Bienvenido / Welcome
Landlocked between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, the country of Paraguay is home to vast areas of subtropical forest, swampland and chaco, wildernesses comprising savanna and scrubland.
Paraguay is a country of remarkable contrasts: it's rustic and sophisticated; it boasts spectacular natural reserves and massive human-made dams; it is a place where horses and carts pull up alongside Mercedes Benz vehicles, artisans' workshops abut glitzy shopping centers, and Jesuit ruins in rural villages lie just a few kilometers from interesting colonial towns. The steamy subtropical Atlantic Forest of the east is a stark contrast to the dry, spiny wilderness of the Chaco, the location of the isolated Mennonite colonies.
Social life tends to revolve around the family. Godparents are particularly important; if parents become unable to provide for their children, godparents are expected to assume responsibility for them.
The capital, Asunción, on the banks of the Paraguay River, is home to the grand Government Palace and the Museo del Barro, displaying pre-Columbian ceramics and ñandutí lacework, the latter available in many shops.
The cuisine of Paraguay is the set of dishes and culinary techniques of Paraguay. It has a marked influence of the Guarani people, in fusion with the Spanish cuisine and other marked influences coming from the immigration received by bordering countries such as Italian cuisine and Portuguese food.
Paraguayan cuisine reflects traditional Guaraní cooking styles. Beef dishes and freshwater river fish are popular. Other typical foods are soups, often with meat, and various breads, especially chipa, which is flavoured with cheese and egg. Corn (maize) is a staple ingredient in many dishes, including sopa paraguaya, a pie made from corn, eggs, and milk; avatí mbaipy, a corn soup; and mbaipy he-é, a dessert made from corn, milk, and molasses. Beer and caña, a cane sugar spirit, are popular drinks. Yerba maté, the local herbal tea, is consumed year-round—chilled in summer, hot in winter. A common pastime is drinking tereré (a bitter tea made from the same type of leaves that are used to brew yerba maté) from a shared gourd or from a hollowed cow’s horn, or guampa, which often is beautifully carved.