The United Nations and a handful of South American countries, including Peru declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa.” But what makes this Incan superfood so super?
The Incas didn’t just build Macchu Picchu, they also discovered quinoa, which is regaled today as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and which you can eat on our culinary tours to Peru. The Incas called quinoa chisiya mama (mother grain), as this high-protein, gluten-free, low-in-sugar super grain made up a large part of their diet. Potatoes and maize were also important mainstays.
As for quinoa, it packs quite the nutritional punch, as it includes calcium and protein as well as a number of life-sustaining nutrients and minerals, like amino acids, magnesium and folate. In the kitchen, quinoa can be cooked like rice and used in a variety of applications, prompting many to predict that it’s going to be as popular as soy, if not more so.
Referred to as the “golden grain of the Incas,” quinoa is actually a seed that continues to be cultivated in the high altitude of the Peruvian Andean mountains, where the Incas once made their home. Today, its readily available in many U.S. grocery stores, which makes replicating the dishes you learn on our Peru cooking vacations super easy!
During our Peru culinary vacation in Peru and Bolivia visit the historical capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco; tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas; and venture into the mountains to see the ruins of Macchu Picchu. This trip will also take you to Lima, Peru, as well as Bolivia, and it includes 4 cooking classes and a number of meals, which may just include the famous dish of quinoa!
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By Liz Hall
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