Who knew there was such a huge variety of potatoes? I didn't.
Rainbow Of Potatoes Color S. American Meals
UPDATED: 6:12 am PDT May 6, 2008
Mary Stucky, Contributing Writer
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Nowhere is the lowly potato more revered than in the Andes of South America. This is where potatoes originated. In just two countries -- Peru and Bolivia -- there some 10,000 different varieties of potatoes, in colors ranging from green to black to pink. Each has a unique taste and culinary purpose.
In Cochambamba, Bolivia, the market is a vast labyrinth of vendors and their wares. There are potatoes everywhere. Indian women in pretty straw hats sit beside colorful hand-woven blankets piled with what can only be described as mountains of potatoes.
They eat potatoes at every meal, but they're not bored. In the Andes, potatoes come in amazing variety. Some soups require three different types.
Maxima points out a potato she calls papa (potato) huayco. This potato is so purple it's almost black. Beside the papa huayco are huge baskets of brightly colored papa lisas, shocking orange with pink spots. There are potatoes that look like small brown rocks -- they're called chuno and grow at extremely high altitudes. Chuno is freeze-dried using an ancient process and can last for years.
Now a new culinary movement called Nuevo Andino has sprung up to take advantage of all this variety. Classically trained chefs are combining native ingredients with modern techniques. For example: blue mashed potatoes.
This article is provided by Round Earth Productions, an independent production company that provides in-depth global reporting for radio, print, television and web distribution. Major funding for this story came from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit roundearthproductions.org.
I know the few varieties I see at the grocery story but I think I need to look more closely and see if any of the types they talk about in this article are here. Sounds interesting, I would like to try some of these different varieties.