May 17, 2017 | By Rosie Holliday
Having just returned from an amazing trip to Peru, I am excited to share what I learned and some travel tips!
We started our trip in Lima at the Larco Museum, housing an impressive 45,000 pieces of pottery. We experienced our first of many Pisco Sours (I have a great recipe!) at the lovely outside café.
That evening we had a fabulous evening food tour. We learned that Peruvians seem to be very proud of their produce, though we heard many conflicting statements on what exactly is available in the region. It was noted on our tour that 4,000 varieties of potatoes, 55 types of corn, 300 types of chiles, and 3,000 types of quinoa with five different colors were present. I can attest to the last as I saw these colors growing in a field in the Sacred Valley. I am not sure about the rest but Josselin, our lovely young chef, who took us on the tour seemed to know her business so I’m going with it! Another interesting fact is that Peru is non-GMO, with 84 micro climates and 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables coming from the Amazon. Also, a quick note about Guinea pigs! They are a delicacy in Peru. Gulp!
Our first stop with The Lima Gourmet company was for Pisco Sours at La Trastien which is on the coast, next stop at Amaz where we made our own plantain or trout ceviche. Fabulous! Even the Plantain version. A special stop was at Huaca Pucllana restaurant set among ruins with excavations being subsidized by profits from the restaurant. Then on to Barranco, the funky upcoming district of Lima, for wonderful gelato.
You may have heard that Peru has been experiencing a gastronomy renaissance as it has three of the top restaurants in the world. I felt like we ate our way through the country. We waddled back to the Belmond Miraflores which is the area that most people stay in due to its location to the historic downtown area and its wonderful coastal views.
The Sacred Valley
Next it was onto The Sacred Valley. LOVED it! As our guide said, “Put down the cell phones and just experience it”: serene, peaceful, spectacular scenery, and lovely people. We checked out the Awancancha Textile Center (take your wallet) which had lovely baby alpaca clothing and vicuna if your budget allows! Proceeds go to the local community. It helps to have a guide at Pisac market who can tell you the best stalls to go to. The chocolate is amazing! However, for me the crème de la crème is Hacienda Sarapampa. It is run by a lovely young couple who looked like they stepped out of a Ralph Lauren photo shoot. Yusef’s family has had the property for generations and here they grow the giant corn that the Sacred Valley is famous for. You can buy their corn snacks in Trader Joes.
For accommodations in the Sacred Valley we looked at Inkaterra Urubamba (where I would love to stay next time) and the wonderful Sol y Luna where we did stay. Side story here is that the French woman, who owns this, donates all her profits to a school that she funded for local children. If the wonderful atmosphere, fabulous food and lovely rooms don’t do it, then that alone should be a reason to stay here! The peaceful riverside ambience of the Belmond Sagrado was the setting for an al fresco lunch the next day.
During our stay, we also watched a Marinara dance demonstration where the famous Paso horse seemed to glide and a woman dancer gracefully interacted. Afterwards we had lunch which was a five course affair, small plates menu, set outside with views of the mountains. Could it get better?!
I look forward to sharing more of my experiences in Peru at Machu Picchu and the Amazon. Stay tuned for future posts.