Latin America is a land of infinite flavors. It’s a region that has given many delicious dishes and foods to the world’s gastronomy.
While we received many new foods during colonization, several of our ingredients also crossed the ocean to the other side and had a tremendous impact — gastronomically speaking. Many of them are essential in every cupboard.
In this shortlist, we will talk about all those food staples that marked a before and after in gastronomic history, changed significantly, and improved the diet of the entire planet.
Originally from Peru and Bolivia, the potato is a tuber introduced in Europe after colonization by the Spaniards. Although at the beginning it was not consumed and was used only for the decorative purposes of the plant, over the years it became the food of entire countries, and today the potato is the favorite food of many.
Cacao is the seed of a tree cultivated by the Mayas in the tropical region of Latin America. It took years to become popular because of its bitter taste, and after mixing it with sugar, chocolate was born, everyone’s favorite sweet.
It is a fruit native to northeastern Latin America and cultivated by the Aztecs until it was taken to Europe by the colonizers. However, its consumption did not become famous until the eighteenth century. Today the tomato is the main ingredient of many recipes and part of gastronomy in many countries.
The sacred food of the Incas, corn, is one of the main ingredients in the Latin American diet, and after its introduction in Europe around the 15th century, it has also become an essential part of the world’s diet.
With origins in the Caribbean, pineapples were cultivated and used for their smell and decoration. Later on, it began to be grown as food. Today, pineapple is a fruit present in many cultures’ diets.
Native to the Mesoamerican region, beans have been consumed since ancient times and have become an essential ingredient in the cuisine of many countries.
Avocado is one of the most important foods Latin America has given to the world. During the 20th century, this fruit became well known and became a special part of our diets.
Cultivated in Central America, pumpkin has expanded and reached all corners of the world. It is consumed in many countries and is the star of Halloween.
Peppers (chili peppers)
Originally from Latin America, the chili bell pepper became the base of many foods throughout the continent, and its consumption has spread to many countries.
Originally from Mexico, vanilla was used to flavor foods and was also used for medicinal purposes. Today it is the key ingredient in many desserts.