To be honest, if we want a good dessert — especially a good slice of cake or a good piece of pastry — we have to hunt. Once in a while we’ll come across an Ecuadorian cafe or bakery that meets our North American tastes, or we’ll find a foreign-owned bakery, coffee shop or restaurant, in either Ibarra, Cotacachi or Otavalo.
In the larger cities, such as Quito, Cuenca or Manta, when our sweet tooth comes calling, the hunt is not daunting. Plus, we can usually count on the chains to tempt us: Crema y Dulce, Sweet & Coffee, Coffee Tree, Juan Valdez, to name just a few. In the tourist spots, like Mariscal, and the commercial center of Quito, we have come across quite a few luscious treats, including one very memorable cheesecake–from where I can’t remember!
Although, to be totally fair, there are some cakes and other treats to be found in Imbabura in it’s endless array of panaderias or bakeries that are pretty decent. For example, the Boemios — round chocolate cakes topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Those delicious moist little cakes can be found up and down this region, in particular. And believe me, a moist cake in this region is pretty difficult to come by, even though they all look so heavenly — you just can’t judge a cake by its cover.
One friend who lives near Cotacachi, took several Boemios out of her freezer and said, “Here, you have got to try these, they’re actually US good!” And now I’m hooked, and, they’re not too sweet either. My husband, on the other hand, has his own favorites and it’s usually something fruit based.
One thing that we can praise up one side and down the other, is the ice cream! Some places make better ice cream than other places, but as a whole, there is good ice cream to be had in Imbabura and Ecuador.
Here in little Atuntaqui, there are many ice cream shops. These ice cream shops also serve fresh fruit salads — a bowl of fresh fruit, topped with lots of cream, a scoop or two of ice cream, with a shaving of cheese flakes (it looks like coconut but it’s not), a drizzle of syrup, and a wafer cookie. Very refreshing.
And from Cuenca, I sure do miss this (below) — from a vegetarian restaurant, called El Nuevo Paraiso:
Sugar in Ecuador is most certainly plentiful. There’s brown sugar in a bag, brown sugar in the form of a brick, there’s raw sugar, powdered sugar, whole sugar cane, sugar cane juice, and of course, white sugar. The white sugar is coarser than in the States, and some say it is sweeter. There’s also corn syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, and lots of honey.
There is also plenty of powdered stevia.