Peru has an abundance of fresh food and Peruvians eat their traditional dishes on an every day basis. The sea (Pacific Ocean) and the rivers coming down to the coast provide a variety of fish and shell fish. The plentiful supply of water from the Andes – despite the arid and dry terrain allows for production of a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, of which some we have not seem before or even thought to eat (eg. cactus fruit) and others that are very familiar. The allevial soil washed down from the mountains combined with plenty of water and a moderate to hot climate can only provide the best.
Grains and cereals and abundant – grown on the small terraces everywhere – oats, wheat, corn,quinoa, and rice are all used in a large variety of ways – breads, cakes, snacks, drinks and soups. Dried beans feature frequently in soups and sauces.
Beef cattle are raised again on terraces, alpaca graze on more open areas, guinea pigs are raised domestically and some lamb on the terraces. All are used in feasts of deliscious dishes put before us!
Most drinks are familiar to us, but the particular ones specific to Peru include Andes Cola (lite creamy passiona mix) a purple drink made from black corn (yummy) and cocoa tea used extensively at high altitude to overcome or prevent altitude sickness. Not a bad drop if not too strong, and then it requires a little sugar.
There has been little evidence of junk food – the Peruvians eat fresh and local. There is a lesson here. Donations of sweets are not encouraged to children who have had a photo take – a toy or novelty item instead is advised and definately no money.
The main meal of the day is lunch consisiting of soups, mains and maybe a dessert – in a huge bowl with protein, carbs and vegetable all thrown in together. Dinner is light (except for tourists) – perhaps a bowl of soup is enough.
Next Food for thought will include some sample Peruvian feasts and comments from the group on the “unusual”. I just could not come to eating a type of potato dish laced with chillies.
There is a small dairy industry in the south and the milk used purily for cheese and yoghut which is drunk daily and my kind of drink absolutely delicious!! Peruvians only use milk for thinning soups. I hope you have enjoyed reading about foods available in Peru
THE GOURMET TRAVELLER
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