Peru Culinary Trip: Christmas Cooking Traditions and La Nochebuena

Like many other countries we’ve featured in our blog, Peruvians have their own Christmas traditions that have been passed on for generations. You can discover some of these traditions by participating in one of our culinary vacations to this amazing South American country, one of the best destinations for a culinary vacation.

In Peru, the big celebration takes place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day.  Christmas Eve is referred to as La Nochebuena in Peru’s native language of Spanish.

See all our cooking vacations in Peru.

Before midnight arrives on La Nochebuena, Peruvians can be found in their homes cooking roasted turkey as their main course. Tamales are often served as a side dish. Tamales are made of maza (corn) and are usually filled with chicken, fruits, or cheese.

No meal would be complete without dessert of course!  Sweets which include hot chocolate, applesauce, and panetón are the most traditional. Panetón is a sweet bread originally of Italian origin (where it is called panettone) that has become popular in Peru through Italian immigration.  Much of the food that can be found on the Peruvian Christmas table will have a gastronomic flare, including the option for aji, a traditional Peruvian hot sauce. Cuidado (careful)! If you don’t like a little kick to your meal, you may be taken aback by the spiciness of the aji.

Come try your hand at making seasonal food on a culinary trip, such as our cooking vacation Taste of Peru, which can be tailored to making dishes that are specific to Peru’s Christmas traditions.

Feliz Navidad!

By Liz SanFilippo Hall

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