Trip to Ibarra, La Ciudad Blanca: A culinary and cultural adventure
Since I was little, because my grandmother lived in Ibarra for a long period of time, I learned a quite a bit about where the best places to eat. The city of Ibarra “La Ciudad Blanca” is located 100km north from Quito. It is a nice and warm city, formerly famous for its cobbled stone streets that unfortunately were removed and replaced by pavement less than ten years ago.
This saturday I had a family trip to Ibarra to visit family (some grand-aunt that I didn´t even knew I had). It was fun to see two old ladies sharing stories that happened 50 years ago. And of course to eat the traditional dishes that I’d learned about as a little kid.
We visited the Ibarra farmers market. You can find shoes, clothes, food, live animals, vegetables, meat, or needles. Literally everything from a needle to a cow. There we ate the traditional hornado, a delicious dish with pork meat served with mote, mashed potatoes and a sweet ad sour vegetable salad.
In the same place, we meet an old friend that prepared “chocobananas” (frozen banana covered with chocolate) for us. I was very happy about that because it was something that I haven’t eaten for maybe 15 years. Eating chocobananas brought me back to my childhood. Actually when I was little I didn´t like that, but this time I found it delicious.
After the main course, we drove to the center of the city to have the traditional “helado de paila”, an ice cream prepared with only fruit juice in a big bronze pan over a bed of ice over a bed of grass, it was delicious!, there are many different flavors from local fruits.
Before leaving Ibarra we stop to buy sugar cane (cañas) that you chew, hard to eat but delicious, it is like a snack when you are in the car.