Food Culture Archives

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

The Fixed Menu for Lunch Thrills Cuzco’s People

By Brayan Coraza Morveli

Cusco's Menu List (Wayra)

Menu List in Cusco (Wayra)

Each day at midday people go to eat lunch and recover the energies they have expended during their morning at work or school. Sometimes they go home and other times they go to a close by restaurant to enjoy a meal to calm their hunger.

What they expect is to enjoy a delicious lunch, almuerzo, and to not have to eat the very same food every day. They want variety. Many people are accustomed to their family recipes and the flavor they give which one can enjoy without tiring.

At the same time each family has its recipes and flavors, the restaurants also have theirs. Many people either prefer or are accustomed to eating their noon meal in one of these places that dot Cuzco. They have many reasons for this, such as not having time to cook or to return home from work and then go back Read the rest of this entry

Noodles Delight and Inspire Creativity in Cuzco

By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Enticing Tallarin Saltado from Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Enticing Tallarin Saltado from Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

We have a wide range of dishes in Cuzco, both typical and not typical, that are prepared daily by our chefs. Thanks to the great variety of foods that is grown nearby, our cooks are constantly innovating new offerings. They constantly give us new delights.

We have dishes for special moments, such as when, for example, you celebrate a birthday. On those days it is common to have a roast chicken (pollo al horno) along with a Russian salad (ensalada rusa) and out hot sauce (uchukuta) that can never be missing from a table. Read the rest of this entry

Sharing Cuzco with Trevor

By Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Trevor in Tres Cruces, Paucartambo, Cusco (Arnold Fernandez)

Trevor in Tres Cruces, Paucartambo, Cusco (Arnold Fernandez)

Two months ago I had the opportunity to meet Trevor. He was a very friendly guy who had come to Cuzco from the United States, the state of Ohio. We met in Maximo Nivel, a language school, through their Tandem program. That is one of the benefits of studying there. In it a student of English can practice their English with a native speaking foreigner while they get to practice the Spanish they are learning with you.

We worked together in Tandem for almost a month. Every day we would practice for an hour. Sometimes, though, we would stay much longer, learning things from one another and drinking cups of coffee. Read the rest of this entry

The Reason for Eating

By Shawn Dallas Stradley

Uchukuta, Cuzco's Hot Sauce (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Uchukuta, Cuzco’s Hot Sauce (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Walk into a restaurant. Sit down. Review the menu. Order food in Spanish or in English, or a tourist mix of both. Wait.

This sequence is similar to everywhere else in the world. The ordered food will begin to arrive, along with a small dish or two not ordered the condiment.  It  is the reason for the rest of the food. Aji. Read the rest of this entry

“It Was the Custom. You Had to Follow It.”

Cheers, Beer and a Glass (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cheers, Beer and a Glass (Walter Coraza Morveli)

By David Knowlton

“Something I just do not like is people sharing the same glass,” insisted an intense woman and nurse who had just returned from the annual fiesta in her native town of Coya and would soon be returning to Lima.

We sat around the table at a family Sunday lunch high on the slopes above Cuzco in a new neighborhood. Many homes were simple squares of wood or piles of bricks with no cement yet. From a bit away we could hear the bouncing music of a parrillada, a grill set up to celebrate the community’s anniversary, I think it was the second one. Proceeds, if I remember correctly, were to go toward bringing electricity and running water to the people. Read the rest of this entry

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