Making the Chipa

Trip Start Feb 07, 2006
Trip End Aug 07, 2006

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Saturday, February 11, 2006

Make sure to check out Andrea's Travel Blog for more stories and photos of our trip!

Day 2 - Chipa time

It was a typically hot and sticky day which we started off by making bread, but not just any bread, Chipa!

Years back, Fabiola had sent us a letter saying that there were making the "Chipa" for Easter. Ever since we've been dying to know what Chipa was.

Not only did we now know what it was but we knew how to make it! Chipa & Sopa Paraguay are two local breads which are very popular. Chipa reminds me of a cheesy type of bagel and is pretty yummy although very filling.

We all gathered in Fabiola's yard and began the long process of making Chipa.

First we broke up the hard Paraguayan cheese into small bits. Then we mixed in all of the ingredients into a large plastic tub. Then came the hard part, kneading the tough dough. The process took several hours and Anna, a local Plan employee did a good job helping us as we attempted to knead the big tub of dough.

When it was finally ready we balled the dough into small pieced and placed them on small pieces of palm leaves which where cut out from long green palm leaves.

The kids helped out but mostly they bounced around us singing "Chipa! Chipa! Chipa!" as they let loose their energy.

The cooking process was an interesting one. In a small 3 foot high traditional oven there had been a fire burning for a few hours.

The oven was a small, hollow mound of bricks which formed a rounded half pod with a small opening on the ground. It was rarely used these days do to it's long cooking process.

Once the oven was hot enough, the fire within it was extinguished and the coals where removed from it. The bricks were now so hot that they could cook just about anything.

In went the Chipa where it sat for a while after closing the opening by stuffing it with fresh green leaves.

When it was all done, the small but heavy, breads where ready to eat.

To be honest they were little dry and too hard for my liking but considering the conditions and tools we had to cook it with, they weren't so bad!

The great Paraguayan horse race

When you think horse race, what you think of is a little different that what we experienced in Paraguay.

The horse track, 3 small dirt paths next to Fabiola's home, was buzzing with locals, and we were ready to see a show.

We'd walked out to the middle of the track and before I could finish paying for a beer which we'd bought for Fabiola's mother, two horses had already started roaring down the track! I scrambled for my camera and snapped a few shots.

In the span of 10 seconds, the race was over!

"It'll take a few hours before the next horses are ready, we should go home" Augusto suggested.

What? A few hours? We had just arrived!

Augusto explained that the way it worked was that the locals would bring their horses to the track and just lounge around. Eventually, two Paraguayans would taunt each other enough to "pick a fight" as it were.

Not a real fight but, a race. Then the two would race while the locals bet on the winners.

It would end in a few seconds and the process would start over again.

Waiting in the heat for a few hours to see a 10 second race didn't sound that appealing so we packed up and headed back home.
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