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Kalapurka, the Bolivian Andean soup with volcanic stone and llama meat

La Paz, Nov 10 (EFE) .- The Bolivian authorities organized this Thursday a kalapurka tasting, an energizing Bolivian soup made with corn flour, llama meat and a hot volcanic stone, to promote the consumption of camelid products and commemorate the anniversary of the revolt in Potosí against the Spanish colony. The initiative was promoted in La Paz by the Pro-Camelidae Program of the Ministry of Rural Development and Lands, which invited the Ancestral Gastronomic Center “A Toda Llama” for a demonstration of the final steps to serve this dish, typical of the Andean region of Potosi. “We want to adhere to this anniversary of the department of Potosí by making this demonstration of the kalapurka plating,” a very traditional dish from that region, the national coordinator of the Pro-Camelidae Program, Roberto Bonifacio, told EFE. Kalapurka in Quechua or kalapari in Aymara means hot stone, explained to EFE the chef of “A todo llama”, Sixto Icuña. “The dish we are preparing is very typical of the Andes of Bolivia, it is a pre-Columbian dish that is still offered in the communities,” he said. The bottom of the soup is prepared with a “charque caldito”, that is, a dehydrated llama meat and bone broth, corn flour and some cooked vegetables, Icuña said. Once ready, the chef serves it in a clay dish and tops it with some French fries, fried llama jerky, finely chopped Andean aromatic herbs, quinoa flakes and a little spicy sauce made with local peppers. . The star of the dish is the volcanic stone that is placed in the soup after heating it for a few minutes on an ember, which causes the mixture to bubble. “The idea is that this volcanic stone can energize us. We are stressed here in city life, so with this we have to energize ourselves,” Icuña said. The stones that “A todo llama” uses in the preparation were obtained on the slopes of Sajama, an extinct volcano located near the border with Chile and which, at 6,542 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain in Bolivia. THE CAMELIDS Outside the stone, the chef highlighted the benefits of llama meat, which “is more nutritious, has a greater amount of protein”, more iron and “zero percent cholesterol” compared to other red meats. Precisely another objective of the demonstration was to show “transformed products based on llama meat” and comment on the activities that the Pro-Camelidae Program carries out in favor of small producers, Bonifacio said. It is estimated that there are about 4.5 million llamas and alpacas in the country, which places it as the main producer of these animals in South America, he added. The objective of the state program is to strengthen small producers with technology and facilities so that they can “reduce their production costs and have more income.” For this year there is a budget equivalent to some 4.9 million dollars, which is invested mainly in La Paz, Oruro and Potosí, the main camelid-producing departments located in the western and Andean part of Bolivia. According to Bonifacio, there are other regions called “minor”, which are Cochabamba, Tarija and Chuquisaca where some activities have also been developed. He also received requests for advice in the municipality of Pailón, in the eastern region of Santa Cruz, with a warm climate, where there are already experiences of raising camelids, he explained. Bonifacio stressed that llamas and alpacas are very resilient animals and “adaptable” to different ecological levels and even to climate change, since these species can survive up to two days without drinking water in those areas where the element is scarce. The support to producers from the program includes technical assistance and the implementation of adequate infrastructures for the management of camelid livestock, among which Bonifacio mentioned the fences for the recovery of meadows, pens to protect from predators or to produce fodder. Photovoltaic water extraction systems were also implemented to guarantee the liquid for the animals and “llamawasis” or maternities to protect them from “extreme weather conditions”. In addition, the development of business plans for the transformation of llama and alpaca fiber and meat is supported, in order to give added value to these raw materials. (c) EFE Agency

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