6 Ways To Experience Andean Gastronomy in Cusco and the Sacred Valley


Peruvian gastronomy is as diverse as the country’s landscape. Visit the Andes and you’ll be met with an entirely new culinary experience. In this article, we share six ways you can experience true Andean gastronomy during your visit to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.

1. Enjoy a traditional Pachamanca

Surrounded by the astonishing landscape of the Andes mountains, Lake Piuray is located in Cusco amidst trees and farming fields at 3,435 meters above sea level, a special place where your lunch can be a delicious pachamanca: a traditional food that dates back to the time of the Incas, in which different foods such as potatoes, yucca, meats and vegetables are cooked with the help of hot stones inside a hole dug in the ground.

2. Learn how to cook a quinoa recipe in an authentic Andean community

Travelers who visit the Huilloc community can enjoy a gastronomic cultural experience that involves harvesting quinoa from the field, followed by the preparation of a typical dish for lunch using this nutritious Andean grain, and enjoying it at a charming picnic.

3. Taste the unique salt of the Incas

The Incas used to eat a pink salt, unique in the world. It continues to be extracted from the salt mine in the town of Maras, an enchanting place in the Sacred Valley located at 3,360 m.a.s.l., which can be visited by taking a nice hike surrounded by surreal scenery.

4. Sample chocolate, coffee and pisco: a leading trilogy

Start the trilogy off with a visit to the Coffee Museum, where you can watch the process for the preparation of this delicious drink and learn to differentiate its grains, followed by a coffee tasting. Next, visit the Choco Museo, where you can participate in a workshop for pairing chocolate with artisanal beer. End the adventure with a tasting of Peru’s emblematic liquor at República del Pisco.

5. Attend a local cooking class

The culinary experience in Cusco can continue with a visit to the San Pedro Market, to get acquainted with the local products and ingredients. Follow this up with a participatory cooking workshop, of which Cusco has some incredible options, including a rooftop kitchen with a gorgeous view of the city.

6. Dine on haute cuisine in Machu Picchu

Recently renovated, CHULLPI Machupicchu restaurant, located in the beautiful town of Aguas Calientes, offers a proposal of contemporary and stylized Peruvian cuisine in a warm environment with wood as the main element of décor. The use of local products predominates in its signature recipes, to provide travelers with a gratifying culinary experience.

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Diego Oliver is a Peruvian writer and author whose work can be found in the travel magazine Ultimate Journeys. He loves to focus on Peruvian culture both modern and classic, traveling the country, as well as social responsibility.