I'm sitting here savoring a plate of Parrano and sharp cheddar cheese with fruit and crackers. That may not seem like a big deal because you don't realize that cheese in Ecuador pretty much sucks. Oh, we have plastic packages in the grocery store with names like Gouda, Gruyere, and Swiss, but sadly the contents are all perpetrators of identity theft with the same bland flavor.
We always return from the States with some new clothes and personal care products plus non-perishable food items like nuts, Dijon mustard, horseradish, taco sauce, and peanut butter. When a friend shared that she brings back cheese Cynthia and I were like, "Wow." Since cheese is in the refrigerated section somehow we'd never thought about it, but what the heck, it's aged in caves or something, right? And we wouldn't ever be out of air conditioning.
So we loaded up and---YES!!--it totally worked! Our life continues to improve in little increments like this that are hard for you to appreciate in the "Land of Plenty."
But cheese is supposed to go with wine, and therein lies a bit of a problem. We enjoyed so many fabulous wines at reasonable prices in the U.S. When I was huffing and puffing at the gym a friend commented that during the month away my red blood cell count had lowered, which is true. Since we live at high altitude our bodies naturally produce more red blood cells so we stay properly oxygenated in this thinner atmosphere. I relied to him, "Yeah, and they've been replaced with red wine cells!"
Import taxes have gotten so hateful that even OK wine is now prohibitively expensive. We noticed the prices had gone up even during the short time we were away. As an example, wines we paid $5 for in Argentina and Chile, and maybe $9 in the States, top $20 here now. Yikes!!
So---the cheese stands alone. We've switched over to an excellent dark Caribbean rum for $12/fifth that lasts for days rather than the equivalent of twelve buck Chuck that tastes lousy and is gone in one night.
Speaking of which, my glass is empty. Until next time------.