Arepa Cookbook Giveaway & Quick Bites

Enter our US/CA/UK giveaway to win one of two copies of Arepa: Classic & Contemporary Recipes for Venezuela’s Daily Bread by Irena Stein. The author has an event scheduled and it is shared on our Calendar.

Arepa: Classic & contemporary recipes for Venezuela’s daily bread by Irena Stein shares over 50 recipes celebrating Venezuela’s irresistible and most popular street food: the arepa. A crisp round pocket made from corn flour – the arepa is one of Venezuela’s defining foods. Gluten-free and dairy-free, arepas are endlessly adaptable, unarguably delicious and fun to eat.

The book starts with a basic recipe for an arepa, followed by variations. Chapters include: Appetizers; Seafood Arepas; Vegetarian Arepas; Meat Arepas; Butters and Sauces; Desserts and lastly Cocktails. Irena also provides us with a section on sourcing ingredients. The photography in Arepa is plentiful and beautiful.

Recipes include a Pork crackling arepa, Fried fish arepa with pickled beetroot; Hoisin-glazed ribs arepa with Korean slaw; Venezuelan-style flan; Churros with chocolate sauce and Corn cake.

Our takes you inside this beautiful book and features the following : Goat cheese and roasted vegetables arepa (photo below).

I love a book devoted to one subject as it provides a deeper understanding of a particular dish and encourages us to spread our wings and experiment with new and exciting meals for our families.

Irena took some time to answer a few questions for our Members:

The author of Arepa: Classic & Contemporary Recipes for Venezuela’s Daily Bread, Irena Stein is a photographer, restaurateur, immigrant, sustainability advocate, and humanitarian. Irena came to the United States from Venezuela on a Fulbright Scholarship to Stanford University where she graduated with a Master’s in Cultural Anthropology. Since then, she has merged her passion for art, food, community, and environmentalism into a seamless blend in a city that craved it—Baltimore, Maryland. Irena was the first to bring contemporary and highly imaginative Venezuelan cuisine to the United States at her restaurant Alma Cocina Latina. Alma continues to lead the Baltimore food scene with innovative and transformative ideas, not only with their cuisine, but in shaping how we view food in our society. Irena lives in Baltimore with her husband and continues to build meaningful cultural connections in the Baltimore area and beyond.

Q: What first triggered your interest in cooking?

We moved to Europe from Venezuela when I was 15. My father told me (we are talking 1968) that I needed to help my mom in the kitchen, as she had no more help of any kind. As a premature feminist, I demanded that my brothers help cook as well. So it became mandatory that my brothers and I help her with daily dinner preparations. Each one of us had our favorite thing to make. Mine was baking and making crepes every Sunday morning, a LOT of crepes… I had three insatiable brothers. We were all food lovers. At the time, all young people cooked in Europe, for family or friends. We were no exception.  This is the way we all learned to cook.

Q: If you had to describe your cooking style, what would it be? What types of recipes will we find in your new book?

I would say that my cooking style combines Mediterranean and Latin flavors. I love combining abundant herbs and spices in all dishes. I like to go full flavor.

This book is an introduction to Venezuela, my country of birth, and to the core of our culinary tradition, the arepa! Arepas are Venezuela’s daily bread. They can be described as a round patty, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and made of pre-cooked cornmeal that can be combined with a great range of fillings. The book shares 50 recipes for arepas, including classic ones, Mediterranean variations, and some inspired by ingredients and flavors of other cultures. It also presents delicious appetizers, cocktails and desserts from our kitchen at Alma Cocina Latina in Baltimore.  

Q: Are you a cookbook collector? If so, tell us about your collection?

