Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Saturday, 19 March 2011

{fruit, fine food, & fincas}

Those of you following my blog posts will know that I spent Christmas in Ecuador with my sister & her family. I've blogged a few posts on my time there (you can read them here, herehere, & here) but I have had little time to write on all the things that I wanted to. One thing that I'm always continually surprised & excited about is the food in Ecuador. I repeatedly come across varieties of fruit I have never seen before. Whether you're breakfasting at the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Swiss Hotel or purchasing fruit from the local vendor's or choosing ice cream flavours from the helado shop, you'll be surprised by the intense taste & variety of fruit in Ecuador. My sister would often make sweet tomato juice in the mornings (Tomate de ├írbol  in Spanish)-full of vitamin C & super yummy!

{my niece having fun in the local fruit seller's shop--fruttivendolo!}

{tree tomatoes (the red fruit in the middle)}

{bananas still on their vine & avocados are ridiculously cheap}

There are plenty of great meals to be had in the numerous restaurants, many of which are converted haciendas/fincas. I've already blogged about the El Establo de Alejo and the delicious food there (see the pic of my niece's corn being cooked below). Ecuador has many types of grain, including quinoa, and a variety of corn. Mote is one of these corn varieties and it makes really delicious snacks when roasted, or a great accompaniment to any meal, boiled like corn with salt & some butter.

My sis makes yummy corn tortilla-like creations that melt in your mouth called arepas:
{help in the kitchen}

{my sis making arepas: taking little balls of the dough, flattening them out, & then she cooks them in a frying pan, like you would a chapati or tortilla}

{yum, they're ready to eat!}

My sister and brother-in-law treated me out to lunch at La Briciola. It's a great Italian restaurant with a wood oven, where they make excellent pizzas but their pastas are delicious too. There are actually two locations: one in Quito and one in Cumbaya, the valley where my sister lives. We ate at the one in Cumbuya in a lovely villa-like setting:

{my sister & nephew  eating al fresco at La Briciola}

{my delicious seafood pasta}
 My sister, Esther, & I went for a girl's date (with baby Juan as our companion) to Carmine's Il Casale. She had been to il Casale in Tumbaco on business before and recommended it as a perfect place for a glamorous girl's drink. However, when we arrived the place was closed. She put her negotiating skills to good use and persuaded the guy to let two lovely sisters enjoy a glass of vino. The views are breathtaking and the place itself evokes a Tuscan villa displaced to South America!

{sisters' date}
{breathtaking views}

{the gorgeous grounds at Il Casale}

I had some of the best ceviche at Zavalita in Quito. So fresh & just so good! You can sit out on the patio with views of Quito.
{my shrimp ceviche}
{yum! ceviche!!}
 Ecuadorian coffee is pretty amazing too. There's a coffee shop--Corfu--in a shopping complex near to my sister's house in Cumbaya, that's super good. They also give you a chocolate truffle with each cappuccino you order. Ecuadorian chocolate is to die for. The shopping complex sells organic produce every Wednesday, which is brilliantly fresh & full of flavour and also reasonable. Across from Corfu, there's Cyrano Bakery, an institution well known in Quito for its yummy pastries & cakes, & bread (of course).
{enjoying coffee & chocolates at Corfu}
But great meals can be had at home too. Esther frequents an Argentinian butcher that sells all kinds of cuts & meats, from sausages to stuffed chickens. She bought lamb for Christmas dinner, and she cooked it up with fresh rosemary from the garden. So delicious...and the wine in South America is also excellent--makes for a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

{fresh rosemary in my sister's garden}

{wine--a necessity while cooking}
{Christmas dinner}
Ecuador also has some other culinary traditions, that are less to my liking. Certain towns are known as 'pork towns' and people come specifically there to chow down on the pigs roasting out on the street. If you pass through one of these towns you'll be surprised at the numerous people waving flags, shouting, and dancing in the street--no it's not carnival, they are trying to persuade you to dine in their temporary restaurant:
{pork sellers on the side of the street}
Another 'delicacy' is guinea pigs. I didn't try them, would you?


  1. Those guinea pigs are HILARIOUS. Paulina would be horrified though.

    Loving the girls' day out & ML in the fruittivendelo's stand!!

  2. Yes, can't wait for a 5 sisters reunion!