A Square of Delights, the Tupac Amaru Fair
By Walter Coraza Morveli (Translated by David Knowlton)
An Andean Mall, the weekly Tupac Amaru fair offers a great variety of goods as well as providing the largest gastronomic fair in the city of Cuzco. Besides pleasing demanding palates, the fair also offers fun. One can shop, dance, and laugh.
Cuzco does not have a standard mall, like found in Lima and other large cities of the world, where you can find goods to meet your needs, have fun, and find good food. But do not mistake, it does have a mall in its outdoor, weekly fairs. The one held every Saturday in its beautiful Tupac Amaru Plaza may well be the best. The plaza has a large statue of the hero Tupac Amaru on horseback as someone who gave the call to fight to abolish Spanish rule. He fought for an independent Peru. From very early each Saturday morning vendors take their places in order to receive all those people who do not work that day and little by little fill the square.
The Tupac Amaru fair offers a little bit of everything. We can find goods of wool, porcelain, straw that are hand made as well as a whole range of handicrafts. On another corner vendors sell plants to bring color and joy to homes and gardens. Almost in the middle of the square we find pets for sale, such as native birds, hamsters, rabbits, as well as tools. We could say one can find everything in this fair.
Because of the large numbers of people who come, some Saturdays businesses and other entities organize musical events and other happenings. It is a great way of advertising your products to a large and interested public. By giving people fun they have found a useful way to bring attention to their business or products.
Other times the events are organized by the official organization DIRCETUR Cuzco when they bring groups or events to the city and also have them perform for a more general public in the Tupac Amaru square.
In the fair we can also find a great range of cheeses and breads which come from Oropesa and Anta, among others, as well as other foods.
Non-Governmental Organizations also make use of the fair to bring their campaigns and services to the public. Sometimes the program Cuscolee, or Cuzcoreads, is carried out through an exhibition of the latest publications of books as well as used volumes.
In any case we can always find something here to enchant everyone. These are the desserts located on a well-known and well-travelled corner. A whole range, if not an infinity, of flavors is offered to the public every Saturday. These include the famous pastel de choclo (corn pie) which appears when fresh corn is in season, the torta de tres leches or three milk cake, peaches, oranges, etc., as well as a dulce de fresa or strawberry sweet made from lots of strawberries and honey. There also are natural yogurts made in a variety of flavors.
If the day is sunny and warm, there will be a woman who will offer us artisan ice cream made from fresh fruit. Not only can we get one flavor, we can also combine them in a cup or cone.
By wandering through, among the stands, we can appreciate all that is new and a novelty found in this fair. Hunger will strike us from the mixture of smells and sights. We have now reached the place of prepared foods. On the front of the square we find a space dedicated Cuzco’s traditional food. We only have to take a single step through here to perceive a world of multicolored flavors and make us wish we could try a bit of everything.
We see before us the delicious baked trout with their noodles and rocoto relleno (stuffed hot pepper) made right there in a wood-fired oven. If we look to the left we find cuyes al horno (roast guinea pigs) accompanied by huayro potatoes and their famous uchukuta. We might also find the amazing chiriucho, an escabeche de pollo (chicken in escabeche), and even the famous ceviche. If we look to the right we find the seco de cabrito (goat stew), arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), the kancacho (roast lamb), and even anticuchos de corazon (beef heart shishkebabs) as well as a range of meat.
We haven’t even described what we can find further on. For a good reason it is said that Peruvian cuisine is a rich and varied as its people. We prove that here, even though this is just a small little part of Peru.
Well, this may not be a modern glass and steel building like the malls we find in large cities of Peru, but it offers us everything we could want in a tranquil place where we can enjoy our day just by wandering through the stands, listening to the laughter, sharing the music, tasting Peruvian food, and just have a good time whether alone or with our family.
Tagged with: Anticuchos • chiriuchu • desserts • escabeche • Fairs • fun • Gastronomic Fair • guinea pig • ice cream • strawberries • tradition • trout • Tupac Amaru • Tupac Amaru Plaza • typical food • yogurt
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