This Guatemalan Fiambre Feast dish is traditionally served just once a year, on November 1st. This is Dia de los Santos (All Saints Day), the first of a two day celebration followed by Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
On Dia de los Muertos, Guatemalans have, for centuries, visited their deceased loved ones at the cemetery. They would bring incense, flowers, and a full plate of Fiambre to leave at the grave.
In modern times, Guatemalan Fiambre is most often shared with family and loved ones at home in more secluded celebrations. There are many variations on the dish, and families typically have their own version that has been handed down from generation to generation.
This recipe is the “red style” of Guatemalan Fiambre (Fiambre Roja). It gets the red color from the use of beets.
You will want to prepare your Fiambre least one day before serving, and two days ahead is better to start the preparations. This is because the flavor is enhanced by being marinated in caldillo – a sauce made with vinegar and some other special ingredients. Also, preparing a true Guatemalan Fiambre Feast is a very involved, multiple step process. But don’t worry – you and the small army of people you can feed with it will be extremely pleased with the fruits of your labors!