Taste of Peru: 1-Week South America Culinary Vacation
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Taste of Peru
Lima and Cusco, Peru

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About the location: Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world and is on par with French, Chinese and Indian cuisine. Thanks to its many influences, from pre-Inca and Inca heritage to Spanish, Basque, African, Cantonese, Japanese and finally Italian, French and British immigration (mainly throughout the 19th century), Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents, making it an ideal spot for culinary vacations in South America. With the eclectic variety of traditional dishes, the Peruvian culinary arts are in constant evolution and impossible to list in their entirety. Suffice it to mention that along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups, and that there are more than 250 traditional desserts.

Your week-long culinary tour in this amazing country will take place in Lima and Cusco. The history of Lima, the capital of Peru, began with its foundation by Francisco Pizarro in 1535. The city was established on the valley of the Rímac river, and it became the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Currently a vast metropolitan city, with around one-third of the Peruvian population living in the metropolitan area, Lima still retains its deep roots in Spanish colonial style and architecture. Strongly influenced by European, Andean, and Asian culture, Lima is a melting pot of cultures due to colonization, immigration, and indigenous influences. Like many other world capitals, Lima is home to prestigious museums and cultural sites, many of which are world renowned.

Situated at 11,151 feet, Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. The name Cusco is derived from the Quechua phrase “qusqu wanka” which means “rock of the owl.” The original Incan city, said to have been founded in the 11th century, was sacked by Pizarro in 1535. There are still remains, however, of the palace of the Incas the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun. Today Cusco is the most important tourist destination in Peru and home to one of the newly selected seven wonders of the world: Machu Picchu.

During your Peru cooking school vacation, you will have the unique opportunity to dine in and experience both the traditional city of Lima and the magical capital city of the Inca’s, Cusco. Both cities will offer you a very rich, yet entirely different cultural and gastronomic experience for you to savour. Whether it’s experiencing the richness of Peruvian natural resources in their purest form during a visit to the market in Lima, or feeling the spiritual awakening of seeing the majesty of Machu Picchu, both cities will be sure to leave you with a sense of enlightenment.

About the lessons: During your four hands-on cooking classes you will have the luxury of working with some of Peru’s greatest and most accomplished culinary pioneers. Their varied expertise will be showcased in the hands-on cooking classes you will receive. You will have the opportunity to participate in walking city tours of both Lima and Cusco. Lima is a historical city and during your walking tour you will gain valuable insight as to the traditions—both gastronomic and cultural— found on every street corner. In Cusco you will need to bring a camera to capture the magic of the main Cathedral or the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Cooking classes are laid back with an emphasis on learning the importance of the ingredients, as well as the methods and traditions of preparing them. They are always great fun and informal.

Your culinary vacation in Peru is a week of exquisite food in two historically and culturally rich cities, with plenty of time to unwind and relax with your fellow Peruvian culinary enthusiasts.

Taste of Peru Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival at Jorge Chavez International airport. Transfer to Lima hotel and check in.
  • Rest of the day and evening on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Following breakfast and a brief orientation, you will embark on your first culinary tour at the local market.
  • Upon arrival, you will participate in our fruit festival where you will have the opportunity to taste traditional and exotic fruits. After this, you will take part in your very own culinary mission at the market, in which you will be required to pick, purchase and even negotiate with local vendors all on your own! Your mission will be to pick the ingredients to prepare a famous Peruvian dish.
  • Immediately following, you will attend your first hands-on cooking class where you learn to prepare 3 of the most important Peruvian dishes, such as causa limeña, lomo saltado, and suspiro a la limeña.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • Afternoon on your own.
  • Tonight’s dinner is at a top restaurant in Lima, Casa Moreyra Astrid & Gaston. The celebrated restaurant is an unforgettable experience, as the menu is designed by famed Chef Gaston Acurio and leads diners through a journey of Peruvian culinary traditions through a traditional tasting menu.
  • Transportation back to Lima hotel.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, embark on your second hands-on class to learn how to prepare the most famous Peruvian dish: “Ceviche,” and some other variations. During your “Ceviche Feast,” renowned Chef Cucho La Rosa will teach you the experience and knowledge required to prepare the best ceviche and related dishes such as “tiradito,” and all seafood combinations.
  • Afterwards, return to the hotel with some time at leisure before leaving for your Pisco tasting (the national drink of Peru) and Amazon fusion dinner at Malabar restaurant, where chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino will prepare a special tasting feast for the senses. Some dishes you may try include fish cured by masato, huatiada potato, paiche dried and black pepper, pork belly and achira, and chirimoya and avocado.
  • Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 4

  • After breakfast, you will depart for the airport en route to the magical City of Cusco.
  • Once in Cusco, you will check in to the hotel, where you will have lunch.
  • After lunch, you will embark on your guided city tour of Cusco. During this tour you will visit the Cathedral, the Sacsayhuaman ruins and the Korikancha temple, among other historical sites.
  • Tonight, dinner is on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 5

  • Breakfast as the hotel, followed by your guided tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco. Your tour includes a visit of the beautiful Incan village and fortress of Ollantaytambo, with a quick stop at the Quechua village of Chinchero and the Awanacancha Llama farm.
  • A home-style Cusquenian 3-course lunch in the Urubamba Valley.
  • After lunch, you will resume your tour with a very special visit to the Pisac Market, where you will be able to do some local shopping.
  • Your tour will end in the early evening, when you will be taken back to the hotel to rest and prepare for dinner.
  • Dinner tonight will be an exotic 7-course tasting menu at MAP café. You will experience the very best of traditional Novoandina cuisine. This cuisine mixes Andean ingredients with modern techniques to create new and inventive dishes.
  • Overnight.

Day 6

  • Early breakfast at the hotel.
  • After breakfast, you begin your journey to the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu. During your guided visit, you will explore the ruins, learn about how the Incas were able to build such a magnificent structure and feel the mystical energy exuded by the ruins.
  • For lunch, you will have the opportunity to eat at the Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, located in the town of Aguas Calientes.
  • In the late afternoon, you will be taken back to your hotel.
  • Dinner tonight on your own.

Day 7

  • Following breakfast, you will be taken to the airport en route back to Lima.
  • Once in Lima, you will be taken to your hotel for day use so you can rest and recharge for the last leg of your tour. Once reinvigorated, you will participate in a special walking gourmet city tour of the city that emphasizes the culinary history of not only the city of Lima, but of the country of Peru.
  • Your special walking city gourmet tour will take you to bars, cafés and restaurants, where you will get a taste of what has become a part of everyday life in the city of Lima.
  • At the conclusion of your tour, you will arrive at “La Nacional” restaurant to take part in an extremely important culinary tradition in Peru: “Lonche” (Tea Time). It will be here that you will witness a demonstration cooking class, where you will learn how Peruvians created the most delicious sandwiches and desserts with ingredients and components of its typical Peruvian dishes. Your Peruvian culinary journey will end with your transfer to the airport. (If you would like to spend an additional night in Lima before your departure, we can arrange it on request.)