by Fernando Polanco Plaza
For the Plaza family, eating richly is one of the most important things in life. For us, craziness is summarized by people obsessed over the connection between what they eat and their weight or health – eating for us has always been associated with the richness of what the Hacienda produces, season to season, a reward for our hard labor, and should be enjoyed as such.
The house recipes of Hacienda Zuleta have been passed down from generation to generation, delicious recipes that until today are favorites of the Plaza family. These dishes continue to be served with the love and enthusiasm shown by Mamita Osayo, our grandmother, when she used to welcome her children and grandchildren to the Hacienda during weekends or over summer holidays. Fresh blackberries smothered in rich cream, flan de leche, the inevitable quinoa soup, arroz de cebada, broccoli pudding, la fritada….delicious memories.
One of the most celebrated and contentious recipes of the Plaza family and Hacienda Zuleta is “Torta de Arroz”, which was published in Food and Wine magazine, after we had opened our doors to tourism and years after Mamita Osayo passed away. She would roll over in her grave with embarrassment to learn that this recipe, out of all of them, was selected by a visiting food critic for publication in such an esteemed international magazine! For “Torta de Arroz” was invented by Cotito, a past cook at the Hacienda, who absolutely hated to see uneaten food from lunch wasted. Cotito created this recipe from leftovers, a combination of chicken, rice and cheese baked like a soufflé and served with chili and sugar.
Virtually everything gracing our table comes fresh from Zuleta’s organic gardens and rich farmland and is carefully prepared by hand. Fresh milk and cream from Zuleta’s dairy cows are prepared daily. Handmade Ecuadorian cheeses are produced from the farm’s fresh milk and carefully crafted in the small factory near the guesthouse.
Rainbow trout are caught from our crystalline pools moments before being grilled or baked. Freshly churned butter melts over warm bread baked from wheat harvested on the Hacienda. Fresh organic fruit and vegetables are picked from the expansive gardens to make unforgettable salads and freshly squeezed juices.
Guests staying with us at Hacienda Zuleta today are served these enduring family recipes with the same love and enthusiasm shown by Mamita Osayo. Fresh organic ingredients produced on our farm, a perfect combination of flavors and history prepared and served in a homestyle fashion, by a typical Ecuadorian family.
Buen Provecho, Bon Appetit, Eat Well-
Special note: Fernando Polanco Plaza is the General Manager at Hacienda Zuleta. Often he will be the one to join you in front of the fireplace to welcome you to his family home that represents four centuries of Ecuadorian History seeped in Pre-Colombian, Spanish and Ecuadorian history. To taste the family traditions your self we recommend that you enjoy a few days at Hacienda Z!
Photos courtesy of Hacienda Zuleta.