Archive for April, 2011

Spring Rolls with Andean Hot Sauce

Spring Rolls with Andean Hot Sauce

By David Knowlton

Location, they say, is the secret of success for restaurants.  But, sometimes it is grabbing a new concept by the ears and riding it into the dust.  Other times the secret is good service and good food. Fusiones Restaurant has the three: good location, trendy concept, and good food. Read the rest of this entry

From Persia to Inca-ish Peru, Escabeche

Chicken Escabeche, Cuzco

Chicken Escabeche

By David Knowlton

Though Persian in origin, escabeche has become thoroughly Peruvian. And in Cuzco it has morphed again, to become Andean.

Served cold, this dish which combines lightly pickled vegetables with pre-cooked meat that also spends time taking on the flavor of the pickling juice was a hit at the recent Cusco Come–Tukuy Mijuy festival in Cuzco and graced the tables of many homes. Read the rest of this entry

Hot Soup in the Morning

Mutton Knuckle Soup, Cuzco

Mutton Knuckle Soup, Cuzco

By David Knowlton

Cold feels omnipresent in hills and valleys around Cuzco, and especially now that the night time temperatures begin their irresistible march towards freezing and below.   It will not be long before over night frost will pull its bucket of paint and switch the hillsides from green to brown.

In the day, when the sun shines, temperatures soar and people can shed their extra skins, but in the shadows or when a burst of air comes down the hillsides cold can strike the unprepared.

Cold is so real and so feared that at moments of transition, such as from night to day, or at the beginning or end of a meal, people drink something hot, or eat a good soup. Read the rest of this entry


Food for the Saints, Holy Thursday, Cuzco

Food for the Saints, Holy Thursday, Cuzco

By David Knowlton

Ears of corn and freshly harvested potatoes were placed yesterday midday in the Temple of San Sebastian, a suburban and ancient city of Cuzco. Offerings of food to holy figures are not uncommon in Cuzco, following a very old tradition with pre-Colombian roots. But this important one is largely off the radar of the official promoters of tourism which focus mostly on the formal events defined as important by the diocese.

Although Holy Week may focus liturgically on the passion of Christ, it also is a harvest festival in Cuzco. The death of Christ fits into the agricultural society of Cuzco and nearby areas as fitting the birth and death, the planting and harvest, of food crops. It becomes part of ideas and practices about how people get food. Read the rest of this entry

Photos and Videos from Sunday and Monday

Crowd Waiting for Annual Blessing by Taytacha, Cuzco

Crowd Waiting for Annual Blessing by Taytacha, Cuzco


Below you can find photos taken by Eduardo and Walter from Monday’s Blessing, and links to videos of this years procession that are appearing on Youtube. Nothing is more powerful in Cuzco’s life than the annual departure and return of the Lord of the Earthquakes from and to the Cathedral. It is also a very complex event with all kinds of side happenings and customs, including sales of flower petals, crosses of palm fronds and other objects of fronds, as well as family and group gatherings.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry

Thorns, Fish, and Beer: Two Realities

Thorns above Cuzco

Thorns above Cuzco

By David Knowlton and Walter Coraza M.

Fires will burn on Cuzco’s hilltops Thursday night, after which many people will fast and eat traditional food, while others will go to the Cervecería Cuzqueña’s Beer Garden for a contemporary gastronomic festival featuring fish.   Two realities, one traditional with deep Inca and Catholic roots, and the other contemporary and promotional, will twine together two different strands of Cuzco’s divided wool as Holy Week continues.   Read the rest of this entry

Lord of Earthquakes, Cuzco

Lord of Earthquakes, Cuzco

By David Knowlton

Cuzco’s population will fill the city center today like no other time in the year.  It will feel as if the entire city has gathered in the city center, though it may only be about a fifth of the total. There will be people everywhere. Tourists will disappear in the throng of Cusqueños.

Unlike other times when lots of people crowd the town’s center, today there will not be bouncy music and colorful dancing. There will be music and the Cathedral bells will peal. But the tone will be solemn, since today the patron saint of Cuzco, the Lord of the Earthquakes (el Señor de los Temblores), will leave the Cathedral, where he stays all year as a great center of ritual and devotion that organizes the city, to make his rounds before blessing the crowds and, after night has fallen, reenter the Cathedral for another year. Read the rest of this entry

Holy Week Begins; Rosemary, Corn and Cuy

Selling Crosses of Palm Frond and Rosemary, Cuzco

Selling Crosses of Palm Frond and Rosemary, Cuzco

Today is Palm Sunday in Cuzco, the beginning of Holy Week. Though a city with deep currents of Inca culture, Cuzco is also a very Catholic city. The two traditions are like one of the handwoven belts sold by countless women on the Plaza de Armas; they are closely interwoven and form ever intriguing designs.

Though a Holy Day, today a gastronomic festival is also being held in a suburban city, with its own ancient tradition, San Jeronimo. Beginning today, the Festival del Sabor Andino, will be held on Sundays, to promote the gastronomic culture of the south end of the Cuzco Valley for tourists. People can go to its main plaza, a short taxi ride from downtown Cuzco, to try varied dishes such as chiriuchu, capchi de setas, and cuy al horno. Read the rest of this entry

Saylla, Cuzco's Capital of Chicharron

Saylla, Cuzco's Capital of Chicharron

By Walter Coraza M.
Translated by David Knowlton

Along highways throughout Peru different towns specialize in different food.   As a result, traveling is to eat your way across the geography.  In this way, different foods seem to spring from different mountains and specific valleys.

Where the Cuzco Valley narrows to a canyon through which the Huatanay River plunges sits one such town, Saylla.  Once an ancient Inca settlement, and then a colonial town, Saylla now stretches along the main highway connecting the city of Cuzco with the populous and economically important highlands.  All traffic goes through here and many people stop for deep-fried pork called chicharrón for which the town is famous. Read the rest of this entry

Frutillada, Cuzco

Frutillada, Cuzco

By Walter Coraza M. and David Knowlton

As the rainy season draws to a close, many things will change in Cuzco. The skies will no longer share the drama of clouds stumbling into each other and shouting in rage. The hills around the city will begin browning, and strawberries will begin to be rare.

In Chicherias throughout the city, such as in La Chomba, during this season people have been enjoying a classic Cuzco drink, frutillada — a blending of corn chicha and fresh strawberries. Delicious and envigorating, it holds amidst its foam and light buzz a complex history. Read the rest of this entry

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