Your Guide wrote previously about how much I loved my stay at Cannúa, and would it be the ruler by which I measure other accommodations (Hotel Review: Cannúa). Located near Medellin, Colombia, nestled on a rewilded hillside, it’s designed around permaculture principles, to thrive sustainably with the environment and community around it. A big part of the philosophy and experience is the food at Cannúa, sourced right from the gardens around your room. I’ll share some highlights (best read on a full stomach)…
The Leaves and Flowers of our Environment
The Leaves and Flowers of our Environment ($27700 COP / $6 USD) is the name of a salad on the menu. But it’s also the experience you’ll have with every dish. And you taste it. The freshness that comes from ingredients that were picked this morning by the chef and traveled only a few meters to your plate is noticeable. Enjoy!
At Cannúa, you’re not separated from your food or how that food is nourished. The hotel was built around how water flows down the hillside. That flow of water nourishes the gardens that surround the buildings and line the pathways. Those plants and flowers and seeds will nourish you during your stay.
Amuse that bouche.
For the first meal I ate at Cannúa, soon after ordering, the waiter brought me a slab of slate with a morsel of food on it that looked exactly like the description of what I’d ordered for my main course, just a super tiny miniature. I despaired. I would starve!
But it turned out to be the opposite of starving. It was extra food! Cannúa’s restaurant has excellent amuse-bouche game. It was merely a coincidence the little appetizer morsel at my first dinner was similar to what I’d ordered. Many much much larger plates arrived after.
The serving sizes at Cannúa are more than substantial. So if something tiny shows up at the table, don’t fall into a deep sadness. Celebrate the chef’s creativity! Your other food will arrive soon.
Above: A fried potato croquette with fresh herbs, blossoms, and chili sauce. Strands of pickled beetroot with mustard seeds and feta on a fried squash leaf. A cube of local goat cheese, torched, with fresh pesto from the garden on top with a flower petal. A medallion of sweet potato with avocado, red onions, and fresh herbs on top.
Veganism and the Superfoods
My favorite main course dish was “Veganism and the Superfoods” ($36400 COP / $8 USD). It’s not the best name for a dish on the menu–that award goes to Delirium of Bocadillo, which was my favorite dessert–but don’t get caught up on the name. VatS is the most delicious fun you’ll have eating something that will make you feel nourished and full of vitamins for months.
The dish plays with the tamale. But the typical tamale corn masa is on the bottom of the dish with quinoa and seeds. Resting on top of them is a squash leaf wrapped around something that looks like a tamale but is made with eggplant and chickpeas. That’s all surrounded by a crowd of fresh vegetables from the garden.
Wash it all down with the Torrealta Belgian Triple: La Dama Alegre. It went well with all of the meals 🙂
Is it all vegetables?
There’s sustainably and ethically sourced local fish and chicken and rabbit and pork on the menu, too. You can get a classic Colombian sancocho stew made with rabbit loin, a duck leg and some other type of small bird I couldn’t translate. All of the meat and fish dishes arrive with plenty of the garden on your plate. The Fresh Catch of the Day ($52000 COP / $11.55 USD) comes with sweet plantain gnocchi (and cute leaves!):
Don't skip snack time.
Let’s talk strategy here: You may want to save the space in your stomach for dinner. But know that there is a whole separate snack menu in Cannúa’s restaurant that’s available from 4pm to 6pm. Then you can get classic Colombian snack foods like empanadas and patacones (smashed and fried plantain pancakes), as well as a juanduche, a deep fried chicken sandwich covered in mushrooms, with freshly made potato chips. The kitchen still gives the classics a gourmet spin. Those empanadas are filled with potato, rabbit, and trout.
Depending on events happening at the hotel and the seasonality of ingredients, there will be surprises not on the menu.
There were a few mornings with breakfast specials. One morning, that was whole wheat pancakes showered in flower petals and smothered in bowls and bowls of melted chocolate bars. That seafood stew in the featured image for this post was also not on the menu.
What about dessert and bread and cocktails?
I realize I’ve left out some of the most important things. There’s just not enough space to cover it all. You’ll enjoy the breads and homemade butters at breakfast, but also try the Baker’s Experience, a selection of freshly made breads paired with their own savory homemade butters.
For desserts, I don’t have very good photos of them because I often ate them at night, and it was dark. The Creamy Chocolate Quenelle ($21200 COP / $5 USD) is a stunner. That quenelle of thick chocolate comes with a pool of balsamic reduction in the center. You’ll want buckets of it.
The dessert I enjoyed (again) on my final night at Cannúa’s restaurant was the Delirium of Bocadillo: confit guava sections, surrounding a white cheese mousse, with guava and citrus gels from the garden ($18500 COP / $4.10). I paired that with the a house cocktail: Beetroot Time, a concoction of mezcal, Chili Ancho Reyes, beet juice, salvia syrup, balsamic shrub, and lime ($32000 / $7.10).
Is there only one restaurant at Cannúa?
Have you been paying attention? You won’t need another restaurant again. And there is nothing else around Cannúa except farms. You could drive somewhere if you wanted to, but you don’t need to. I stayed at Cannúa for a week. That was enough time to get through most things on the menu and then enjoy some of my favorites again. The staff are all people you’ll love to see every day. The view never gets old. You can have breakfast, order a French press of coffee with beans straight from a local farm, drain that while you work on the balcony watching the mist rise of those rolling green hills, and then eat lunch. I did it more than once. Immensely satisfying.
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