Prologue Getting across Ecuador’s culinary and festival culture in a book is by no means an easy job, taking into account the biodiverse and multicultural nature of the country, not to mention its great wealth of foodstuffs. To choose what to include in the book, a Culinary Committee was formed and included representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Heritage, the Ecuadorian Association of Chefs and the Ecuadorian Culinary Academy. The input of the Ministry of Tourism was related to promoting Ecuadorian cuisine while the Ministry of Heritage approached the subject from the perspective of culture and national identity. Lastly, the Ecuadorian Association of Chefs and the Ecuadorian Culinary Academy provided advice on the country’s countless ingredients. The products, dishes, beverages and festivals of each province were chosen through various Committee meetings at which criteria were established for choosing recipes, such as the use of local ingredients from the province in question, the degree to which the food reflects the province’s identity and heritage, and the
application of the ancestral wisdom of the communities or current cultural practices in each locality. The products or foodstuffs chosen for each province reflect the generosity of the Ecuadorian soil and the unique flavours yielded by the country’s geography and biodiversity. Their use in the assortment of traditional dishes is a reflection of cultural practices, in both how the ingredients are grown and how the dishes are prepared, and is the basis of the country’s range of cuisine. The information comes from academic sources, public institutions, organizations specializing in culinary and cultural matters, research bodies, and experts with extensive experience in their field. This book reflects our wish to position Ecuadorian gastronomy both nationally and internationally, showing its wealth and the cultural setting in which each dish originates. It is an invitation to get to know Ecuadorian culture and be initiated into the secrets hidden in the kitchens of this country in the middle of the world.