PARADISE (See our
- The best cuisine
of Latin America
- Experiencing Peru through its
- Peruvian ingredients
- The potato
- Peruvian corn
- Pisco: Our national drink
BEST CUISINE OF LATIN AMERICA
According to the connoisseurs, the
Peruvian Cuisine is the best of Latin America, alongside
the French and the Chinese cuisines. It is not only
known for its exquisite taste, but also for its variety.
The culinary history of Peru goes
back to the Pre-Inca and Inca times with original products
such as the potato and corn, which constitute great
contributions to the World.
Recent opinions of experts in the
culinary art, corroborate the excellence of our cuisine.
Patrick Martin, Academic Director of the famous gastronomic
School: Le Cordon Blue of Paris, France, recently visited
one of its branches in Lima. He was quoted as saying:
"one of the reasons why we have a school here is
the excellent quality of the Peruvian cuisine, which
I love". Let's hear more opinions:
"... In this land where ceviche
was invented, this was the best I'd ever had-the beginning
of a sublime week of dining...". Gary Lee from
the Washington Post, describing his recent trip to Peru.
"... Peruvian cuisine is incredibly
varied and accomplished, for many travelers an exciting
and delicious surprise. It is among the best and most
diverse cuisines found in Latin America...". Neil
E. Schlecht. Frommer's Guide of Peru.
"... Peruvian cuisine is exceptionally
good and surpringly unknown. Food lovers visiting for
the first time are in for a wonderful surprise...".
Peru's Lonely Planet. 2004 Edition.
Jonathan M. Leonard, author of the
well known book: Latin American Cooking of Time-Life,
also says that the peruvian cuisine is the best of Latin
Conde Nast Traveler (April 2003) says:
No country in South America cooks like Peru and Lima
is the gastronomic heart.
The renowned magazine Gourmet (august 2006) in an article of eleven pages
talks about the delicious and varied Peruvian cousine. The best known chef of the country, Gaston Acurio
is quoted as saying:
in another 10 years, Lima will be like Paris, people will come here to eat.
Finally, TIME (October 12, 2009) says that the restaurants in Lima
have help turn the capital into a legitimate destination for gourmets.
The same article mentions that with the aperture of differents Peruvian restaurants
in different countries, the people in these countries are appreciating
the delicious Peruvian cousine.
We don't have any doubt, you will
agree with these and many others connoisseurs, once
you taste the mouth-watering peruvian dishes.
Recipes such as cebiche (raw fish
marinated in lemon juice), pachamanca (meat and vegetables
cooked underground), chupe de camarones (shrimp soup),
ají de gallina (spicy chicken) and juane (cornmash
pastries) are just a few of the mouth-watering dishes
served in Peru are due to two reasons. The quality and
variety of dishes in Peru due to two reasons.
The first is Peru’s ecological
and climatic diversity which has given rise to a major
supply of fresh produce that satisfy not only the housewife
but also the most demanding chef.
The rich Peruvian fishing grounds
abound in fish and shellfish species. The heart of the
succulent coastal gastronomy such as rice, fowl and
goat are the key ingredients of Peru’s north coastal
cooking. In the Andes, meanwhile ingredients such as
the potato and sweetcorn in all its varieties along
with cuy (guinea pig) and aji chili pepper are the basis
of highland cooking. The jungle adds its own touch with
wild game and a side serving of fried banana and manioc
root. Local fruit varieties such as chirimoya (custard
apple) and lucuma produce incomparable deserts.
The second reason is the rich mix
of Western and Easter cultural traditions. Over the
course of centuries, Peru has felt the influence os
Spain in its stews and soups, Arab sweets and desserts,
African contributions to Creole cooking, Italian pastas,
Japanese preparations of fish and shellfish and Chinese
culinary methods, which have given birth to one of the
most popular gastronomic tradition in Peru: chifa. The
originality of Peru’s cuisine stems not just from
its traditional cooking, but it also continues to incorporate
new influences, preparing exquisite and impeccable dishes
that have been dubbed the New Peruvian Cuisine.
PERU THROUGH ITS CUISINE
Follow the trail of aromas and flavors
and come along on a tour through the gastronomic regions
Let’s start with the Peruvian
sea and seafood, which is the delight of coastal inhabitants.