I started collecting cookbooks when I was an artist in San Francisco in the 80s and could not afford to go to the wonderful restaurants the city had to offer. So the books of those places became my teachers. At the time, I started by following most of the recipes of Joyce Goldstein, in her book Back to Square One: Old-World Food in a New-World Kitchen. Emily Luchetti taught me to explore the most delicious desserts. Alice Waters taught me sustainability. Patricia Quintana’s books trained me in Mexican cooking. At the same time I explored mostly local authors, I kept a solid connection with my Venezuelan and French upbringing. So Armando Scannone, author of Mi Cocina a La Manera De Caracas, kept me cooking essential traditional old Caracas (my city of birth) dishes at every holiday.  Pierre Hermé made me look great for desserts. 40 years later, I have 253 books that include every culture I have been surrounded by. But among the cookbooks most used in recent years, those of Yotam Ottolenghi have been a hit. They have the sexiest vegetarian recipes.

Q: Do you sometimes feel like working with food all day keeps you from wanting to get creative in the kitchen?

Since my husband and I are at our restaurant Alma almost every day, I enjoy making most of the lunch meals at home. It has become harder to make elaborate dinners for friends in the evenings. I miss those terribly. And when they do happen, it is heaven.

Q: What is your go to for a quick dinner – quick dessert?

Quick dinners are made with whatever is in the fridge. I also use leftovers to make new meals, not just reheating them. For example, leftover chicken and small potatoes becomes a salad the following day, adding caramelized onions, basil, red peppers and balsamic vinaigrette. A quick dessert is a tart. I make several tart doughs at a time and freeze them. So I defrost one when I have a great seasonal fruit in abundance. I love fruit tarts so much!

Q: Tell us about this cookbook or any future projects you are working on?

This cookbook, Arepa: Classic & Contemporary Recipes for Venezuela’s Daily Bread, is a true labor of love. It took four trips to Venezuela to photograph and test all the recipes. During these trips, I also photographed markets, landscapes and people,  to show the arepa’s natural habitat. The chef and co-author of the book, Eduardo Egui, lives in Barcelona, Spain. We flew in and flew out from our respective cities (I’m based in Baltimore) and met in Caracas those four times.

Arepas have become an essential ambassador for those millions of Venezuelans that have left the country due to very difficult circumstances. Arepas exist in 90 countries now, and they are becoming increasingly popular around the world. The arepa, made with pre-cooked cornmeal, is also gluten free, super easy to make at home, and is a great “bread” for any flavors and ingredients you want to stuff it with. Please enjoy and play with them in your own home! You may follow Irena on Instagram at @ai_rei_rei and @almacocinalatina.

Special thanks to the publisher for providing two copies of this title in our promotion. Entry options include answering the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Have you ever made an arepa?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on October 26th, 2023.

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  • Kristjudy  on  August 26, 2023

    I have never made an arepa

  • fadoum  on  August 26, 2023

    Never made one but have eaten them.

  • Kerreydp  on  August 26, 2023

    I have made arepas but it’s been a while

  • matag  on  August 27, 2023

    I have eaten them but never made them

  • AnnaZed  on  August 27, 2023

    I never have made an arepa

  • TSQ  on  August 27, 2023

    Looks amazing!

  • hirsheys  on  August 27, 2023

    Yes, I’ve made them once and they were amazing!

  • Jillyb3  on  August 27, 2023

    I have not! But they look yummy and very doable. The Fried fish arepa with pickled beetroot sounds so good!

  • Brookiegb  on  August 27, 2023

    I enjoy making areas, and I want to find new ways to use them

  • Ingridemery  on  August 27, 2023

    I have made plain arepas before instead of tortillas – they have a bit more substance which can be nice when you’re eating something like a pozole or chilli. But I have never been confident enough to try anything beyond that!

  • ravensfan  on  August 27, 2023

    I have never made an arepa but I want to try to!

  • trudys_person  on  August 27, 2023

    I have never made an arepa. There was a food truck in my area that sold Venezuelan food – the arepas were amazing!

  • mpdeb98  on  August 27, 2023

    I have never made an arepa

  • TBipp  on  August 27, 2023

    I have never made an arepa. I do enjoy them.

