Peruvian cuisine has evolved over many centuries of migration, immigration, conquests and revolution to fascinating modern day menus that skilfully combine contemporary and traditional.
This approach has recently sparked a culinary revolution that is taking the West by storm. Restaurants are opening up in many cities worldwide showcasing this relatively unknown synthesis of ingredients and flavours.
Peruvian chefs abide by the ancient natural laws of sustainability. They incorporate this fundamental belief bestowed upon them by Pachamama into modern day gourmet cooking by using products that are in season and locally sourced.
Traditional Peruvian Cooking
Historically regional variations have played a large factor in determining what food was available in which area. For instance those living in coastal locations would have a diet that was high in fish, whilst those in the mountains had a diet rich in root vegetables as the climate was conducive to growing them.
These regional variations still exist in the modern day Peru with many unable to afford transported goods and reliant on growing their own products which they can sell or barter with any surplus.
Race and ethnicity have also been influences on Peruvian food over the years. For instance the influx of Japanese and Chinese immigrants in the 1980s has created a strong market for Asian food within Peru.
Ceviche is a refreshing seafood dish that can be served as an appetiser or a main course. There are lots of regional variations of the dish, but the traditional ceviche is made with raw seafood that has been marinated in either lemon or lime juice, leaving it tasting like it has been cooked. Onions, spices, and chilli are often added for flavour. Ceviche is often served with sweet potato, corn on the cob or popcorn as an accompaniment.
Quinoa is a delightful gluten free nutty grain rich in protein and iron. Ideal growing conditions for this grain can be found in the Andes. Quinoa can be used as a cereal, or to add substance to soup and stews. Contemporary dishes mix it with different ingredients to form a similar dish to that of a creamy risotto.
The three distinct regions and micro-climates produce lots of exotic and interesting fruits.
Carambola (starfruit) and camu camu – (a red purple cherry like fruit) and the physalis are all examples of these. These fruit are often used to make scrumptious juices and delicious ice creams.
If you’re looking for something with a kick, the national cocktail will not let you down. The Pisco Sour is a cocktail made with Peruvian Grape brandy, sugar, lemon juice and egg whites. The cocktail has a bite to its frothy and limey finish.
|January 1st||New Year|
|February 2nd||Candlemas – Puno celebrates its patroness with folklore celebrations.|
|March||Carnival – a week long party that includes water fights, fancy dress, drinking, dancing and everything in excess.|
|April||Holy Week – Religious week filled with Processions and masses. The highlight being the Good Friday Passion of the Christ processions.|
|May 1st||Labour Day|
|June||Corpus Christi – A religious festival celebrated 60 days after Easter. In Cusco there is a large colourful procession with hymns and prayers.|
24th – Inti Raymi – A Pre-Hispanic ceremony of the Sun God. The evening is filled with partying in Cusco.
29th – San Pedro y San Pablo.
|July 28 – 29th||Peru Independence Day 0-0- A day of military processions, flags, national anthems, bullfighting, cockfighting and partying nationwide.|
|August||Arequipa’s Anniversary – Dancing, parties, exhibitions, parades all month.|
25th In Cusco. Warichuacuy – enactment of killing Inca king followed by parties and competitive physical skills trials at Sacsayhuamán.
|October||Lord of the Miracles festival in lima. Huge procession led by the Pachacamilla Christ Brotherhood carrying a wooden platform with image of original cave painting from 1650. Followed by thousands of habit wearing people.|
|November||1st – All saints Day. Families congregate in cemeteries to remember the deceased and eat typical food.|
5th – Manco Capac – First Inca King that emerged out of Lake Titicaca and formed Incan Empire. Exhibitions, talks, sport competitions and parties.
|December||8th – Feast of immaculate conception.|
25th – Christmas.
Lima handicraft Fair all month.