Want to know what culinary trends are on the up? Just head down--South, that is. And we don't mean to the land of big rigs, grits and country anthems.

We mean way South, to South America. While Europe has long held an iron-fisted grip on American cultural barometers, South America now has a finger or two in the pot. Just consider the cultural influences shaping our national politics (voting rights for Venezuelan expatriates); sports (the 2014 World Cup in Rio); and pop culture (Sofia Vergara).

South America is where you'll also find the latest, greatest movers and shakers in the food, spirits and wine worlds. Take Argentina's sprawling estancias, or ranches, dappled with roaming cattle, and the country's vineyards hanging heavy with prize-winning Malbec, Pinot Noir and Torrontés grapes.

It's a place from which culinary traditions such as heady, dry spice rubs evolved; we've all witnessed how a hearty crust of crushed black peppercorns or even coffee powder can transform a porterhouse steak from simple to spectacular.

Journeying below the equator will also lend a new lingo to your passion for nose-to-tail cuts eating. Picture for example the delicious Brazilian picanha (known more commonly as the top sirloin cap steak), or the thin but extremely flavorful entraña (skirt steak).