The indispensable ingredient here is without a doubt
the hot chili pepper known as aji. Mixed with fish braised
in freshly squeezed lemon juice, it gives life to the
popular dish cebiche. Aji lends color and aroma in the
spicy shellfish stew called picante de mariscos, the
parihuela chowder, arroz con mariscos (rice and shellfish)
and the pescado a lo macho, where the fish is served
with a colorful shellfish sauce.
cuisine along the north coast is served and devoured
with passion. Premier dishes include arroz con pato
(duck and rice), seco de chavelo (fish stew with roasted
green bananas), cabrito con frijoles (goat and beans
cooked in the fermented corn beverage "chicha de
jora"), shambar (beef and bean soup) and the sudado
de cangrejos (steamed crab).
In Lima, meanwhile, gourmets can
enjoy a wide variety of dishes that are the result of
a wide range of foreign influences, as well as all the
regional gastronomic variants. Ají de gallina,
causa limeña (mashed potato and fish), arroz
verde con pollo (chicken served over a bed of coriander
rice), carapulcra (spicy pork stew), lomo saltado (sautéed
beef) and the traditional anticucho (skewered oxheart)
feature among the main favorites in Lima, not to mention
the mounth-watering tacu-tacu (fried beans mixed with
Highland cooking maintains a pagan
relationship with the earth, a notion that is ever present
in all the local celebrations. The most typical Andean
dish is the pachamanca, which is cooked in a hole in
the ground over hot stones. Ingredients include green
beans, potatoes, corn and several types of meat seasoned
with herbs and spices. Soup dishes include pucheros,
patasca and caldo de cabeza de cordero (sheepshead broth),
which are favorites when the cold sets in. Beef is often
freeze-dried into charqui, while cuy (guinea pig) is
served in a variety of sauces and stews. Irresistible
entrées include papa a la huancaina (potato drenched
in a spicy cheese sauce) or ocopa (in peanut sauce).
southern Arequipa highlands, meanwhile, is home to such
temptations as rocoto relleno (stuffed chili pepper)
and chupe de camarones, while in Cuzco visitors can
try their hand at cordero al homo (roast lamb).
The food served in the jungle has
a lot to do with Man’s harmonious relationship
with nature. Recipes such as the juane (chicken and
rice tamale), inchi capi (chicken served with peanuts
and toasted corn) and tacacho de platanos a la brasa
(barbecued bananas) are a delight, surprising the uninitiated
with their ingredients. The local game is also unusual:
sajino en cecina (wild boar), lomo saltado de majado
and apichado de gallina de monte (wildfowl) are just
some of the magical specialties of the jungle and Peru’s
cooking in general.
Peru’s Quality cuisine draws
from a wide variety of unique products that it has bequeathed
to the world. The rich Peruvian fishing grounds, the
ancient agricultural techniques of the Andes and the
rivers and cloud forest of the Amazon produce an endless
variety of native ingredients which come together to
create the peerless flavor and aroma of Peru’s
cooking. The best-known Peruvian products both at home
and abroad are tubers and cereals.
has grown potatoes since the dawn of time, and its 4,000
varieties have adapted to several different climates.
Peruvians are particularly fond of the papa amarilla,
a potato with a yellow interior not grown anywhere else
on Earth. Other popular tubers include the Peruvian
camote (sweet potato) which is used to garnish a variety
of dishes, plus the yucca (manioc), olluco and oca.
Peru is also home to some 35 varieties
of maize, more than anywhere else on Earth. Corn is
cooked in many ways in Peru: on the cob, ground with
a mortar and pestle, boiled, toasted, ground into the
sweet mazamorra jelly and fermented into the chicha
beverage. Native Andean cereals such as kiwicha (amaranth)
and quinua are also highly regarded abroad for their
nutritional qualities. Another major contribution of
the Andes is the ají chili pepper. Some varieties
such as the rocoto are used in spicy sauces, while others
like the brightly-colored ají colorado are boiled
and gutted to soften the hot chili pepper taste for
use as a mild seasoning.
Peruvian sea teems with over 700 fish species, from
flounder to Pacific Bonito, and 400 types of shellfish,
including lobsters and sea urchins. Highland lakes,
offer superb trout fishing, while the enormous paiche
fish species abounds in the jungle rivers.
Peru has also made a major contribution
to the world’s dessert trolley with four extraordinary
fruit varities: chirimoya, guanabana, granadilla and
potato (Solanum tuberosum), a tuber which originated
in the upper reaches of the Andes, has served as a foodstuff
for Man over the past 8,000 years.However, it was not
until the Spaniards took potato samples back to Europe
in the sixteenth century that the tuber rose to become
a universal foodstuff. In fact, slightly less than a
century after it was brought over to the Old World,
the potato was already massively consumed, and turned
out to be a key energy source for the working class
during the industrial revolution.
