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Venezuela: A Country Founded on European and African Influences

By- Erika Semprun

Venezuela, located in the northern region of South America, is known for its delicious cuisine and melodious music! Venezuela’s traditional foods, popular for their unforgettable herbs and spices, go back hundreds and hundreds of years. During the colonization of the new world, the natives of Venezuela created recipes and dishes from foods left over by Spanish conquistadors. With leftover portions of beef, pork, and chicken, unique dishes such as sancocho and hallaca were created!

Sancocho, a traditional soup made with beef and vegetables, is a staple dish in Venezuela and other Latin American countries. The combination of spices and rich flavors make the stew a perfect meal for a cozy Sunday afternoon. Hallaca, another common Venezuelan dish, is made by stuffing corn dough with beef, pork, or chicken and various vegetables and grains. The classic recipe also includes raisins and olives as well.

While sancocho and hallaca are very popular in Venezuela, the country’s most famous dish is arepas. Arepas, made from either corn or wheat flour, are created by mixing flour with either water or milk and salt. The dough is then grilled, baked, or fried and stuffed to perfection! Arepas can be stuffed with a wide variety of fillings, such as eggs, beans, or even vegetables, but most people native to the region fill the traditional food with cheeses, ham, beef, chicken, or pork.

While food is very important in Venezuelan culture, nothing is quite as adored as music! The music that makes up the heart of Venezuela, such as salsa, merengue, and bachata, is made up of Afro-Latin rhythms influenced by the Caribbean culture. The melody most native to Venezuela, however, is joropo— a folkloric style of music that originated in Los Llanos, a grassland located in the country.

The joropo, which was created from African, European, and Latin influences, continues to be sung and danced today!

While Venezuela has suffered great economic and political loss in the last two decades, the people of Venezuela continue to pride themselves on the country’s mouthwatering cuisine and enthralling tunes.

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