Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Vori Vori: A Paraguayan gastronomic treasure

Image Courtesy Papillon Hotel-Restaurant

Vori Vori is more than a dish. It is a journey to the heart of Paraguay’s rich history and gastronomic traditions. Its roots are intertwined with the routes of the Jesuit missionaries, thus highlighting the cultural encounters and gastronomic exchanges that helped shape this iconic dish.

A warm, nutritious broth

Vori Vori is an enveloping and nutritious broth, combining robust flavors with an enveloping texture. This dish is made with chicken, hen, or beef and is then enriched with cornmeal and cheese balls that float gently on the surface. It is a rather nourishing, comforting meal.

The ancestral roots of Paraguayan comfort food

The history of Vori Vori is marked by troubled and turbulent times, including the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870), during which Paraguay faced Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. In the midst of adversity, this soup became a vital food for the exhausted soldiers, providing them with the nutrients they needed to survive and perform at their best.

According to the renowned cook and historian Vidal Yaguareté Domínguez, the origins of Vori Vori can be traced back to Late Antiquity in the Near East. At the time, it was customary to prepare a chicken broth with matzah balls, the traditional Jewish unleavened bread. Over time, this recipe was transported along trade routes until it reached the Iberian Peninsula, where it was integrated into the local gastronomic landscape –particularly among the Sephardic community.

Vori Vori
Vori Vori, Image courtesy Rodrigo Houdin

The introduction of these flavors during the Spanish conquest of the Americas marked the advent of a new era in Latin American cuisine, where native ingredients were combined with techniques and flavors from the Old World.

Another theory about the origin of Vori Vori suggests a more recent influence, derived from Jewish migration to Paraguay in the 20th century. The arrival of Jews from Poland, Ukraine, and Germany led to the intertwining of Eastern European culinary traditions with those of South America, resulting in the creation of new interpretations of traditional dishes. Vori Vori can be considered a reflection of this cultural fusion, as its cornmeal balls evoke memories of Ashkenazi matzah soup.

Versatility: a winning combination

Another of Vori Vori’s distinctive features is its versatility. While the basic recipe includes chicken or hen, vegetables, and the iconic cornmeal dumplings, each family has its own version, adding ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, or even veal to give it a personal touch. This diversity of flavors and preparations is a testament to the richness and creativity of Paraguayan cuisine, which continues to evolve and adapt over time.

In addition to Vori Vori, there are many other ways to experience Paraguayan flavors. Like most South American cuisines, Paraguayan gastronomy is a rich combination of diverse influences. The Guarani tradition is intertwined with the Spanish heritage and the contributions of European immigrants.

In addition to Vori Vori, we would be remiss if we did not mention Sopa Paraguaya (which is not a soup but a tasty cornmeal and cheese cake) and Chipa Guazú, a cornmeal bread stuffed with meat and vegetables. Additionally, the menu features meat dishes such as Asado and Carne al Tatacuá, as well as traditional desserts such as Sopa Paraguaya Dulce and Pastel Mandi’o.

An invitation to explore

Paraguay, with its vibrant culture and unique cuisine, is a destination that merits further exploration. Vori Vori is a tantalizing glimpse into the rich culinary tapestry of Paraguay. It offers a unique opportunity to embark on a culinary journey through the annals of history, tracing the gastronomical evolution of not only the continent, but perhaps of humanity itself.

Jesuit Route of Paraguay

This post is also available in: Español Italiano

Leave a Comment