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Gourmet foods craze in Latin America

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I have been comissioned by a very nice Chilean magazine, ININ, to write about the new trend of everything being gourmet, from waters to coffees to teas to chocolates.

For the 2008 foodie, it seems knowing wine and fine cuisine is not enough.

I could name several examples in São Paulo, where I am from, since there are, for instance, several chocolate “boutiques” selling D.O.C. chocolates, like Chocolates da Cau and Choco.lab. and Saint Phylippe. Never have there been more wine tastings and courses. Cooking schools are popping up everywhere like mushrooms in the fall.

In New York, there's a chocolate shop called Michel Cluizel that does tastings where specific D.O.C. chocolates are paired with different wines.

Gourmet waters and beers are also a trend in São Paulo, and the upscale Japanese restaurant Kinoshita (excellent, by the way) has a sake sommelière.

I also know that in Santiago, for example, the merkén chile was used in the indigenous cuisines for ages with nobody paying much attention, but now it's become a sought-after delicacy, exported to New York, etc.

I would like to find more South American examples of this trend of everything becoming gourmet, from local spices to teas and chocolates. If any of you know of specific food markets or delicatessens selling high-end gourmet spices or teas or chocolates or whatever, or restaurants with tea lists or water lists or even new high-end wine or cookery schools, please let me know.

Thanks in advance!

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

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