EATING THE BOLIVIAN WAY I
After many hours of searching the Internet for quality Bolivian cuisine and preparation, I've decided that my friends and customers in other countries would enjoy a real understanding of our Bolivian dining habits and culture.
Bolivian breakfast usually consists of coffee, tea, milk or café con leche, sided by fresh bread or marraqueta with some jam, butter, cheese, a piece of quesillo and sometimes eggs.
During the cold winter mornings (Oruro’s average temperature is 9C all year long ) there is nothing better than hot milk with a bar or two of Chocolate Harasic melting smoothly , but is best with some “Ferrari Ghezzy” cookies, Chocolitas were my favorite but an assortment of galletas Ferrari are part of Bolivian’s pantries. Avena con Leche and Arroz con Leche are my kids favorite options but it has to be prepared properly (recipe next week).
For the weekends, api and pasteles de queso or buñuelos are the best option before or after church, depending upon how late you were able to go to bed the night before. The native ladies that sell them at the open market (Mercado Fermin Lopez o Campero) and the ones by the church (Iglesia del Socavon) in Oruro have a special flavor that is very hard to copy at home; Tojori is also a local’s favorite with or without milk, they sell it as an option for Api.
It’s easy to observe Natives, Criollos and European Descendents seated at the same table sharing powder sugar to sprinkle over the pasteles at the regional markets, drinking Api from a tutuma …. Well, it just tastes different...
Many people take a mid-morning break to eat salteñas that are a national dish (boy, how I miss them!) They are pockets of pastry filled with beef, chicken or fricase, peas and carrots, potatoes, onions, olives, raisins and pieces of eggs. I tried to get some in the US but I didn’t get that lucky!
Los Castores in Cochabamba used to be my favorite place to eat salteñas when I was in college in the early 90’s and La Casona in Oruro always kept a consistent flavor. Other delicious options: Rellenos de la calle Lanza (Cochabamba) or Mercado Campero (Oruro) with lots of LLajua also Empanadas Tucumanas that are a fried variety of salteñas.
I almost forgot about sandwich de chorizo, also great for a mid-morning dish, Sucre (Capital of Bolivia) is famous for them but the ones in “La Rancheria” in Oruro are just delicious! Get some refresco de moconchinchi to go with them and your tummy will be thankful!
Next week on eating the Bolivian way……. Lunch
Café con leche: coffee with evaporated milk, Marraqueta: Italian style bread.Quesillo: white, mild cheese made by rural people, Chocolate Harasic: Oruro’s typical and best pure chocolate, Galletas: crackers, cookies, biscuits, bread rolls ; Avena con Leche: Bolivian oatmeal pudding, Arroz con Leche: Bolivian Rice Pudding, Api: drink made from powdered corn & cinnamon, served warm; color varies according to the kind of corn used, Pasteles de Queso: fried pastries with cheese and sprinkled sugar, Buñuelos, fried pastries with honey or sugar cane syrup, Tojori: thick porridge of black corn, milk, and cinnamon,Criollo: person with mixed background, Tutuma: gourd bowl, Rellenos: stuffed potatoes with meat or cheese, LLajua: hot, spicy Bolivian sauce made with Locotos, Chorizo: cured pork sausage, seasoned with paprika and garlic, Refresco de moconchinchi: soft drink made out dried peaches, Locotos: Bolivian hot chili pepper