One of the things that we here at Palace Tours love about Tren Ecuador and their trains, is that they are focused on helping the people of Ecuador- helping to create a better life through tourism.

A fantastic example of this is how the Train Cafes that are at each station stop are operated by locals. The locals involved donate their family recipes to create a truly authentic experience for tourists, while making a living and providing for their families and communities through working at these cafes.

Today we will share a special recipe from the El Boliche station, part of the Tren de los Volcanes route. In this particular station, 62 families benefit from the cafe as there are 17 staff members, and 45 vendors that supply ingredients from their farms for the food sold in the cafe. The Ecuadorian Railways gave all of the people involved proper training on how to run a business, so they could successfully run the cafes while fulfilling a life long dream of owning and managing their own businesses. The training and support they received, inspired them to start an association of their own called “Asociacion El Valle del Sunfo” in 2011 and that is the group that runs the cafe in El Boliche. The association was inspired and started by Liliana Toaquiza, who states that their mission now is to dedicate themselves to tourism and gastronomy- serving only the best quality food made with only local Andean products to visiting tourists.

This is the reason Ecuador is such a fantastic place to visit. It is as if they are welcoming you into their own home, greeting you as family as they share their history, culture, and customs with you.

Lunch Served by Local Indigenous Group- Yum!
Lunch Served by Local Indigenous Group- Yum!

Here is the recipe they use for Empanadas de Viento- a very popular Ecuadorian recipe where fried dough is filled with cheese and topped with sugar for a sweet and salty treat!

Ingredients:
– 1LB Flour
– 1 egg
– 1/2C grated cheese
– 1 Lemon
– 7 tbsp of butter
– 1/2C Water
– 1 tsp Salt
– 1 tsp baking powder
– Oil

Directions:
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and butter by hand until you have a greasy dough formed. Then add the egg, water, salt and lemon juice.
2. On a floured surface knead the dough mixture gently until you have an elastic dough, and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.
3. Separate the dough into small portions, forming a circular flat piece of dough, place cheese on top and fold in half, sealing the edges so the cheese is secured in the empanada.
4. Place the empanada in a pan to fry in the hot oil until brown and crispy.
5. Enjoy!

Empanada de Viento