Santa Sopa

During Semana Santa, the ‘Holy Week’ before Easter, signs go up all over Cuenca advertising fanesca, a codfish soup that accommodates the prohibition on red meat during the holiday. The base is made of pumpkin, and a dozen kinds of beans and grains representing the 12 apostles of Jesus are thrown in. Garnishes include hard-boiled eggs, fried plantains, and mini-empanadas (the latter symbolize the unbelievers: not involved in the soup's preparation but gladly accepted into the tradition). It’s so rich and delicious you won’t be hungry until the following Easter. In Cuenca, it's often complemented by a dessert of cinnamon-doused rice pudding.