Heading South: A Culinary Vacation to Magical Lima in Peru
While we offer a plethora of cooking vacations in Europe, don’t overlook South America, where a cooking vacation in Peru will not only take you to magical places, but you’ll also feast on fabulous dishes influenced by a variety of cultures, including European, Asian, Andean, and Spanish.
Peru may be known for Machu Picchu, which you will visit on this trip, but the country is clearly a melting pot of cultures that also has roots in Spanish culture, considering the city of Lima was founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro.
Now, the historical city of Lima is the capital and home to about one-third of the country’s population. As such, there’s so much to explore — especially in regards to the cuisine, from popular cevicherias to a plethora of Chinese restaurants to award-winning Andean restaurants.
A South American Cooking Vacation: “Taste of Peru”
With Lima’s position near the Pacific Ocean, amazingly fresh seafood is often the basis for some delicious gourmet meals. Along with octopus, lobsters, and crabs, you’ll get to experience the exotic fruits and vegetables first hand on a gourmet tour of the local market before your cooking class during a Taste of Peru. Touch, taste, smell, and pick out ingredients from both the Andes and the jungle for your cooking class.
In addition to making local cuisine, you can also enjoy a gourmet meal at one of the world’s 50 best restaurants (as named by Restaurant magazine in 2012). If you venture to Astrid & Gaston, which was opened by a husband and wife team in the early 1990s, you will experience some of Peru’s most delicious cuisine. While the two chefs have a French culinary background, they quickly infused local culture and flavors into their setting and dishes. Try the 11-course tasting dinner, which includes traditional dishes such as choclito (Peruvian white corn) and canelón coqueto (a cannelloni packed with exotic flavors).
A trip to Peru is not complete without learning about the most famous national dish of all: ceviche. While the origins of this dish are technically disputed between Ecuador and Peru, it’s accepted that the dish really found a home in Peru. As one Peruvian recounts, some English-speaking people saw fishermen eating fish right out of the sea with just some lemon and salt, and they said, “See the beach.” Unable to repeat this English phrase, the locals interpreted it as “ceviche” instead.
No matter the origins, ceviche may be a simple dish, but one that has a lot of different flavor combinations. Learn about crafting those flavors during your cooking vacation and discover how to prepare the best ceviche using some of the best seafood in the world. As with on our other Peru cooking vacations, you will enjoy laid back cooking courses that focuses on learning about and understanding the ingredients. Of course, you get to eat what you create once the lessons are over too!
By Peg Kern
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