The biological mega-diversity of Ecuador transcends its many ethnic groups and their traditional cooking styles.
In Ecuador we can find one of the largest variety of soups in the world. For their preparation, a great amount of products is normally used among which we count the quinoa, maize, barley, green plantain, different varieties of beans, manioc or potatoes considered as king of tubers. These items when cooked together with different kinds of meat or fish or simply using dairy products and a great variety of legumes, fruits or vegetables can be deliciously combined to produce nutritious, tasty soups.
The chroniclers from the time of the Spanish Conquest tell us about a dish prepared by the Indians of the “Puna Island” in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Province of El Oro where fish was “cooked” or marinated in a lemon juice. This special variety of lemon grows in the coastal region and the dish is known at present times as Ceviche. This typical dish has spread to other coastal provinces and can be prepared in many different ways using different types of seafood as its main ingredient.
The various geographical zones and climates allow the production of native fruits and vegetables in addition to the exotic plants introduced by the Conquistadores. Certain fruits are restricted to small areas such as Naranjilla, a juicy tart orange coloured fruit in the family of tomato that only grows in the surroundings of the Cloud Forests on the slopes of the Andes. The great diversity and contrasts of the Ecuadorian cuisine is the result of merging the local products of the traditional cooking styles under the influence of the outside world.
This tour takes you through various regions of Ecuador where you will sample the typical foods and dishes of those areas. The journey begins with historic city and market tours of Quito. In Imbabura province guests sample bizcochos con queso de hoja (biscuits and cheese rolls) in Cayambe, are introduced to the role of the guinea pig in dining history and visit a cheese factory. Agricultural enterprises are explored between the Ecuadorian highlands and the coastal area to San Lorenzo. A visit to Pedernales embraces a traditional cebiche manabita before a stop at the fishing village of Puerto Lopez where breakfast will include bolones de verde (plantain dumplings). On another day after a typical Guayaquilanian lunch the tour moves into the southern highlands to Cuenca, Ecuador's most beautiful historical city, for tours of the famous Gualaceo food market.
There is the option of going on to Galapagos on board one of our vessels… there you have a chance to savor all the dishes from all the regions. The grand summary of it all (this will add 8 more days to the journey).
Durarion: 9 days / 8 nights, with option of Galapagos extension
Highlights: regional food and dishes, Ecuadorian countryside
Price: From $1,718 per person double occupancy for two people to $902 for tours with more guests