According to ancient legend, when
the mythical founders of the Inca empire, Manco Capac
and Mama Ocllo, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca,
the first thing the god Wiracocha taught them was how
to sow potatoes. Possibly due to his time-honored origin,
the farmers of the Andes have managed to create a series
of varieties that have adapted to a wide variety of
Today, scientists have identified
more than 4,000 varieties, many of which are only founded
in Peru such as the yellow potato (papa amarilla or
papa huayro). Peruvian potatoes are held to be matchless
in flavor and texture in fact, their noble yet delicate
shapes fit perfectly into the cultural background this
tuber enjoys in Peru. The all-powerful Quechua culture
revered the potato not just as a crucial foodstuff,
but as an icon.
There is even a popular saying: “That’s
more Peruvian than potato” a reference to the
unmistakable stamp of Peruvian origin on the tuber.
It is a compliment that does justice to this age-old
fruit of the Andes.
Is one of the most widely-consumed foodstuffs in Peruvian
cuisine. It has been planted in Peru since at least
1200 BC. The ancient Peruvian farmers achieved a degree
of sophistication in the selection and creation of new
varieties which adapted to varying terrains and climates.
Sixteenth-century Spanish chronicler
Bernabé Cobo wrote that in ancient Peru one could
find corn (known locally as choclo) in every color under
the sun: white, yellow, purple, black, red and mixed.
Today, farmers along the Peruvian coast, highlands and
jungle grow more than 55 varieties of corn, more than
anywhere else on Earth.
Native historian Inca Garcilaso de
la Vega, in his Royal Commentaries of the Incas, wrote
in detail on eating habits in colonial times. In those
days, corn was a key part of nutritional needs, and
the locals called it Sara, eating it roasted or boiled
in water. On major occasions, they milled the kernels
to bake a type of bread called tanta or humita. For
solemn events such as the Festival of the Sun (Inti
Raymi), they would bake breadrolls called zancu. They
roasted the corn and called cancha (the predecessor
of popcorn), the same as it is called today.
Today, Peru features regional varieties on ways to prepare
delicious dishes based on corn. In northern Peru, the
locals are particularly fond of pepian, a stew based
on grated corn kernels mixed with onion, garlic and
the chilli pepper which takes on a particularly heightened
flavor when cooked with turkey. Arequipa inhabitants
prepare a dish call soltero (beans, corn, onion and
dressing made from fresh cheese). In the jungle, one
of the most typical dishes, inchicapi, is made from
chicken cooked in a stew made of roasted corn and peanuts.
Desserts include the sanguito (made from yellow cornflour,
cooking fat, raisins and a sugarcane molasses called
Peruvian Corn is also used to make cornmash pastries
called tamales and humitas, which can come in a wide
range of colors and flavors (green, brown and yellow,
sweet and savory). Peruvian corn is also the main ingredient
of the chicha morada (drink made from purple corn) or
chicha de jora (fermented corn beer) and the sweet purple
corn jelly called mazamorra, for special occasions.
OUR NATIONAL DRINK
Peruvian pisco is a grape brandy
or aguardiente, distilled from fresh grape must in stills
that do not rectify the final product. Thus the pisco
obtained from the distilling process is transparent
or slightly yellowish, with an alcohol content that
runs at around 42º.
means seagull in Quechua, the Inca language. It was
also the name of a fertile valley often visited by condors
and settled by descendants of the ancient Paracas cuture.
Here the local potters, also called piscos, crafted
the large clay jars used to ferment chicha and other
alcoholic beverages. When the Spanish Conquerors arrived
in the sixteenth century, they found this part of the
south coast featured the ideal conditions to plant Mediterranean
grape varieties, and were able to plant them thanks
to the skill and knowledge of the ancient Peruvians
who invented a system of irrigating the arid coastal
When the Spaniards started distilling,
they baptized the grape brandy “pisco”,
as well as the port from where it was shipped, this
can be seen from maps dating back to the late sexteenth
century. Pisco exports reached their height between
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
varieties are defined by flavor and not aroma. There
are four types, according to the ingredient used for
their preparation: pisco puro (made from non-aromatic
grapes); pisco aromatico (aromatic); pisco acholado
(distilled from several different grape varieties);
and pisco mosto verde (distilled from grape must that
has yet to be fully ferment).
We hope that you will find out, why
the pisco sour, a cocktail made from pisco, is world