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Potatoes, Popcorn and Peru

Today's cooking lesson....

sunny 20 °C

People may not think of Peru when it comes to food but the country is home to outstanding culinary delights and some unusual and local foods. Our guide tells us that Peruvian cuisine is second only to France

First, you need to know that Peru has about 3000 varieties of potatoes in the country. There are a few common varieties that are generally served in the cities and towns. Most of the others are grown in small communities. It seems that Peru has the perfect climate for growing so many potatoes. They also dehydrate some versions to save for future use. we were told this is not the tastiest way to enjoy potatoes.

Pisco sours - the local drink is Pisco Sours. I believe I have written about these local specialties. The more we try the better we like them.

Popcorn - did you know that popcorn originated in Peru?

Corn- next to potatoes, corn is the other major crop. Just like potatoes there are many varieties, including a jumbo version that is sold in a boiling pot in a lot of stalls. Aside from rice pudding, the other major dessert is purple corn pudding, a jello like pudding using Purple corn. It has an interesting texture, to say the least. They also deep fry the kernels to make a Peruvian version of our corn nuts - Maiz Chullpi. Corn is also used to color some of the yarn used at the women's weaving project.

Coffee - we learned that Peru grows a large volume of coffee but does not export it directly to the world. They sell it to Columbia who then packages it and sells it to the world. Go figure.

Cheese - The Peruvians make some of the most excellent cheeses, mostly salty versions with a feta like texture. They also have another cheese that is similar to the Greek Saganaki. It also makes excellent pizza.

Cerversa - the local brew is Cusqueña. They have a bit of a monopoly however we have tried the 1.1 litres of Pilser, brewed since 1863. I know that because we are sampling one of those right now! :)

Coca tea....we forgot to talk about the local brew in Peru, coca tea. It is said to have ingredients that help the effects of altitude sickness. Not all coca tea is the same. The most traditional type is a large handful of fresh coca leaves in a teapot with boiling water. It is quite delicious and seems to work well. I think it tastes like green tea. The coca leaves are sold in bags in the market and can be chewed. And of course, there is also coca candies.

Cuy is also a local dish that some of the students tried. Yes, guinea pig is served in many restaurants. I was dining at a different place that night soon pictures of this yet. I did hear comments that it was quite tasty. The other meat dish seen quite often on the menu is alpaca.

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I will leave you today with a photo that shows the care and flare that is used when serving food here.

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Posted by jonaway 04:47 Archived in Peru

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I am following your blog and I am enjoying it very much. Can't wait to hear all the stories well Kelly returns.

by Deb Stephen

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