What better way to explore a region rich in biodiversity than to savor the sumptuous range of Andean and Amazonian foods along with adventurous chef Valentine Warner? Val will accompany us on a culinary journey of discovery from the peaks of the Andes down to the headwaters of the Amazon to savor the dishes of the Amazonian elders, perfected during milenia spent living in the forest. Together we will encounter new experiences, new flavors, and new dishes, nurturing along the way a new understanding of the primordial cook pots and communal fire pits of Amazonia.
With his characteristic energy, warmth, and humor and over 350 varieties of potatoes to choose from, Val will join local chefs, providing culinary insight and serving as a conduit to deliciousness. This memorable journey will take us from the highland grains of quinoa and amaranto, to the Amazonian staples of chicha de yucca (manioc beer), maito (river fish wrapped in leaves and smoked over a wood fire) and--for the adventurous--chontacuros (fat, delicious palm grubs!)
In Quito, we will visit traditional food markets with their vibrant bounty of local spices, healing herbs, fruits, and vegetables and savor a variety of cooking chocolates at República del Cacao.
In the cloud forest at Cabañas San Isidro, we will play with a colorful range of Andean and Amazonian ingredients in afternoon cooking classes and in the evening savor the Flavors of the Andes and Amazon gourmet tasting menu.
During our visit to the rainforest at Mandari Panga in Yasuni, we will explore Amazonian cuisine with community leader and chef Alicia Illanes, recognized in Ecuador and at the COP21 in Paris for her groundbreaking work promoting ancestral kitchens using locally grown, organic ingredients.
A highlight of our trip will include sharing a traditional Amazonian meal prepared on an open fire in the middle of the forest.