SAN CRISTOBAL, Bolivia – A group of women in the community of San Cristobal, in the southwestern Bolivia’s Potosi region, are preserving the local traditional dishes made with llama meat and offering them to residents.
The Jayula Warmis group, named after an ancient hill in San Cristobal, has brought over a dozen women together.
“We prepare the traditional dishes of the village, something that used to be a common custom but was lost over time,” group member Nelly Quispe told EFE.
Right from the start, the women were encouraged to take culinary lessons with the help of Spanish NGO Codespa and the San Cristobal mining company.
Quispe said that they are aiming to “recover the identity of the town” through its flavors, for which they created a cookbook with dozens of dishes, to preserve them.
Among the recipes is a soup called “kalapari” – made with llama meat broth, cooked corn and a little chili on top – and served with a hot stone in the bowl to keep it boiling while a person eats.
Quispe said her grandparents used to cook a type of “queque” (sponge cake) with flour and llama blood.
“Our grandparents used to tell us that nothing must go to waste, which explains these powerful recipes,” she said.
Another traditional dish is “yawar phari,” a sausage made with llama blood mixed with onions, quinoa and corn.
“I enjoy being part of the organization and preserving the town’s identity, but I am also learning new recipes to take advantage of the ingredients we have here,” said Quispe.
The chefs of two La Paz restaurants, Gustu and Jardin de Asia, along with biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society visited San Cristobal on a trip through the southern Bolivian highlands at the end of March to find rarely used ingredients.
Another goal of the “Wild Flavors” trip was to exchange knowledge with local chefs.
The women and chefs combined their ideas and ingredients to create original recipes.
Among the new creations was sauteed llama, made with the healing herbs that grow in the area such as “rica rica,” “suico” and “chachacoma.”
“This experience gave me new ideas about what I can do with these ingredients. I want to experiment and – for example – make suico ice cream or rice with chachacoma,” she said.