  • dataentrytard  on  August 27, 2023

    I never have made an arepa

  • lean1  on  August 27, 2023

    I haven’t yet made one but I would like to.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  August 27, 2023

    I haven’t, but have enjoyed them from a local food truck.

  • oduong930  on  August 28, 2023


  • Acarroll  on  August 28, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa! Eaten them though.

  • nvernon  on  August 28, 2023

    I have not.

  • FJT  on  August 28, 2023

    I’ve made arepa once because they’re gluten-free and I have coeliac disease .. but I need a better recipe!

  • rkosully  on  August 29, 2023

    I have never made an arepa, but I would love to try!

  • Babycarrot  on  August 29, 2023

    I’ve eaten them in the past. My fave are papusas but arepas are a close second! Would love to make them.

  • Puguppy  on  August 29, 2023


  • dbielick  on  August 29, 2023

    No, but would love to make arepas.

  • leknit  on  August 29, 2023

    Yes, I have made arepas.

  • sayeater  on  August 29, 2023

    While camping I cooked packaged ones that I was lucky enough to find at a grocery in Florida, but have never made them from scratch.

  • sarahawker  on  August 29, 2023

    I’ve never made one but my husband designed an Arepa restaurant so we’ve had some great ones.

  • caity88  on  August 29, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa, but I’ve certainly eaten quite a few of them!!!

  • BMeyer  on  August 29, 2023


  • mswager  on  August 29, 2023

    I haven’t made an arepa but would love to try!

  • hashi  on  August 30, 2023

    I tried one time without a lot of success.

  • antpantsii  on  August 30, 2023

    I have attempted to make one. I have eaten a few..

  • eildoncook  on  August 30, 2023

    They are delicious. Have eaten and would love to make them.

  • Charlieemma  on  August 30, 2023

    Never made or tried!

  • foodie16  on  August 30, 2023

    No, I never have. But I’m very keen to try.

  • renharvey  on  August 30, 2023

    No, I’ve never made an arepa and I don’t think I’ve eaten one either

  • jsilberlicht  on  August 30, 2023

    Until 2 weeks ago, I’d never eaten an arepa….but I was fortunate enough to be visting London’s Borough Market and had the occassion to try a cheese and spinach arepa from one of the vendors there. It was head over heels delicious! She (the vendor) also offered a delicious mild green salsa as a condiment which made the arepa even better. Sadly, I didn’t get to taste her spicy salsa or the other four arepa version on offer!

  • susgo1  on  August 30, 2023

    Yes, once!

  • maggz19671  on  August 30, 2023

    I’ve never made – sounds devine

  • katerd  on  August 30, 2023

    Love them, but never made them

  • Spud13  on  August 31, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa, but I recently bought the correct flour and I’m psyching myself up to have a go soon!

  • TeresaWatson  on  August 31, 2023

    Never made one and never eaten one … but I’m all for trying new things these days … so why not!!

  • wildchild  on  August 31, 2023


  • amaLA  on  August 31, 2023

    I have never made an arepa, but I’ve eaten one before!

  • lucymajor94  on  August 31, 2023

    i’ve never made one!

  • virjeania  on  September 1, 2023

    Never made arepa but they sure are tasty

  • kalina813  on  September 2, 2023

    Once a long time ago at a friend’s house

  • GreenhouseCheryl  on  September 3, 2023

    I have never made an arepa but enjoyed them at a local restaurant.

  • janv  on  September 3, 2023

    I hadn’t even heard of it before

  • Acratli28  on  September 3, 2023

    Never made one.

  • Elveenah  on  September 4, 2023

    Never, but I’m good at eating them. I’ve made something similar called a gordita, from Mexico.

  • LaurenE  on  September 4, 2023

    I have never made an arepa

  • skichick  on  September 6, 2023

    I have never made one

  • CompsAlex  on  September 6, 2023

    No, I never have, but look forward to my first.

