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A Bolivian food column from tropical to temperate to alpine

“Most people think that Bolivia is a cold country because of the Andean Mountains, but it's actually mixed: In the Andes, it's really cold, but in the east, it's hot, and in the middle it’s temperate.”

Where are you from?
“From Santa Cruz. We have tropical weather like Brazil because we are in the heart of South America. We don't have the ocean, but we have big rivers.”

“Another thing people don't know is that we had a lot of immigration in the 1900s. They arrived from Italy, Spain, Germany, and Croatia, so there is a lot of diversity in the east part of Bolivia.”

Is there something about Bolivia you’re particularly proud of or really like?
“The food! The food is amazing! There are salteñas, like a kind of empanadas, a mixture of meat, potatoes and a little bit of sweet juice inside. Usually you eat it in the middle of the morning like a snack. We have good quality meat because the cows eat only grass. We also produce a lot of cheese so it is very rich food. In the middle of Bolivia, there's a lot of agriculture, like fruit, vegetables, and crops, because the weather is temperate. In the East, we have more potatoes and quinoa. In the beginning, quinoa and potatoes came from Bolivia and they took the seeds to produce them in Ecuador and other countries with higher altitudes. Then the Spanish people brought the potatoes to Europe. Actually, we have hundreds of types of potatoes in Bolivia, with different colours, sizes, types. We have potatoes that are dried, the name is chuño, it has a wonderful taste. With globalisation, the big companies only produce one type, but in the producing countries we have a lot of variety. If you go to a big market, not a supermarket, but a big market that's accessible for all the people because it's cheap, they arrive with big trucks with many sizes of onions, corn, potatoes and there's so much diversity. You have a lot of choices.”

Anything else you want us to know?
“Here, you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in Bolivia, you have many types of lunches and in the middle of breakfast and lunch, you have a snack. You’d think people are obese, but actually you have very healthy food, like little salty pastries.” “We produce a lot of meals with maniok, corn, mixed with cheese, and we have plantains for breakfast, they’re like big bananas. We have a very rich gastronomy, for example peanut soup with lots of protein.” “Everyone loves Bolivian food even though not many people try it because Bolivia isn't a very well-known country. Whenever friends come to our house and they try my mum's amazing food they love it because she's a real chef, and they want to come here and eat it again.”

“I found Bolivian chocolate in Føtex! There is a Danish guy who brings the seeds from Bolivia and he produces here. He has the best chocolate in Denmark. They come from a special island in Bolivia, They pick up all the seeds when the raining period stops and you can have access to this place. It's a wonderful chocolate, but very expensive. It's organic because it grows in the middle of nowhere. It's very rich.

Thank you to Sophia and Aksah, Grade 3 and 5, and their mother for sharing all these mouth-watering facts about Bolivia with us. In the photo, you can see a plate with salteñas, cuñape and cheese empanadas. Looks delicious, right?

You may want to read our other interviews with students from Argentina, Colombia, Cyprus, France, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.