Latin food and music transcend time through generations of celebration. They're what bring Latin communities together and highlight the beautiful and rich cultures all across Latin America. From delicious flavors to the beating heart of a drum––food and music play a special role in weddings! To kick off Latin Heritage Month, learn about different types of Latin food and music and their importance in weddings.
Latin food reflects the social diversity in Latin America’s history. It has a mixture of influence and roots from Indigenous, Spanish, and African flavors. Every vibrant culture in Latin America has its own flavors and dishes that are integral to the community. As a communal culture, sharing food is the pinnacle of all gatherings. Food is a way of life–– it’s not just something you eat, but something that you savor. Food tells the story of the Latin spirit and conveys the importance of family and friends.
Start with tapas like elote and flautas, then move onto the main entrees. The following mouthwatering dishes are classic staples from Mexico all the way to the tip of Argentina.
- Arroz con Pollo: Origins in Cuba. Delicious rice and chicken made moist and flavorful with ají, garlic, oregano, cumin, tomato, and lime juice.
- Paella Valenciana: Origins in Valencia, Spain. Made with chicken and a myriad of seafood, rice, spices, and herbs.
- Ceviche: Origins in Peru. Traditionally made with shrimp and Peru’s signature leche de tigre.
- Tamales: Origins in Mexcio. Traditionally made of corn masa filled with shredded chicken, beef, or pork, served with frijoles charros.
- Lechona: Origins in Colombia. Lechona is a roasted pig stuffed with herbs, peas, rice, onions, and spices, accompanied by arepas or potatoes.
- Feijoada: Origins in Brazil. A rich and hearty stew with cuts of pork and black beans.
Get a taste of more traditional Latin food from Amor Latino Unveiled.
- Arroz con Leche: Rice pudding made with cinnamon and raisins, or coffee and nutmeg.
- Flan: A rich toasted caramel top with a fluffy milk-based egg custard base.
- Sweet Empanadas: Filled with fruit jams like guava, pineapple, and coconut.
- Biscochos or Mexican Wedding Cookies: Small cookies of different shapes topped with powdered sugar.
- Natilla Cubana: A thick and creamy custard sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Buñelos: Fried dough balls with different types of fillings like apples and bananas, topped off with with caramel or sugar.
- Dulce de Leche or Cajeta: A caramel-like sauce made with sweetened milk or goat milk. It can be paired with ice cream, cookies, cake, etc.
Check out 26 Of The Best Desserts From Latin American Countries and be prepared to fall in love!
- Agua Fresca
- Coca Cola
Like food, music is interwoven into Latin identity and community. Song and dance date back to the use of instruments like bones and shells used for religious rituals, ceremonies of rites of passage, and celebrations of harvest. At the turn of the 16th-century Spanish was introduced and is still widespread in modern Latin music. It’s important to note that not all Latin America speaks Spanish, it is the dominant language due to Spanish colonization, but there are other native languages used. Due to the region’s diverse history, Latin music is a blend of genres and sounds. This is what makes it contagious, and what creates that unique atmosphere full of energy, fun, passion, and romance. It has a way of always getting everyone on the dance floor, swaying late into the night.
- Salsa: Origins in Cuba and Puerto Rico
- Tango: Origins in Buenos Aires, influences from Spain
- Mariachi: Origins in Mexico
- Norteño: Origins in Mexico
- Samba: Origins in Brazil, influences from Africa
- Bossa Nova: Origins in Brazil
- Cumbia: Origins in Colombia
- Ranchera: Origins in Mexico
- Merengue: Origins in the Dominican Republic, influences from Afro-Cuba and French Minuet
- Latin pop: Modern mixes with influences from America
- Bachata: Origins in the Dominican Republic
- Rock en Español: Influences from American and British rock bands
- Reggaeton: Origins in Puerto Rico, influences from Jamaica/ Caribbean/ Africa
These genres have now been popularized all across Latin America! Learn more about these genres in the History of Latin Music Genres.
Romantic Slow Songs
- Que Me Alcance La Vida by Sin Bandera
- Amarte es un Placer by Luis Miguel
- Hasta Que Te Cono Cí by Maná
- Amor del Bueno by Reyli Barba
- Por Amarte Asi by Christian Castro ft. Ana Isabelle
- Tan Enamorados by Ricardo Montaner
- Somos Novos by Anrea Bocelli and Christina Aguilera
Up-Beat Dance Songs
- La Bamba by Los Lobos
- Danza Kudero by Don Omar ft. Lucenzo
- La Vida es un Carnaval by Celia Cruz
- Escándalo by La Sonora Dinamita
- Gasolina by Daddy Yankee
- Loca by Shakira ft. Maluma
- Hasta el Amanecer by Nicky Jam
- Stand By Me Prince Royce
- Mi Gente by J Balvin ft. Beyonce and Willy William
Check out more of these Romantic Spanish Slow Songs and 30 Latin Dance Songs for inspiration!
Hero photo courtesy of Casey McDaniel Photography