There are so many things that I love about Ecuador. The country is a colorful tapestry of cultures, peoples, and languages that are spread over a diverse geographical area which encompasses the tropical jungles in the amazon, the snow capped mountains of the Andes, and the beautiful coastal beaches. Ecuador’s unique cultural flavor comes primarily from her indigenous peoples and their traditions. While there are over 17 distinct indigenous groups, the largest group is that of the Quichuas. There are many distinct groups of Quichuas, but all of them are known for their colorful clothing and beautiful Andean music. Some are farmers or artisans, others are businessmen or doctors. These descendants of the Inca Empire have left their unique fingerprints on the pages of South American history, and still provide the cultural richness that we can see, feel and taste in South America today.
I love the music of the Ecuadorian highlands. In the picture above I am playing a charango. It has 5 pairs of strings, is played like a mandolin and has a sound similar to the ukulele. The charango is one of the elements that give Andean music its unique sound. To hear some good Andean music click here.
Two foods that we have today that come from Ecuador are the potato and quinoa. You are probably very familiar with the myriad of ways to prepare the humble but delicious potato, but quinoa is a little known grain which is wonderfully nutritious and full of protein. Check out my recipe for quinoa and visit your local health food store to buy some of this South American super food.
¡Que viva Ecuador!