  • clairew137  on  September 7, 2023

    No never but perhaps I should.

  • johanna1230  on  September 7, 2023

    I’ve made arepas.

  • Shelley.b  on  September 7, 2023

    have never made arepa

  • jahopson  on  September 8, 2023

    Yes. I grew up in Venezuela (1951-1968) and arepas were a staple in our home. Hoping the cookbook has a recipe for tequenos, another favorite…

  • Carrotmusic  on  September 8, 2023

    When my younger son was in middle school, he had a Spanish class project that required him and a partner to write a report about a country and make a traditional dish to share in class. I think they had to make a video as well. They were assigned to report on Venezuela. I was the shopper and “referee” for the project. I will admit that our arepas were less than stellar. But we three had a really good time!

  • Andre_F  on  September 8, 2023

    I have tried once, was not conclusive…. but i will try more… is it masa harina or regular corn flour or PAN, the precooked corn flour ?

  • dzm  on  September 8, 2023

    No, I have never made one

  • reader1trees  on  September 8, 2023

    Never made or tried one but am intrigued by the thought.

  • hrk  on  September 8, 2023

    I have not made arepas

  • thewoobdog  on  September 8, 2023

    Some local Venezuelan ex-pats taught me to make arepas a couple of months ago and I have fallen in love with them!

  • RSW  on  September 8, 2023


  • elysedc  on  September 9, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa but they look soooo goood

  • etcjm  on  September 10, 2023

    Yes. Weren’t quite right – but I will try again.

  • sarahteertzah  on  September 11, 2023

    I have not!

  • marktiger69  on  September 12, 2023

    no but would love to

  • Emmormous  on  September 12, 2023

    Naver made or tried. But would love to

  • Dendav  on  September 12, 2023

    No have never made an arepa

  • AlyC  on  September 12, 2023

    Never made arepa, but I would love to try!

  • jackdaw3  on  September 12, 2023

    Crackling Arepa

  • Plumbobmummy  on  September 12, 2023

    No I have never

  • Sand9  on  September 12, 2023

    No, I’ve never heard of them x

  • bopper  on  September 12, 2023

    I have never made one but would be intrigued to give it a good go!

  • Isis1981uk  on  September 12, 2023

    No, never!

  • GrooveHeart  on  September 13, 2023

    No I’ve never made one but would love to try

  • skvalentine  on  September 13, 2023

    Have never made or eaten an arepa, but they look delicious!

  • Laura1  on  September 14, 2023

    Not yet

  • katmagdunn  on  September 16, 2023

    Never made an arepa but do love them

  • MarciK  on  September 16, 2023

    I never have, but they sound delicious.

  • youngsvnnhrs  on  September 16, 2023


  • jodie1131  on  September 17, 2023

    I’ve never made one

  • banba1  on  September 17, 2023

    I have not — would love to try my hand at it.

  • emi10383  on  September 17, 2023

    no, I never heard of it

  • Karla123  on  September 18, 2023

    I’ve never made arepas.

  • elizabethwcrew  on  September 18, 2023

    I have not, but I’d love to try

  • JenjiD  on  September 18, 2023

    I have never made an arepa. In Madison WI, we have a couple of small restaurants and food carts that make amazing arepas, so I’d love to learn how to make them.

  • minbody  on  September 19, 2023

    Never made an arepa, but they look amazing!

  • desiree.grubbs  on  September 20, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa but would love to learn!

  • Tacoyoga716  on  September 20, 2023

    I never have but love them!

  • lisambb  on  September 22, 2023

    I have not made an arepa.

  • curafresh  on  September 22, 2023

    Make them all the time! Curious to see her tips and get inspired!

  • Marnewein  on  September 23, 2023

    I have never personally made arepas but lucky enough to have a Venezuelan neighbor that loves to entertain. I never skip out on an invite to their parties.

