Chipa waiting to go in the oven.

Chipa waiting to go in the oven.

Chipa is a kind of cheesy biscuit. Its ingredients include cheese, cassava flour, corn flour, animal fat, milk, anise, and eggs. It’s a common snack. People sell it on the bus, at soccer games, along the highways, and on street corners. People serve it at memorial services (which in Paraguay are nine days long and can also occur on the anniversary of people’s deaths).

Chipa is crumbly and cheesy—and amazingly yummy when it is hot. If it sits around for much more than a day, it can get rock hard. During Semana Santa, which is the week leading up to Easter, it is traditional to make a ton of chipa or only eat chipa. During that week, my jaw hurt after eating so much hard chipa.

Chipa comes in a variety of shapes but the most common are circles and sticks. It is one of the traditional foods of Paraguay, in fact, in a number of traditional Paraguayan dances the dancers hold a basket of chipa.