, then contact your favorite travel professional or Crystal Cruises at 888-799-2437 to book your 2017 World Cruise adventure. Six segments of 10-26 days offer an abundance of options, regardless how much spice you prefer.

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