Last week some friends and I visited the (relatively) new Museo de la Gastronomia in Challuabamba, fifteen to twenty minutes from Cuenca. What a treat. This is a living history museum, where various areas outdoor and rooms inside show all kinds of different aspects of food and cooking in Ecuador.
We were introduced to a variety of trees (fig and black walnut for example), shrubs (coffee) and herbs, got to try our hands at a slingshot, blowing a conch shell and a cattle horn, helping to make cheese by stirring and straining, kneading flour, are offered the chance to chop wood for the outdoor oven, smashed walnuts, had our pictures taken in various settings in various costumes, were fed a number of tasty snacks and drinks as we proceeded through the exhibits, and just generally had a grand old time.
Miguel, our very knowledgeable and friendly guide, has a number of degrees from Germany and Ecuador and is working on his Ph.D. He was able to answer all of our questions. Even though one of our number has little Spanish and the other two, merely functional Spanish, our communication was just fine, especially with the help of Siri.
After the tour we enjoyed lunch with typical Ecuadorian dishes made with many of the plants, herbs and utensils we had seen on our tour. A pitcher and ewer were brought for us to wash our hands, and cloth napkins provided to dry them. Garlic pesto was prepared at our table in a hollowed out stone bowl with a round stone grinder. The shared dessert was served on a cactus leaf, and included many yummy things, including a eucalyptus sorbet that would have been at home in an upscale restaurant in Manhattan.
The people involved with this strive to make the whole thing, including lunch, an experience, not just a passive visit.
It was explained to us in advance that the length of the event depends to some extent on you – how involved you become with the exhibits. Our trip door to door took about six hours, but it flew by. You are welcome to go just for lunch if you prefer to skip the museum tour, but that would frankly be a shame. You’d miss out on a great deal of fun.
Communication in advance was excellent via WhatsApp, which also allowed for the location map to be shared with our taxi driver. You can also book through the Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/museorestaurantecuenca/
I hope you consider a visit, and supporting this excellent addition to the Cuenca cultural scene.
Address: Calle Pueblos de los Quitus, Cuenca (Challuabamba), EC
Contact information: 099 250 7774
Recommended by Heather Griffiths: email@example.com