I stepped off the ramp, enjoying the feel of solid, non-swaying ground under my feet. After living four months on a ship, getting used to a routine of a week at sea, a week in a foreign port–I was going to savor this moment. Especially since this was the last port of call in my journey–and one of the best–Guatemala. The excitement to visit Guatemala has built since high school Spanish class, when we’d learn about the culture, dress, and more importantly, the food, of a Latin American country.
And now it was becoming a reality. Two days to explore the wonders of Antigua.
I caught a bus for the hour-long trip from the port to Antigua. My face with glued to the window looking at the lush, green fields and surrounding mountains. About half an hour into the drive, our bus pulls over for an unscheduled stop. “The volcano is smoking!” Tourists, that we are, there’s a mad dash out of the bus and a grab for cameras as we look in awe at Volcán de Fuego spewing in the distance. It was quite a spectacular sight, and we all knew it would be an indicator of great things to come.
When we arrived in Antigua, our first thought was food. My friend and I walked around until we found La Fonda De La Calle Real, a little cafe that boasted traditional Guatemalan cuisine. I ordered the El Antigüeño. It was a tamale (a red festive tamale, to be exact) wrapped in banana leaves, freshly baked bread, and sweetbread. While we were waiting for our meal, we sipped on the best sangria I’ve ever had. It was so delicious–perhaps also because we were tired and hot—the perfect drink. Since that day, I’ve been on the search for the best sangria recipe I could find. I wanted to share with you all my favorite recipe so far. Cheers!
- Red wine — 2 (750-ml) bottles
- Sugar — 1/3 cup
- Oranges, sliced in rounds — 3
- Peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges — 4 to 6
- Lemon, zest only — 1
- Cinnamon sticks — 2
- Pour wine into a large pitcher or earthenware bowl. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Lightly squeeze some juice out of the orange slices into the wine. Then add the orange rounds to the wine, along with the peaches, lemon zest and cinnamon sticks. Adjust sugar to taste.
- Chill well before serving, preferably for several hours to allow the flavors to meld