Maria Luisa Rios is a Venezuelan food journalist who enjoys writing about her husband, children and friend’s favourite foods, such as artisan cheeses, cacao, chocolates, arepas, cachapas and other tasty feasts.
With her family, she organizes Recorridos MilSabores Food Tours and invites tourists to learn and discover multicultural trends and tastes in Caracas and nearby cities. “For many years I thought I was allergic to chocolates,” Rios said. “One day, my mother-in-law convinced me to try it. “Chocolate is tasty, it cannot hurt anybody,” she urged. “Chocolate makes you happy, brings mental lucidity, takes away stress and contributes to longevity.”
Rios said she had so much fun tasting the different textures and flavors of each bonbon, she decided to expand her writing beyond journalism. In 2005, she created the first food journalism blog in Venezuela Milsabores. Since its launch nine years ago, Rios says her favorite gastronomic topics have evolved. “In 2006, I met some of the best Spaniard chefs in New York and I wanted to learn more about their trade. I interviewed them when they were trending topics and on top of the gastronomic culture crest. A year later, I visited the Argentinean vineyards and fell in love with their breath-taking views and their fine wines. “After that, I went to London to participate in an invitation-only food workshop and returned to Venezuela to organize the first gastronomic tours in Caracas showing people the best food markets, cooking schools, bakeries, chocolate makers, food artisans and restaurants. We make Venezuelans tourists in their own country.”
To address the proliferation of new gastronomic blogs and web pages and increased coverage of gastronomical events by traditional media, Rios founded the Gastronomic Communicators’ Association of Venezuela, or ACOGAVE, in 2011. The group boasts more than 30 expert members who gather to discuss various gastronomic issues.“My favorite flavors are wines, cheese and desserts with exotic tastes, homemade Italian pastas and their sauces. I dream of visiting Asiatic countries such as Singapore, Vietnam and Japan, to meet their gastronomic personalities, sample their ample variety of aromas, flavors, ingredients and techniques as well as their typical dishes.”
Venezuelan chocolate is recognized as among the world’s best, and in 2013 Rios enrolled at Simon Bolivar University to take an intensive course in Cacao Industry Management and visit cacao’s haciendas, then share her experiences with her readers.
“I want to be trained to guide chocolate tastings, something I want to do locally as well as internationally.”
Rios shares her pleasure for food with her husband and three children.
“Sometimes we all gather in the kitchen to prepare arepas, ceviche, crepes or sushi to enjoy a good meal. We always take pleasure in remembering the taste of meals prepared by our grandmothers and creating our own for future festivities.”