“The guinea pig is a an extremely important old food in Andean aboriginal societies,” a scholar said, “so there is no factor to be amazed that Ecuadorians eat guinea pigs, also in ice cream.”

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A worker installs a banner cultivating "helado de cuy" or guinea pig ice cream, in Quito, Ecuador, ~ above Sept. 28, 2019.Dolores Ochoa / AP
QUITO, Ecuador — the a real ice cream flavor: guinea pig.

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Anyone that thinks the guinea pigs as pets — cute, squishy, squeaking bundles of hair — could find that idea hard to digest.


The rodents space a traditional hot dish in some Latin American countries, consisting of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. In Ecuador, world typically chef guinea pigs through salt and also serve them through potatoes and also peanut sauce. However one vendor is taking things to another gastronomic level, serving guinea pigs as a cold dessert.

Some world like ice cream cream make from “cuy,” together the animal is in your ar known.

“I was suspicious, but it was tasty,” stated Marlene Franco, a 78-year-old retiree that tried a scoop at a stall beside a highway linking the Ecuadorian resources of Quito come the city of Sangolqui.

The stall owner is María del Carmen Pilapaña, who offbeat giving inspires disbelief and laughter among first-time customers.


Maria del Carmen Pilapana offer a customer a scoop of guinea pig ice cream, on the suburbs of Quito, Ecuador, top top Sept. 28, 2019.Dolores Ochoa / AP

Pilapaña’s operation is small. It is composed of two tables in an open up area lined with dentists’ clinics and other businesses. Also so, demand is growing. Every week, the businessman prepares 150 servings ($1 because that a cone) of guinea pig ice cream cream.


She also makes 40 servings of ice cream flavored with beetles, also traditionally eaten as a braided snack, and a smaller amount of mushroom ice cream cream.


“My family and also my husband thought I was crazy. They didn’t think anyone would favor these ice cream creams, however now castle our key product,” said Pilapaña, that acknowledges that she had actually her very own doubts around whether her investment would certainly pay off.

It was a close call. Out of work, through three kids in tow, Pilapaña began attending totally free training courses for entrepreneurs. She was challenged to do something innovative and, after 6 months the testing, she started selling her variety of ice cream creams at the beginning of September.

Pilapaña manages to concentrate guinea pig flavor after cooking and preparing a pate from the animal’s flesh, adds milk or cream and also refrigerates the concoction till it has the turbulent consistency of ice cream. The taste is comparable to chicken.


Maria del Carmen Pilapana pours a passion fruit puree over a guinea pig pate in her kitchen top top the suburbs of Quito, Ecuador, on Sept. 28, 2019. Manages toDolores Ochoa / AP

The beetle and also mushroom ice cream creams encompass fruits such as pineapple and also passion fruit. Beetle ice cream has a slight aroma the wet earth.


Ants, cicadas and worms are offered to make some desserts, often chocolate-infused ones, in components of Latin America. But incorporating together ingredients, guinea pigs included, right into ice cream is unusual.

Carolina Páez, director of the sociology school of the Catholic university in Quito, no surprised.

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“The guinea pig is a an extremely important ancient food in Andean native societies, particularly for that high protein content,” she said. Other societies eat various species of animals, Páez said, “so there is no factor to be amazed the Ecuadorians eat guinea pigs, even in ice cream.”

For Pilapaña, guinea pig ice cream cream is simply the beginning. She has new flavors in mind: crab, chicken and pork.