With being out of the country for ten days I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to cook, something which I wasn’t exactly upset over, so I tried to document some of the tastiest and most interesting food and drink Carlo and I encountered while in Peru. Many of the items are very traditional while others are a fusion and all influenced by the wide variety of cultures that inhabit the coastal country. Anthony Bourdain would be proud…
Let’s start with the beverages…
For anyone who has not been to Peru there are two main rules of beverages; Inca Cola is the greatest thing ever invented and Pisco Sours run a close second. We had plenty of each as they are also the most readily available drinks at every eatery in Peru.
Mate de Coca – this is a mild herbal tea made out of dried coca leaves. It helps to alleviate altitude sickness and is the majority reason why I wasn’t ill during our 4 day stay in Cusco at 10,500ft above sea level.
Now on to a couple breakfasts…what I always deemed as the most important meal of the day is commonly overlooked and more so seen as an early morning snack. The first photo was our first morning in Peru. A rather delicious and caffeinated cappuccino and a small piece of banana bread. Aka dessert.
Small plates – I am a snack-a-holic. I can’t survive from one large meal to the next without several bites of something in between. Below are a few starters, snacks, and “hold me over”s that we had.
Peruvian tamale with chicken, black olives and aji amarillo. Que rico!
Papas a la huancaina – this yellow sauce is spicy and cheese based and smothers my small plate of potatoes
Choclo! – I may love the word more than I love the food. It’s like corn on steroids but more dense and less sweet.
Moving merrily to main dishes! Some of these meals were ordered by my husband as I would not be caught dead eating the wide array of sea creatures he chooses to consume.
Lomo Saltado over Risotto with Huancaina – a delicious way to serve a traditional entree
Ceviche Fusion – fresh white fish served with an aji sauce happily accompanied by some camote and choclo
Causa – wow do I love causa. This yellow potato based dish is stuffed with chicken, avocado and red onions.
Ok I did give in while in Cusco and attempted to order some non-Peruvian food. There were pizzerias on every block and I couldn’t help myself. Not to fear though, despite it’s deceiving appearance it tasted nothing like a margarita pizza. The white cheese was certainly not mozzarella and actually tasted more like swiss. I encountered this cheese many times and just started to call it “Inca cheese”.
Grilled Alpaca – This traditional Cusquenan dish actually tastes very similar to beef. Served here with fried yucca and vegetables
Dieta de pollo is a very mild soup and perfect for your first day in the oxygen limited city of Cusco. Which is exactly when I ate this.
Sopa de quinoa was a delicious soup filled with quinoa, spices and vegetables.
Conchas negras ceviche. This one is a bit out of my seafood comfort zone, if you’d like an opinion you can ask Carlo. I do remember that he smelled like an onion for at least 24 hours after eating this.
Last but certainly not least, my very favorite part of every meal; dessert. Unfortunately I do not have many examples but these notables were thoroughly enjoyed.
Alfajores – These delictible little treats are made from a dulce de leche kind of filling squished between two shortbread cookies. (they are the item in the middle – photo from Bettina’s wedding)
Chocolate mousse swirl cake – enough said.