When we left the Ikat facility we drove to the town of Gualaceo about 22 miles east and south of Cuenca. Around the typical town square there were examples of very early colonial period wood and white washed adobe structures. Balconies and the support by hardwoods were the main feature of most of the buildings fronting the square.
Like every small town and village we visited, this community also had an active market in the
central square known for its handicrafts. The unique feature of this market is also its emphasis on prepared food. There was a very large, multiple level food court. As we may have mentioned, this was a "carnival" day and the people were soaked from the custom from Spain of throwing water. I don't know why. Many people were inside the food court for something hot to eat and drink.
In the two pics above, whole pigs have been slow roasted over hot coals for no less than thirteen hours. After they are fully cooked, they are placed on heavy stays, or racks for carving. The carved meals is placed in a skillet for a quick heating and then served to the customer.
(Added by Nancy: We watched the women make those 'dumplings' in the skillet. First, the cooked potatoes are mashed and mixed with seasonings/herbs. Then, they are fried in the pork fat for 'added flavor'... seemed to be a fave of the locals.)
Below, tortillas are being prepared on a concave, heavy lron skillet. The heat is distributed evenly. But these are not the American/Mexican tortilla we know. These are more like pancakes, the dough prepared with many whole grains, including whole corn- Sometimes cheese. Great, clean wholesome taste. Especially when you are cold as hell. Served with these
tortillas is a hot milk drink. It is brought to a near boiling points and thickened with a mixture of fine grains, together with cinnamon, rasins and sugar (and more stuff we can't remember.)
Good tasting, great for type 2 diabetics.
Guinea pigs ("cuy") roasting on a open fire, da da da - kinda reminds you of Christmas.
(Added by Nancy: Cuys are NOT rodents, according to Carlos... they only eat alfalfa and not garbage.)
It was now late in the afternoon, we made one more stop in the village of Chordeleg. Jewelry.
This is a gold and silver producing district.
We returned to Cuenca happily. A great day. It was Nancy's Birthday and the staff of the Hotel
did their best to sing happy birthday, in English! We helped as we had finished a great bottle of Luegi Boca Cab. All the other guests joined in.