Northern Ecuador is a verdant land of rolling hills, towering volcanoes, strong cultural identity and skilful craftspeople. It's a region of rewarding explorations, where visitors can marvel at the majesty of the Andes, meet local people and take home beautiful crafts. Combine these elements with the country's rich, diverse but as yet unsung cuisine and you have the elements of a fascinating and rewarding journey.
With this in mind, Metropolitan Touring has developed a full-day hands-on experience of the northern Andes, with the added twist of an encounter with the colours and flavours of Ecuadorian cuisine.
Depart Ecuador's capital city, Quito, for a very scenic drive through, down and round the Andes to the famous town of Otavalo - well-known as a cultural and handcraft centre, surrounded by volcanoes, rivers and lakes. The people of Otavalo are friendly and welcoming, and rank among the most successful indigenous groups on the continent.
Although the itinerary can include time at their famous handcraft market, where eye-catching textiles predominate, the main focus of our visit is on local cuisine and ingredients in the nearby 'municipal' market - where all the Otavalos make a stop to eat when they come with their wares to the market (sorry, no tasting here!), where one can enjoy the aromas of home cooking and dozens of spices. Here, guests can get an idea of the stunning range of produce available in Ecuador, a result of the country's numerous climates and ecosystems: one can find ingredients from the tropical lowlands up to the frigid highlands - from bananas to blackberries!
From the market, a short drive leads to a very special setting, a 17th Century Andean estate, where a chef will be waiting to walk guests through the preparation of a tasty, traditional Ecuadorian lunch. Guests will prepare their own grilled trout, that come from nearby Andean rivers and farms, empanadas (turnovers stuffed with a variety of ingredients), to end with a famous helado de paila for dessert (ice cream made in the traditional way by hand with pure fruit juice). All this is washed down with a glass of wine - Salud!
On the way back to Quito, the itinerary visits the showroom of a rose plantation - Ecuador is regarded as growing the world's most beautiful varieties: an explosion of colours and aromas throughout the farm as visitors learn how roses are grown, packaged, and shipped.
Our new itinerary is a rewarding day, full of Andean landscapes, cultural interest, vivid colours and intense flavours!
What's special about this journey?
- You get to cook! It's an interactive experience with your own professional chef who will show you how and let you get your hands on!
- You learn about traditional, Ecuadorian cooking and its ingredients.
- A special setting, in the hacienda's grounds, will be prepared for guests for the cooking session.
- Enjoy an ice cream like you've never tasted before!
- You will have lunch in a 17th-century Andean estate.
- You will visit the food market in Otavalo to learn more about our culinary traditions and food products (a short visit to the regular market is also possible)
- You will visit the most famous Ecuadorian Andean region and cultural centre, Otavalo.
- Complement your visit to the region by getting access to one of the most exclusive show rooms for a close up of the finest Ecuadorian roses.
- Meet the people, live the experience, taste the flavours
- Enjoy a fun day of scenery, and intense colours, a short distance from Quito.
Take a look of this experience at: http://www.flickr.com//photos/metropolitantouring/sets/72157627115392762/show/
Please follow this link http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=3733 for more information.