Peruvian Food and Drink (part 2)

As I was only half way through my time in Peru when I wrote part 1 of this, I obviously needed to do a second part to get a chance to write about any food I’ve missed out and new food and drink I’ve had.

 

In my first week in Peru, we had a Pachamanca ceremony. This is a ceremony in which we thank the Pachamama- Mother Earth- for our food. The food is cooked underground- hot wood is placed underground to cook it and its covered over with layers of leaves and soil. When the food is just about ready, you have to throw coca leaves and corn over it to bless it, then dig it up. The food we had from this was delicious- we had lamb, chicken and beef, sweet potatoes, tamales which consist of chicken wrapped in potato wrapped in a leaf and cooked that way. It really was amazing to see it being cooked in such a way.

With this food, we had chicho morado- a drink made from purple sweetcorn, which is quite a traditional Peruvian drink.

 

The practice of Pachamanca is quite common across Peru, and to show your thanks to the Pachamama, you don’t necessarily have to go through the whole ceremony. Simply poring a tiny bit of your drink on the ground before drinking from it is a way of giving thanks to the Pachamama. This isn’t seen as a waste, because it is only the smallest bit of your drink. I saw this being practised frequently by one of our Inca Trail guides.

 

On our final night in Cuzco, we went to a very nice upmarket Peruvian steakhouse. I choose chicken, but there was a range of meats available. When it comes out to you, you get it on a hot stone and finish off cooking it to your satisfaction. It’s quite unique, and it came with a side salad and native potatoes (there was a choice of which form of potatoes to get with it, one that stood out to me was hot chilli and peanut mash). My meal also came with a rather delicious sauce- I’m not entirely sure what it’s called, but I think it was some sort of caramelised vinger. Whatever it was, it was delicious, and if you’re ever in Cuzco, the restaurant is called Uchu, and it’s not far at all from the main square- La plaza de armas.

 

While I was at Uchu, I tried Peruvian wine (for the first time). The wine was called Intipalka, it comes in red and white. I had the red, which was delicious.

A lager I noticed was quite common across Peru was Cusqueña. I never tried it, I mainly stuck to my pisco sours (in ‘Peruvian Food and Drink (part 1)). You can also get pisco sours in shot form, which I found out when celebrating completing the Inca Trail with my group. Just as delicious, but a smaller portion of deliciousness.

I also mentioned alfajores in my previous post about food and drink. As well as being common in Argentina, they are also common here in Peru too. And very delicious.

Empanadas are big across south America too, and also in Peru. These are similar to pasties, though much nicer. It’s basically pastry with just about any sort of filling- you can have just cheese, or cheese and meat, chicken, ham, turkey. They are quite nice.

Quinoa us quite popular in dishes in Peru too. I’ve had quinoa soup a couple of times (once was on the Ccaccaccollo homestay).
Soup in general is quite popular across Peru. As well as quinoa, there’s also criollo soup- this consists of garlic, oregano, spaghetti, pieces of beef and a poached egg. Delicious. It reminded me of the Mediterranean soup my sister once made me.

On the Ccaccaccollo homestay, and for breakfast on the second day of the Inca trail, we had some sort of porridge. I’m not a fan of porridge. We had it with bread both times, and at the homestay it had apple in it. Although it might be traditional quechuan food, I didn’t like it too much. Eating it made me gag a bit.

I think I’ve covered everything I can think of in the way of Peruvian food and drink. I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t manage to try guinea pig, bit if I’m ever in Peru again, I might just do that.

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