Huacho is a small and picturesque city in the costal regions of the South American country of Peru. For the last few years the locals of Huacho has been organizing an unusual kind of festival – the festival of guinea pigs. In this one-day event, guinea pigs are dressed up in traditional Peruvian local dresses. Some of them are turned into kings and queens while others are dressed up as miners and peasants.
They are fed and pampered.
Contest are organized for the biggest, fastest and best dressed animal.
Finally, towards the end of the day …. they are eaten! Farmers and chefs gather and present dishes of guinea pig fried, grilled, or baked with generous helpings of Andean potatoes and large Peruvian corn called choclo.
Guinea pigs are native to the high Andes and their low-fat meat has been an important source of protein for thousands of years. According to those who tasted the meat, it is a cross between rabbit and dark chicken meat.
Guinea pigs are common in rural Andean households as they are reliable income generators - they breed so quickly that whenever a family needs money, it can sell off a dozen or so. They are also a major source of food. Around 65 million guinea pigs are eaten each year in Peru!
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