Mercado Tastings and Cuenca’s Epicurean Delights Program

or “Still Tourists after Eight Months”

I’m sure we will be tourists for a long time to come as there are so many things to learn and experience here in Cuenca.  AND we have several guests coming over the next few months so we will visit and revisit some significant sites in Cuenca and its surrounding area.  Stay tuned! We were so glad to be involved in one of the dress rehearsals for this tour conducted by friend Rick Duda and his company Experience Cuenca Ecuador (  In addition to the Mercado Tastings, several other tours are either up and running or in the works.  We look forward to those experiences as well.

Rick Duda, owner and guide of Experience Cuenca Ecuador

The focal point of this 3 1/2 hour walking tour was the “Mercado 10 de Agosto” in Cuenca’s El Centro (downtown).  Although not the largest market in the city, it has a lot of activity and variety with the advantage of being in the heart of the historic district. image image As this was a morning tour, we began with a refreshing cup of juice, followed by a breakfast of several typical Ecuadorian foods.

For 50 cents, Glenn had a large cup of fresh mora (blackberry) and pineapple juice. Mara had tamarind juice which, to her, was reminiscent of apple juice. Both were great!
This is an humita. It is a ground corn, egg, cheese, spices delicacy steamed in a corn husk. We love them!
Bolon de Verde – or Fried Green Plantain Balls
Ecuadorian style Tamales
Tortilla de Choclo – one of Glenn’s favorites – a slightly sweet pancake made from a type of white corn grown in the Andes.

image image After breakfast, we toured various stalls selling fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, coffee, sweets, seafood and herbs.

These women are selling and using herbs for indigenous medical practices.
various beans and corn
Mote – a variety of white corn grown in the Andes
Naranjillas and Tomates de Arbol
Tuna – not the fish – but rather a prickly pear
Naranjilla – makes a great juice
This vendedora was selling all sorts of nuts, grains, and sweets.

In addition to the Mercado 10 de Agosto, our tour took us to a coffee roaster/shop, a tienda selling honey roasted nuts, a convent in which the cloistered nuns sell wine and honey products, an Italian artisan cheese maker’s shop, the oldest drugstore in Cuenca, with the final stop being a centuries old church where the nuns still make bread and cookies to sell to the public.

Loja Coffee
Coffee grinder
The oldest drug store in Cuenca
The oldest bread oven in Cuenca in Todo Santos Church

17755285428_741fa7a5d3_o 17755327078_13d225732d_o               Of course, this blog post and these pictures do not do this tour justice.  If you live in Cuenca or will be visiting, check out this tour at and the others that Rick has. What we’ve learned:  Google images is my best friend (I needed it to help me remember the names of many of the fruits we saw.) What we need to learn:  To make sure our ipod/camera is fully charged before going on an outing.


9 thoughts on “Mercado Tastings and Cuenca’s Epicurean Delights Program

  1. Thank you so much, Greg & Mara! Such beautiful pictures and a wonderful narrative! I do want to go on this tour! I had read about this tour but had no real idea of how wonderful it must be until this feature on your blog! Thanks again for your gift of sharing!

    Gary & Joni

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Hi Gary and Joni, Glad you enjoyed the post. Rick’s newest tour is the old mansions turned into hotels tour. We haven’t gone on it yet but plan to. Hurry to Cuenca!


  2. Hi Mara and Glenn,

    Interesting pictures of all the food and markets! Is there any food there you can’t get which you miss? I hope you had a nice time on your recent trip.

    Cheers, Susan Talley


    1. Good Chinese and Thai food is not available here, at least in our opinion. Pretty much everything else is available but if it is imported, you pay for it because import taxes are high.


  3. Hi Mara and Glenn again,

    Your tortilla del choclo made me remember a dish I saw once on tv, which I looked up, and sounds very interesting, I wonder if you’ve had it there?: pastel del choclo, from Chile, it’s like a shepherd’s pie, with beef, olives, raisins, hard boiled eggs, then topped with a creamed corn/masa topping, then sprinkled with sugar and broiled! It sounds really good, as Mark and I love piccadillo empanadas with beef and raisins and olives, in fact, we ordered some from the local Cuban restaurant for our wedding reception.
    Susan Talley


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s