World Cooking – Venezuela

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Venezuela
Progress: 19/193

It is my hope on this rainy evening in August that, when this post is published next year, that there has been some sort of resolution to the current problems and food shortages facing the country of Venezuela. Like with my previous post making food from Yemen, it feels a bit off making food from a country that is currently experiencing so many problems. Hopefully things will be sorted soon.

As I previously mentioned in my post making food from Chad, the reason behind Venezuela being today’s country is my very lovely neighbour and her daughter. Since I gave them a slice of cake that I made for Uruguay, I have received special maize flour and a recipe to make arepas for when I get around to Venezuela – so I had to expedite things so that I would be able to thank them… and then share some more dessert as further thanks.

Just looking at the list of foods seen as Venezuelan reveals just how much the native pre-European food has survived and, in some cases, co-mingled with the cuisines of the Old World. My main course is an example of such a mixing… whereas the dessert is something that it very much influenced by the Spanish settlers.

Main: Arepa Reina Pepiada

As a food stuff, arepas are nearly as old as you can get. They have been made for centuries by the original residents of Venezuela and are still incredibly popular to this day. In this recipe, which translates to Curvy Queen arepas, we see this New World food filled with  chicken mayonnaise and avocado. Not hard to believe that this combination is incredibly popular – I mean, why wouldn’t it… it’s delicious.

Arepa are, in essence, a small round fried bread made from pre-cooked maize flour. They are similar to pupusa,  but instead of filling them and frying them arepas are fried and then split to be filled with whatever filling you desire. I cannot argue with the use of shredded chicken, mayonnaise, avocado, lime juice and mustard  when filling these arepas.

Tastewise it’s a slam dunk, but it’s the texture difference between the thin crispy layer of the outside of the arepa and the cool and squishy chicken and avocado salad. I still have half a bag of this special flour left, so I feel like I have license to try and make more arepas with different fillings.

Dessert: Bienmesabe

Right so it’s been a month since I last made an insane cake – so why not make one that was even more insane? That’s what happened with this cake (whose name means ‘it tastes good to me’) where I had to make sponge, a coconut custard, a rum-infused sugar syrup and a topping of Italian meringue. Note: I have never made Italian meringue before.

The name of this cake (recipe from The Spruce Eats) is pretty apt. It’s delicious and it looked so amazing when I first removed the protective cuff of my springform tin. The Italian meringue topping in particular looked glossy and gorgeous perched on top of the cake.

Given the amount of coconut custard, I was so nervous that it would collapse, luckily it did not. In fact, it appears to be structurally sound and has lasted in the fridge for a few days without toppling over. It took a very long time to make this, but with a result like this… it was time well spent.

Next time in my world cooking journey, I will be in Europe and sampling a dish that I first heard about from an episode of Archer. Any guesses of what I might be making?


Right, so time for an important addition to this post. Thanks to the lovage that I found yesterday this world cooking post has a very special significance:

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Food item: Arepa De Choclo
Progress: 751/751 – COMPLETE

I wasn’t planning to hit the next landmark of my 1001 food quest in such a way, but it’s pretty cool that this completion happens as part of my  world cooking challenge.

Now, I’ve posted previously that I know will probably never complete this list. Some of the things are no longer being made and others are either threatened or endangered… which means it would be incredibly irresponsible for me to go after them.

With 751 of these eaten, I am still going to try and eat as many of them as I can. So I think that will be the phrasing of the final phase of this challenge:

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possible
Progress: 751/1001

It will be interesting to see how far I get before, you know, the end of me. To mop up some of these final ones I will need to make special trips abroad and make some interesting substitutes along the way, but that’s half the fun of it.

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