Tag Archives: Peruvian food

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The Peru effect: the rise of Peruvian restaurants across the globe

Finally, Peruvian food has emerged from the shadows and is receiving the international recognition it deserves. In London, the Peruvian restaurant Lima and its head chef Virgilio Martinez were recently awarded Michelin star status (their first of many, we hope) – the first such accolade for a Peruvian restaurant in London. Another proponent of Peruvian food is Martin Morales who, after the phenomenal success of Ceviche in Soho, is opening a second restaurant in Shoreditch. It seems that Londoners can’t get enough of the taste of Peru. And with good reason too…

Virgilio Martinez

You wouldn’t think that nestled away in the corner of South America lays one of the most varied gastronomies. But it is Peru’s location that makes its cuisine so diverse. The seafood rich Pacific Ocean is on Peru’s doorstep, the Amazon gives birth to exotic fruits and herbs, and the Andes provides the perfect climate for potatoes and corn. It is the availability of full, fresh ingredients and the fusion of many different cultures that really sets Peru apart. With common dishes like cerviche, to chifa and nikkei – drawn from Chinese and Japanese migration into Peru, or dishes that can trace their ancestry back thousands of years like pachamanca – succulent meat, traditional, local potatoes and lima beans cooked on hot stones buried underground; Peru really comes alive with its food, and there is a dish to suit even the most discerning of critics.

Peruvian Food

Host to the largest food festival in Latin America, Mistura, Peru – and the Peruvians – take their food exceptionally seriously, with a passion to rival even that of the Italians. Fresh, spicy and full of variety, Peru offers a culinary experience like no other. But, with the bold Mexican and Caribbean flavours to the north, possibly the world’s best steak producer to the south and vibrant, fruity tastes from the east, it is easy to see why Peru has sat somewhat in the shadows until the efforts of a brave few to export it worldwide; and we should all be thankful they did.

Gaston Acurio

London best keep its ears – and stomachs – open for the arrival of “the Peruvian Jamie Oliver”, Gaston Acurio, who is rumoured to have his sights set on the city. It’s about time the rest of the world learnt that food in Peru isn’t just limited to a roasted guinea pig, or half a leg of llama, although they still taste delicious too.

 

Inkaterra Bean to Bar experience

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra

Chocolate Week 2013

This week is Chocolate Week (14th-20th October), the one week where it’s socially acceptable to eat chocolate at all hours of the day. Across the UK, brands, businesses and consumers are joining in the fun; from Chocolate Factory Open Days to open screenings of the film Chocolat’, it will no doubt be a week of indulgence. To celebrate this wondrous occasion, Inkaterra has launched a tree-to-tummy chocolatey experience at their Amazon Rainforest hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Chocoholics can be enthralled in all things delicious by learning about the world of cocoa, deep in the rainforest.

Chocolate Week 2013

Guides will unveil secrets about the millennium-old cocoa trees and their sought-after pods. Then guests will hike through the plantation’s cocoa groves and learn the magic behind the most decadent of ingredients – used for ceremonial, medicinal as well as culinary purposes in Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures. Guests also have the opportunity to learn how to make tasty treats including chocolate bars, cookies and freshly baked chocolate bread before tasting the delicious results.

Cocoa pods

José Koechlin, founder of Inkaterra, explains how sustainable practices play a fundamental role in the cocoa harvesting at the property:

Cocoa pods grow along the full length of the tree, which grow particularly tall at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción. In keeping with our conservation ethos, Inkaterra staff only hand-pick pods that grow in the middle of the tree.’

To feel every inch an authentic ‘oompa loompa’, visit Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción from January to March, when the cocoa tree harvest season is at its peak and get involved in a bean-to-bar chocolate-making journey.

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra

Tomatoes at Inkaterra

Our Gazpacho Soup Recipe

Gazpacho Soup

We’ve had quite a few requests for our Gazpacho Soup Recipe from Inkaterra. You can now make it in the comfort of your own home with the below recipe. We’d love to see your photos. Share your gazpacho soup images with us on our Facebook wall or on Twitter with hashtag #InkaterraGazpacho

Ingredients

Ingredients

Preparation

Tomatoes

1. Place the red tomato, red pepper, olive oil, dijon mustard, white vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender and mix them for 2-3 minutes until creamy (no lumps)

2. Allow to cool for a period of two hours

3. Add cut onion, celery, avocado and pepper in brunoise if wanted

The Inkaterra Gazpacho Soup

Cafe Inkaterra

Q&A with Gustavo Borja, Executive Chef at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

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Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be at ITMP
My name is Gustavo Borja and I’m from Lima, Peru. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Miami, Florida, and worked for the Marriott Marquis in Miami, for the Marriott in West Palm Beach Singer Island, and the National PGI resort in West Palm Beach. I´ve also worked as an advisor for several Peruvian restaurants that opened in Miramar, Florida, before moving back to Peru to work at Inkaterra.

What is the ethos behind the food at ITMP- Both in the main restaurant and at Café Inkaterra?
We want our guests to understand the country and all of its cultural aspects before returning home. To enhance the culinary experience and knowing that our guests are travelling so need to feel strong throughout their trip, we have designed a menu that is both healthy and authentic, selecting each flavour so that the final product is a complete gastronomic experience.

What is so special about Peruvian cuisine?
There are three main elements that make Peruvian cuisine so special: firstly, the variety and taste of our products that is not found elsewhere, like the yellow chili pepper, the potatoes, and the corn; secondly, it’s the ancestral ability to use herbs in the kitchen that gives Peruvians a special talent for seasoning. Finally, it is the influence of different cultures (Chinese, Japanese, Cantonese, Italian) that merge with our very special seasonings and has created a kitchen with a soul, a kitchen with its own identity that is distinct from any other cuisine.

