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Ecuadorian cuisine surprises with innovative ideas and Mejía, a canton known as the “Valley of the nine volcanoes,” leads the innovation in the development of products made out of “mortiño”, a type of Andean berry that grows in the moorlands.
At 3,600 masl, Hacienda Los Mortiños holds a extensive plantation of this highland’s fruit, which grows in small bushes very attached one to another. In Ecuador there are three species of mortiño, one endemic and two native. In addition, the strategic location of the hacienda allows you to admire the imposing volcanoes and snow-capped peaks around such us: Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Pasochoa and Sincholagua. Also, on a very clear day you can see the Cayambe, Puntas, Yanahurco and Cotocachi mountains.
An easy harvest
Harvesting mortiños is very easy: you must hold the branch firmly and make a smooth movement on a side to detach the fruits. That’s it! Often harvested in September and October. But harvesting mortiños is not the only available activity. There are also hiking trails and horseback ridings through the surroundings and for those looking for a relaxed stay a room with spectacular views is always ready.
The many sides of the wild fruit
The gastronomic tour at the Mortiño’s route will allow you to taste spectacular flavors and combinations. We met four ventures that serves the moorlands culinary delights. In Rincón de Carlitos, Pizzería Peperoni restaurant, Advanced Ice Cream and Miele Sweet, the palate can enjoy flavors into another level.
The Rincón de Carlitos restaurant, with 27 years on the market, serves countless recipes based on mortiño combined with the taste of trout, beef, grilled fish and other meats. The restaurant is located in the obelisk of Aloag, South Panamerican Road. On this site you may also found the “colada morada”, a beverage often drink on the All Soul’s Day.
The Pizzeria Peperoni restaurant offers a delicious pizza prepared with mortiño, its flavor will make you come back for more. Here, you’ll enjoy puff pastry pizzas and traditional dough, prepared with a delicious mozzarella cheese produced in the area. An innovative recipe that you will simply love.
And if you like ice cream, La Avanzada, offers the mortiño ice cream as one of its specialties. Located on kilometer 39 at the South Panamerican Road, the restaurant serves this sweet treat among many other flavors.
Honey, combined with mortiño and other ingredients, is a sweet delicacy. Miele Sweet has developed a new product the “Manjar of mortiño”. This treat will reach your palate in a very delicate way and will be an ideal gift and companion for your evening coffee.
When you taste Ecuadorian gastronomy you feel the flavors of tradition. Colada Morada, a beverage that unites the mortiño with sweet spices (clove; cinnamon flowers; sweet pepper and cinnamon); aromatic herbs (cedar, amaranth, lemon verbena, myrtle); oranges; sugar; vanilla extract and blackberry. Often consumed in November for All Soul’s Day.
Come to Mejía and fall in love with its landscapes, its gastronomy, its culture and history.