The culinary heritage in Colombia has become a hot discussion piece in recent years. Efforts are underway to identify and preserve the Caldas Gastronomy and recipes for future generations.

Vive Amasijos – Feria de Gastronomía de Caldas en Manizales

Amasijos essentially means “traditional dough preparations,” a term used to denote homemade recipes which have cultural significance. Vive Amasijos, the event name is all about the hands on – real life experience of living those preparations and sharing them with others.

We are potentializing the talent at the Plaza de Mercados of Manizales by imparting information about hygiene, food prep and good practices. We worked the last 10 months in giving 10 cooks training to certify them. Amasijos is dedicated to the development and growth of Colombian food traditions – while presenting special invited leaders of the food service industry in Colombia. During Vive Amasijos they will impart their knowledge and creativity. – Ivan Becerra, Revista Gourmet – Event Organizer

The annual event is organized by SENA, Revista Gourmet and Plaza de Mercado as an opportunity to share techniques and information related to traditional food preparations of Colombia and the Coffee Region. Event dates were October 7 – 12th, 2019. 

Some of the events include:

  • Workshops to give health and sanitation training to 10 cooks who work full-time at the Galeria (Food Plaza).
  • Ruta de Cocina – celebrating all the different traditional preparations currently available.
  • National Cooking Competitions – where chefs from different parts of Colombia compete to create traditional dishes of their region with good taste and presentation.
  • Workshops and Presentations to further culinary appreciation and historical knowledge of typical Colombian dishes. 
  • International participants who bring techniques and knowledge to the furtherance of local information.

This is the ultimate foodie experience – for learning and experiencing traditional cuisine of the Colombia Coffee Region. Participants will leave with a greater appreciation for the local flavor heritage while understanding on a practical level the roots and reasons behind many of the common local preparations.

Caldas Gastronomy Our Experience

As a foreign visitor or resident – Spanish is necessary to understand much of the information and context. However, we can offer bilingual residents who can accompany visitors as needed. 

La Galeria, Plaza de Mercado of Manizales – is the beating heart. As per Gozalo Duque, Professor and Director of Samoga Museum at the National University of Manizales (Universidad Nacional de Manizales), It all started at the Plaza de Mercado, or Market Plaza. It is here that local residents gathered as they took care of their most important need: food. 

Duque goes on to give us further context. He states, that Manizales actually had 400 families which occupied 20 Manzanas – or residential blocks, at the time of its official founding in 1849. And, the layout of the original pueblo was with the Plaza de Mercado at its center. Today the center is considered to be Plaza Bolivar. 

For Foodie experiences like this one, try our Manizales Foodie Tour with Mestizo. Learn how to shop at La Galeria, then prepare your own authentic Colombian dish, and enjoy!

Caldas Gastronomy

Angela Garcia – from SENA, a local community college, explained Caldas Gastronomy. For her, the main plate of Manizales is Beef Tongue in Salsa Criolla (Native Sauce). Dessert is Figs with Cheese – also common to the region is figs with Arequipe (caramel cream), and/or cream. Guava, called “Bocadillo,” usually accompanied by a piece of cheese, ranks as a favorite local variation which the Mule Teamsters carried with them for calories and energy. 

Plaza de Mercado, La Galeria Manizales

La Galeria, is a 5 block complex with a round center building and 4 surrounding warehouse-like buildings which each serve different purposes. The center is one half butcher shop and the other half restaurants. In the center of this space is a presentation center where special workshops and events are staged.  The other buildings have themes like junk/recycling, herbs, disposables, baskets and farm tools, implements and feed. In between all of this are rows of fruit/vegetable stands. 

This is essentially the main delivery point for all the small farms which comprise the countryside surrounding Manizales and her municipalities. You can find items from the coast like coconuts and Nispero fruit. Some store-fronts focus on potato varieties. Others feature onions, garlic and ginger. Food here is fresh-picked and recently delivered. 


#1: Try to carry small denominations for paying exact amounts – keep money easy to get to, but difficult to take. Shirt pockets are great for this.

#2: Keep your purse/bag zipped shut and one hand on it at all times. 

#3: Pay careful attention to the price they quote you > Cost/Kilo. If they quote you a Kilo, and then try to give you a pound – take note, repeat the original price/offer they gave you without getting “offended.” Basically, act like they didn’t just try to rob you while asking for the original offer. They will probably apologize and then correct their “mistake.” Life is short, move on quickly.

#4: Morning and early afternoon are the safest parts of the day to go to La Galeria. 

#5: Never go into places which are dark and crowded – use common sense and be a bit protective of yourself. 

#6: Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the sights, smells, & tastes you will encounter there!

Your Next Visit

If you are a foodie, then La Galeria of Manizales is a top destination for Caldas Gastronomy and culture. It is easy to get there, you will find great variety – breakfast and/or lunch is prepared with the freshest ingredients in the Coffee Region. 

Contact us to set up your personally guided experience. 

Photography by Erin Donaldson