January 2013

A taste of Cochabamba city - Cafe Paris

As a mission of getting to know the gastronomic world of Cochabamba city, a bunch of young and enthusiastic people from different parts of the world visit some of the most well-known but also some unknown restaurants, cafés and bars in Cochabamba. Out of it there will come several different and interesting reviews, which you can follow each month here in the Cochabanner.

By: Marie Cathine Ettrup
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Ryde – Denmark

The small table with all the breakfasts

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

It is Monday morning and four volunteers meet for breakfast at Café Paris. At one of the corners of Plaza Principal the café is located very centrally of Cochabamba and adds to the life around the Plaza. The half moon shaped room, with the bar in the middle and a lot of small café tables with small French alike café chairs, is a nice and welcoming room to enter. The walls are held in light green and yellow colours and there is dark wood from the floor up to the height of the bar. In the bar the colour blue in a light but neon shade has won and together with the dark wood it sends happy vibrations to the guests.

The four volunteers, who are Laura and Marie from Denmark, Karin from Germany and Antoine from France, are some of the few ones at the café at the apparently early hour of 9 a.m. We sit down with a little table next to a huge mirror, which makes the room seem a little more mysterious and not as enclosed as it maybe would have felt without it. With the arches in the ceiling, the French alike paintings on the walls and the mostly French music it makes the thoughts wander to old Europe and Paris. It is almost like you can smell Paris while sitting at Café Paris.

The menu is a very common café menu. You can get coffees, tee, hot chocolate, ice cream, croissants, le croquet monsieur and madame, crépes, salads, crépes dulces, a breakfast menu and different kinds of mixed juices. "The music is French, the pictures are French and the menu is French. In fact, the only thing that is not French in this café is the price. You can easily find this kind of restaurant in Paris – just without the juices. That is a Bolivian touch", Antoine, the French volunteer, states. Although, according to the French, it is a very Parisian café the guests are mostly Bolivians. They are at the café at this time of the day to get a cup of coffee, an ice cream or a juice while reading the newspaper, a book or using the internet. The non-Bolivians though are here for getting a nice breakfast or other food.

Laura eating her breakfast

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

From the menu we ordered a lot of different, hopefully delicious, things: "Desayuno" consisting of coffee, three toasts, butter, marmalade and orange juice, "L’omelette du jour", "Crépe Jamón y Champiñones", "Batido vie en rose" with strawberry, kiwi and peach, "Chocolate", "Batido Maria Galante" with milk, banana, cacao and cream, "Crépe Azúcar y Zumo de Limón" and "Batido Paradise" with milk, kiwi, peach and vanilla.

When all the food and juices are served there is just enough room on the table for it all to fit. Before any of the girls have time to taste the food, Antoine exclaims about his crépes with lemon: "If you want to taste it Karin, you have to hurry because there will not be anything left in just a minute". With a satisfied expression on his face he continues eating the obviously appetizing crépes. Karin gets the crépes with champignons and after a moment she says: "I just need the champignons to be fresh to give these crépes a big thumps up". "Your juice is really fresh though", Marie adds and Karin continues: "I am very impressed over the chocolate. I put extra sugar in this one and I never do that in Germany. This chocolate tastes of very good, dark chocolate". Laura and Marie get curious and also try the hot chocolate. "It is very intense", Laura says and Marie agrees: "It is very dark and intense. The best hot chocolate I have tasted in a long time".

Antoine tasting the French "Le croque Monsieur"

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

After the amazement of the chocolate Laura dedicates herself to her own breakfast. "Mmh, toasted bread – I miss this in Bolivia", she says and Karin and she conclude that: "The marmalade is kind of more candy like and is better than what we have tasted here in Bolivia so far". "The omelette is a bit too salty, but I think that it is delicious anyway and it has the perfect size for breakfast", Marie says while having the mouth filled with omelette and juice. The two juices with milk please Laura’s taste buds as she, while tasting them, only says: "Mmh, this is good" and "this is sweet, mmh".

Despite of the more or less large amount of breakfast, the four volunteers’ stomachs have already found room for more and more food is being ordered. A "Le croquet Monsieur" and a "Crépe de chocolate" are served. "The monsieur looks so good", Laura exclaims. "And it smells really delicious", Marie continues. "It is a little but salty, but it is really good", the French concludes. After one of the most delicious breakfasts in a long time, it is time for some overall thoughts on the café. Karin begins: "All in all it is a very, very fine café. I have only a few things to complain about. Like the menu the café is the right mix of a lot of Paris and a little of Bolivia to remind you where you are". Marie agrees: "A little piece of Paris in Bolivia". "The menu is very typical to one in Paris, but has the delicious Bolivian touch with the juices", Antoine continues. "Furthermore the location of the café is just perfect, so close to the centre of Cochabamba", Marie says and Karin adds: "I like that the door is so open and that you can see the Plaza Principal". "We definitely have to go here again one morning", Laura concludes and lets the stars of the breakfasts speak for themselves:

Mmh, the "Crépe de chocolate" tastes good, right Karin?

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

"It is Monday morning and a visit to café Paris is just the perfect start of the week with a nice breakfast and good friends", Karin sighs happily and satisfied, and Antoine adds: "I could not agree more!" The watch is showing 11 a.m. when the four Europeans leave the café and not a single table is free for more guests to come and visit the little, cosy Café. We understand why.

"Crépe Jamón y Champiñones"

"Crépe de chocolate"

"Batido Maria Galante"

"Crépe Azúcar y Zumo de Limón"

"Le croque Monsieur"

"L’omelette du jour"


The hymn
"14 de Septiembre"
and seven forgotten hymns
At the end of the newly established traditions, the departmental authorities designed a row of events intended to celebrate the first centenary of the liberating achievement initiated the 14th of September 1810. They also felt the need of equipping themselves with a new acoustic emblem: a “departmental hymn” which represented the patriotic feeling of the citizens. With this objective, the Concejo Municipal in the beginning of 1910 called for a contest of which the “Himno a Cochabamba” would result. It was hoped that this hymn would be a roaring image which would not only accompany the principal festivities and shows that took place the 14th of September of that year, but would also become kind of a symbol for regional identity.
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