Gastronomy unites people and cultures. It’s the the most basic method of sharing—teaching us teamwork, reciprocity, and enjoyment in the delicious delicacies of each plate. Perhaps the world is wrought with tension in our modern age; but we are taking to take this month to celebrate diversity and fusion through the palate of Quito, Ecuador. Introducing you to the best offerings—from traditional to modern, local to international—we take pride in presenting you with a tasteful series of cuisine in our capital city.

To kick off our foodie month, featuring all things cuisine in Quito, we highlight the cultural/gastronomical fusion of Ecuador and France. Bon appetit and buen provecho!

Fantastically French

France takes pride in a long legacy of food excellence. From flaky croissants to to delicate snails to carefully-aged cheeses and more, its endless array of specialties makes it one of the world’s top culinary destinations. Its no wonder that French restaurants and bakeries have smashing success wherever they spill over into international markets, fusing their expertise with local products and techniques.

In Quito, Ecuador, this exciting combination is also enjoyed by locals and internationals alike. Full-immersion French restaurants scatter the valley, offering traditional dishes such as Tartare, Filet Mignon, Confit, and more. Likewise, lines of specialty bakeries and cafés re-create the baked goodness of France in these Andean hills.

Local Fusion, Worldwide Recognition

But the real gem of novelty is found in the few spaces that combine French delicacy with the fresh and unique flavors of Ecuador. From March 18-24th of this year, the French Embassy hosted an event worldwide, in which participating restaurants fused French inspiration into their specialized menus. The Goût de France 2019 challenge highlighted local chefs’ creativity, as well as French gastronomy’s worldwide importance (Presentación, 2019).

Quito was represented in the event by Chef Angel Valdivieso—local expert with world-wide experience, who was also named one of the country’s “Best Chefs” (Spicy, 2019). Angel is the executive chef at the Spicy Bistro, the specialty and high-class restaurant housed at the Hotel Mercure Alameda in Quito. However, he was born in the small, central-southern city of Riobamba, and raised by his mother and grandmother. They shared with him a strong appreciation for the power of good food, with his initial chef schooling being at home, over a wood fire. This learning, however, has since expanded to the most professional national and international platforms. Now, he has cooked and taught in a number of international delegations (Mercureautor, 2015).  However, his special upbringing combines the secrets of traditional and modern cuisines—always bringing a home-rooted and Ecuadorian taste to the diverse innovation of flavors he creates.

For the “Good France” festival of this year, Chef Valdivieso prepared an impressive menu of amuse bouche (sample appetizer), lamb, salmon, cheese selection, and pear accompaniment. The French Embassy marked its raving approval, as “exquisite dishes of national and international cuisine, perfectly combined with a wide offering of wines” (Spicy, 2019). The combination of France and Ecuador—in both the event and the cuisine itself—truly represents an international collaboration that breaks barriers and builds teamwork.

Continuing the Synergetic Excellence

But, if you’re visiting Quito, Ecuador, and are bummed about missing this French-inspired culinary event, don’t lost hope yet! Chef Angel continues to provide the best cuisine from his kitchen, and often carries on the synergetic combination of France and Ecuador. The Spicy Bistro forms an “elegant ambiance” to provide the best combination of local and international food—whether it’s time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, for those looking to grab a quicker, more informal option—at the same uncompromising quality—Chef Angel’s Alameda Q offers “the very best French pastries and baked goods,” “light lunch,” or full lunch option (Restaurant, 2019). French culinary inspiration is accessible in Ecuador, with its influence being creatively fused with the specialties of Quito. Innovation doesn’t have to come at the price of traditional culture; in Quito, Ecuador, in fact, the diversity only re-enforces it.

Stay Tuned: What’s Coming Next Week in “Food in Quito, Ecuador, Part 2” 

If you even mention “Fanesca” to any Ecuadorian, get ready for a story to be told. This traditional soup has a history as old as memory dates, and is lived year after year during the March/April week of Easter (“Semana Santa,” as it’s locally called). Each region has its own method of preparing the Fanesca, and each family believes its version to be the best. What are the stories and secrets behind this delicious local stew? Stay tuned as we explore its variety, its history, and its tastes, in our next edition of Quito’s culinary adventure.

 

 

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Author: Shannon Cantor

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