Peruvian gastronomy is as diverse as the country’s landscape. Visit the Andes and you’ll be met with a unique culinary experience. These are the 6 ways to experience Andean cuisine during your visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
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. This is a special place to enjoy a delicious pachamanca (Pacha in quechua means earth, and manca means pot) for lunch.
Pachamanca is a traditional dish that is cooked in an earthen stove, called a huatia, with the help of hot stones. This way of cooking dates back to the time of the Inca and includes different foods such as potatoes, yucca, meats and vegetables.
2. Learn how to cook quinoa in an Andean community
Travelers who visit the Huilloc community in the Sacred Valley 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 in a charming picnic. Learn more about visit Huilloc here.
3. Taste the unique salt of the Incas
The Incas extracted salt from the salty water that emerged from an underground stream in the town of Maras, an enchanting place in the Sacred Valley located at 3,360 m.a.s.l. The Maras salt mines continue to work and can be visited by taking a pleasant hike in the valley.
4. Sample chocolate, coffee and pisco
When in Cusco city, start of your gastronomic tour with a visit to the Coffee Museum, where you can learn to differentiate grains, watch the roasting process and enjoy a coffee tasting. Next, visit the Choco Museo, where you can participate in a workshop to learn how chocolate is made from cacao and how to pair chocolate with craft beers. End your culinary adventure with a tasting of pisco, Peru’s emblematic liquor, at the Museo de Pisco or República del Pisco.
5. Attend an Andean cuisine cooking class
Your Andean cuisine experience in Cusco can continue with a visit to the San Pedro Market, where you will get acquainted with local produce and ingredients. Follow up with a participatory cooking workshop, Cusco has many incredible offers, including workshops in rooftop kitchen with gorgeous views of the city.
6. Dine on haute cuisine in Machu Picchu
The recently renovated restaurant Chullpi – Machu Picchu is located in the town of Aguas Calientes, right below the Inca citadel. It offers contemporary and innovative dishes using local products. This Andean cuisine experience will delight and gratify travelers after a morning of exploring Machu Picchu.
Cover photo: Global Crop Diversity Trust/Flickr:
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