31 Aug

The arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty of soaked, ground kernels of maize, maize meal or maize flour that can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed. It is made with water and salt, and other ingredients can be added. The arepa is a pre-Columbian dish from what is now Colombia and Venezuela. Common archeological finds in the region locate maize grinding tools and clay cooking slabs, indicating that in Colombia, the first record of the use of corn dates from 3,000 years ago, and in Venezuela about 2,800 years ago. Throughout its history, the arepa has remained unchanged from the arepas that pre-Columbian native peoples would have consumed, making the arepa one of the few pre-contact traditions that have remained integral in the years since colonization. The arepa is an iconic food in Colombia, with some 75 distinct forms of preparation. According to a study conducted by the Colombian Academy of Gastronomy, "The arepa is part of our cultural heritage and can be considered a symbol of national gastronomic unity.”