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 trip to 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.
Background on Lima, Peru
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: “Magical Peruvian Adventure”
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 “Magical Peruvian Adventure.” 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). On day two of your Peruvian culinary vacation, venture to Astrid & Gaston, which was opened by a husband and wife team in the early 1990s. While the two chefs have a French culinary background, they quickly infused local culture and flavors into their setting and dishes. Experience an 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 on day three of your cooking vacation, when Don Cucho La Rosa will welcome you to his kitchen to teach you about preparing the best ceviche using some of the best seafood in the world. As with your other Peru cooking classes, it’s a laid-back course that focuses on learning about and understanding the ingredients. Of course, you’ll get to eat what you create once the lesson is over too.
For more about The International Kitchen’s “Magical Peruvian Adventure,” including more information about the second city on the trip, Cusco, visit our Website here.By Liz SanFilippo Hall