  • kmn4  on  September 26, 2023

    I have NOT made an arepa, but I would certainly like to try!

  • tarae1204  on  September 27, 2023

    I haven’t ever made arepas, but we purchase them whenever we find them because they’re delicious and my husband is gluten free. I see more and more of them in big grocery chains!

  • ceejayen  on  September 27, 2023

    No, but I would love to try it

  • ChicagoJen  on  September 27, 2023

    I have not!

  • prettypistol  on  September 28, 2023

    I never have made an arepa

  • dusksunset  on  September 28, 2023

    Haven’t made arepas, but have eaten them and bought them frozen

  • debbiehb  on  September 28, 2023

    I have never made an arepa

  • Dannausc  on  September 28, 2023

    I don’t think I’ve ever made an arepa.

  • betsyradelow  on  September 29, 2023

    No, haven’t made an arepa, but I’ve eaten them!

  • paulbing  on  October 1, 2023

    I have never made an arepa but I want to try to

  • chefjamesbarrett  on  October 2, 2023

    I havent made them before

  • scoutycat  on  October 4, 2023

    I haven’t made arepas

  • Bohrnsen  on  October 6, 2023

    Eaten not made personally

  • Bohrnsen  on  October 6, 2023

    Eaten lots but never cooked

  • Heaton99  on  October 6, 2023

    Not yet-but soon

  • Heaton99  on  October 6, 2023

    No not yet

  • Tabby72  on  October 6, 2023

    I’ve eaten one but never made one.

  • jonathan.porter  on  October 6, 2023

    I’ve never made them, interested

  • silversand  on  October 8, 2023

    No, I’d never even heard of an arepa until now!

  • StickInsect  on  October 8, 2023

    These sound really interesting and I like that they are dairy free as I have family members who are vegan.

  • Smallbrownhound  on  October 9, 2023

    I have made arepas a long while ago though. Earlier this year I actually was thinking of making them again

  • EmilyR  on  October 9, 2023

    Yes… from World Central Kitchen cookbook!

  • jamston  on  October 10, 2023

    I have never made an arepa but would love to do so

  • denise21  on  October 13, 2023

    No, never made one and not tried them either

  • ceroooss  on  October 14, 2023

    No I haven’t

  • sheridarby  on  October 14, 2023

    No, never

  • zeeenie  on  October 14, 2023

    i havent

  • Athenajm  on  October 14, 2023

    I’ve never even heard of arepa so definitely haven’t made one, although I would love to win a copy of this book so I can rectify that situation

  • jaizko  on  October 14, 2023

    No. I’ve never even heard of them before. I’m intrigued!

  • Ishtar  on  October 14, 2023

    Never made one and never eaten one either

  • JohnWalker  on  October 14, 2023

    No I’ve never eaten or made one before.

  • ClaireHamilton  on  October 14, 2023

    No, never made one.

  • Lesevans6  on  October 15, 2023


  • janinex  on  October 15, 2023

    I’ve not made arepa’s, but need to as I follow a gluten and dairy free diet so I’ve just added this book to my Christmas wish list

  • krnries  on  October 15, 2023

    I’ve never made an arepa – but they look fabulous xx

  • PatBarrett  on  October 15, 2023

    No I’ve never made one.

  • DimensionAEB  on  October 15, 2023

    Yes I’ve made them, but not for a long time.

  • portkey  on  October 15, 2023

    No I haven’t

  • nats7  on  October 15, 2023

    Not yet!

  • misty33  on  October 15, 2023

    No, I haven’t made an arepa

  • silverspoon65  on  October 15, 2023

    Never but I have eaten plenty!

  • Leonard5854  on  October 20, 2023

    I have not yet made an arepa.

  • Lora724  on  October 22, 2023

    I have never attempted to make arepas.

  • Maefleur  on  October 23, 2023

    No, I have never made one.

  • orchidlady01  on  October 25, 2023

    I have never made arepas.

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