Central American Independence Day is celebrated on September 15, marking the day in 1821 that a congress of Central American colonists declared their independence from Spain. Almost two years later, autonomy was again declared after a brief annexation by Mexico. The Federal Republic of Central America was formed shortly thereafter, comprised of the states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The Republic lasted about fifteen years, and each of those states became an independent country, albeit with shared elements of history and culture.
Central American cuisine varies from country to country—and even region to region—but there are many common elements. Food traditions combine both native and Spanish ingredients and techniques. Rice, beans, corn, plantain, potatoes, squash, fish, pork, and cheese are found on the plates of people throughout all of Central America, but each country has its specialty. And each one should be celebrated and paired with its own delicious wine. Read on for our picks for the best wines to help you celebrate Central American Independence Day.
Papusas, stuffed rice tortillas, are El Salvador’s signature dish. This version, filled with cabbage, bacon, and cheese, calls out for a rich Chardonnay such as Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay 2011. The rounded mouthfeel of this well-oaked white holds up to the fattiness of the filling, and the splash of brightness on the wine’s finish will cut through the fat that the bacon brings to this delicious dish.
Next up, pairing the classic dishes of Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua...