The first time I visited Ecuador I fell completely in love.
The vibrant green mountains, the gracious people and the food…oh, the food! I recently went back to check on the progress of our farmers and reconnect with our team there (we have five amazing souls there – fives suns?!).
As always, it was a magical experience full of learning and connecting. I got to meet some of the special folks helping us make this happen as well as new faces who are excited about the possibility of helping their homeland get this amazing food out to the rest of the world. One of them was named Juan Pablo, a once multi-generational farmer who was over the moon about helping his farming co-op in the North move from strictly producing dairy to a more plant-based output. He had the best smile!
The many stages of chocho! Form whole bean, to soaked, to powder. Five Suns Foods is a part of the process the entire way.
While I was there I also got to eat (ok, devour!) one of my favorite ancient chocho dishes that is completely vegan and is prepared in the same way they have for centuries. What they understood a very long time ago was that it was important to create a dish that could sustain them for a long period of time in a whole, nutrient-dense fashion. However, it wasn’t lost on them that they also wanted something delicious!
Don’t let this simple dish fool you...it is a savory dream come true: chocho, whole corn (the corn in Ecuador is a bit different than we have here in the US – so much better and not modified!), onion, garlic clove, and salt. It is cooked over a flame in a copper pot and stirred with a wooden spoon until the choch, as well as the corn,n are slightly crispy. I ate it warm from the pot and it literally felt like every euphoric childhood memory in a bowl. Plus, the planet’s highest plant based protein, rich in calcium as well as fiber and other regenerative nutrition - a mighty food.