Food Culture Archives

The Game of the Gods

Sapo, a Traditional Game of Cusco's Chicherias (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Sapo, a Traditional Game of Cusco’s Chicherias (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Walter Coraza Morveli

El Sapo, the Toad, is a special game played afternoons in the traditional chicherías and picanterías of Cuzco while enjoying a foamy and refreshing chicha of jora, or corn chicha, called “sumaq aqha” in Quechua.

The enjoyable game is about getting coins of bronze into the mouth of the toad from a distance of six meters away. The toad is on a wooden box with four legs where, on its surface there are also other slots. Each of these and the toad’s mouth carry points which are counted in order to name a winner. Read the rest of this entry

Food in the Markets Pleases

Menu List in San Pedro Market

Menu List in San Pedro Market

Brayan Coraza Morveli

The food section of our markets fills with people daily. They come to look for something to eat or simply out of curiosity. Stands that serve up hot, prepared food are open from early in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon, more or less, beginning with breakfast and ending with lunch.

Everyday the stands open to the public so the public can enjoy all the daily food offerings. While some places always offer the same thing, such as rice with egg, others change their offerings every day. Some have a fixed clientele and it is clear why. People love their food. Read the rest of this entry

The Bread Babies’ Festival and Month

A Bread Baby in Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

A Bread Baby in Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Brayan Coraza Morveli

Days before the dates, the preparation begins for the fairs and festivals in which this food will be offered. Cuzco’s community ovens and bakeries begin the preparations by making up bread babies which are very popular and much loved by Cuzco’s people. They cannot be missing from any table or home in the city.

The sale of bread babies is carried out in the different plazas of the city, such the Plaza San Francisco, the San Jeronimo, the San Sebastian, and in the district of Oropesa also known as the district of bread. Fairs and festivals are organized for those places and in them you can enjoy the different decorations each bakery creates for their bread and the amazing flavors of the bread. Read the rest of this entry

Eating, Drinking, and Singing with the Dead

Almudena Cemetery (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Almudena Cemetery (Walter Coraza Morveli)

By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Today is the 2nd of November and we celebrate all our people who no longer live.People will go from their homes, today, to the cemeteries and visit their loved ones who have gone into the beyond.

On this day, all of our cemeteries will fill with life, as on no other day. People who never thought to give any living person a bunch of flowers or sing songs to their loved ones will do so today. They will be seated before he tombs talking for all the time they need.
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By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Cuzco Celebrates the Day of Its Traditional Dish, Lechón (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cuzco Celebrates the Day of Its Traditional Dish, Lechón (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Today, the first of November we celebrate the feast of todos santos, All Souls, in the city. On this day we feast all the people who are still in the earthly domain. Tomorrow, the second of November, we feast all of those who have left this world.

Today we will typically enjoy a meal of lechón (roast pork) with tamales and the ever present pan wawa (bread baby) and the pan caballo (bread horse). Everyone will eat some of this delicious food. Read the rest of this entry

The National Day of the Cuy, Guinea Pig

Cuzco's Favorite Dish, Roasted Guinea Pig  (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cuzco’s Favorite Dish, Roasted Guinea Pig (Walter Coraza Morveli)

By Brayan Coraza Morveli

The cuy, or guinea pig, is an animal that has great importance in the culture of Peru’s Andes, since it is used to make the most important, typical dishes of our region.

Since the time of our ancestors, the cuy has become the flagship animal of our country. It symbolizes Peru. This is because of its flavor and its inclusion in contemporary Peruvian gastronomy that has now reached much of the world and is now popular and well recognized. Read the rest of this entry

Cusco's Condiments Are the Secret of  Their Food (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cusco’s Condiments Are the Secrets of Their Food (Walter Coraza Morveli)

By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Gastronomy is evolving more every day. This is due to the work of our chefs who work to innovate new dishes and ways of cooking in our region. It is also due to the wondrous substances that the chefs add to each of their concoctions, called condimentos, herbs and spices. There are various kinds of seasonings, each with a different flavor and even a different color. These flavorings are necessary for any kitchen and every food preparation. Read the rest of this entry

Tradition and Faith in San Jerónimo

By Walter Coraza Morveli

San Geronimo Anniversary (Walter Coraza Morveli)

San Geronimo Anniversary (Walter Coraza Morveli)

On a rainy day Cuzco’s historic district of San Jerónimo celebrated its anniversary. Despite the rain storm the festivities went ahead. Many people said the rain was the blessing of their patron, the Dr. Saint Jerome, or San Jerónimo.

The rain did not impede at all enjoying the festival of food, the folkloric dances and the amazing musical bands who enlivened and heated up a chilly afternoon. As you might expect, they vendors offered up a delicious chiriuchu, which is traditional for this celebration. Read the rest of this entry

The Famous Picantes and Chicha of Cuzco

By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Time of "Picante" in the Chicheria

Time of “Picante” in the Chicheria (Fernando Delgado Aguirre)

Cuzco’s afternoons are every more beautiful as the rains get stronger. The combination of showers with son forms bars of colors we call arcoiris, or rainbow. During this time is when we are most like to see this figure that was so important to our ancestors that they venerated it.

During the afternoon, people go out to refresh their palate with a delicious Andean beverage called chicha. Both the normal corn chicha, called chicha de jora, and the version with strawberries, called frutillada, are drinks our people tend to have every day of the year. Read the rest of this entry

Cusco's Famous Dish "Chiriuchu" (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cusco’s Famous Dish “Chiriuchu” (Walter Coraza Morveli)

By David Knowlton

Most of the dishes we take for granted originated in elite kitchens and then spread to other tables over centuries, observed Dan Jurafsky in a splendid book about language, history, and food. This got me thinking and made me wonder about Peruvian food, especially about the ordinary cooking of working class or rural peoples.

There are lots of elite-origin dishes in Peruvian cuisine, whether they originated in the country or abroad. However, the country also has a strong history of cooking among its indigenous peoples who up until recently formed the majority of Peru’s population and generally were not elites. These are the same people who domesticated the amazing array of potatoes, and other fruit and vegetables that is so celebrated today. Read the rest of this entry

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