What are the most important or iconic ingredients in Peruvian cuisine?
This question is very difficult because I think that Peruvian cuisine has a significant number of seasonings that make it so special. If I had to highlight one in particular, it would be the yellow peppers – I think this ingredient gives Peruvian cuisine its distinct flavour.

Tell us a little more about the diversity of Peruvian food
The gastronomy of Peru is the most diverse in the world, which is proven by the fact that it has the largest number of dishes. Lima is the gastronomic capital of the Americas and has developed greatly thanks to the incredible creativity in the dishes found here. The finest Andean, Afro-Peruvian, Eastern and Western cuisine are found in Lima. Recently, cooking has become Novo Andean, which incorporates the best products and Andean spices along with balanced dietary preparation.

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How have you incorporated different ingredients and styles of cooking at ITMP?
At Inkaterra we create Peru’s ‘haute cuisine’, which underwent great change during the twentieth century through the Nouvelle Cuisine (or new kitchen).  This refers to a new way of cooking based on creativity and imagination. It resulted in a movement that freed the chefs and allowed the creation of new styles of cooking called “signature cuisine.”

Are there any other chefs particularly that have inspired you?
It is the passion for what I do that inspires me but if I had to name one person in particular it would be my mother.

What’s your favorite dish on the current menu?
The lamb shank; it´s a dish that contains lots of flavours, all beautifully balanced, and the technique we use creates a very soft meat. It comes with a sauce, which is fresh and uniquely flavoured.

And what drink would you wash it down with?
This dish would go very well with a cabernet sauvignon, Zuccardi Q (Argentinian wine). This line of wines is characterised by a fatty nuance that wraps the bobbin with well-balanced tannin shavings, and is a perfect combination of red fruits, pepper and wood.

Finally, if you could eat at any restaurant in the world, where would it be and why?
I don’t think I could choose a restaurant, but I would eat anywhere in Peru! The creativity and the diversity of food ensure Peru has an incredible variety of dishes, unlike anywhere else in the world. The creativity, advance in our cooking techniques, coupled with the assortment of dishes, put us in a privileged position.

The year of the quinoa at Inkaterra

Inkaterra celebrates the Year of the Quinoa

2013 The Year of Quinoa

The United Nations recently declared 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa,” and in celebration, we’re sharing a recipe of one of our most popular breakfast dishes: Quinoa pancakes.

A traditional Andean superfood

Quinoa is a highly versatile, gluten-free grain native to the South American Andes and is known for its great nutritional value, as well as its good taste. Over the years its popularity has grown world-wide and today quinoa is commonly known as one of the world’s most popular “superfoods.”

The year of the Quinoa

The quinoa pancakes, among other quinoa delights served at Inkaterra properties, are prepared using traditional Peruvian ingredients and techniques, and the quinoa is purchased local from Andean farmers as part of Inkaterra´s commitment to Sustainable & Social actions. They are a delicious and healthy breakfast dish – the ideal meal before a day of hiking up to Machu Picchu, exploring the many wonders of Cusco or trekking through the Peruvian Amazon.

Quinoa Pancakes

Why not make some yourself? Try out the recipe which has come straight from the Inkaterra kitchen. Share your images with us on twitter at @InkaterraHotels with hashtag #yearofquinoa

QUINOA PANCAKE

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 ½ cups of flour
• 2 eggs
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon Pisco or brandy
• Approximately ½ cup milk
• 5 tablespoons previously cooked quinoa
• 1 1/2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons baking powder

PREPARATION:

• Mix eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, pisco, milk and the melted butter.
• Mix the flour and the baking powder separately and then add slowly to the wet mixture until it becomes soft.
• Add the previously cooked quinoa, and add milk if the mixture is too dry.
• Sautee the final mixture in a non-stick frying pan.
• Serve with maple syrup or honey.
• Provecho!

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

Guest Blogger: Martin Morales – Pisco Sour Day

To celebrate Pisco Sour Day on February 2nd, we invited Martin Morales as our guest blogger for the week. Martin is founder of London Peruvian restaurant Ceviche. In 2010 Peruvian cuisine was almost unknown in the UK but now, its become the foodie craze of the past year, and Ceviche is one of the go-to destinations for authentic Peruvian food in London.



Founder of Ceviche Martin Morales

Martin Morales – Guest Blogger 

After a month of only hearing about sobriety and non-alcoholic cocktails, there is no better way to start February then by celebrating Pisco Sour Day on February 2nd. The Pisco Sour is Peru’s national cocktail and Ceviche’s favourite. It’s a cocktail of Pisco Quebranta, lime, sugar syrup, egg white and Amargo Chuncho bitters. Created in Lima in the early 1900s, it is the perfect aperitif and also goes brilliantly  with our delicious ceviches and anticuchos.

The pisco sour is uplifting, refreshing and a real pick me up that’s why many are saying that its set to take over mojitos. I think its even better. Tastier, edgier, more refreshing and healthier with its higher vitamin c content. And now for a revelation…at Ceviche the Pisco Sour outsells any other cocktail by 10 to 1. We try so hard creating new cocktails, with new fruits, new ingredients. We try infusing Pisco with exotic herbs, unusual or delicious fruits and crazy roots, but nada. Miguel, our Head Barman and I tear our hair out trying to make great drinks with pisco. So much so that he has lost all his hair now. Because the pisco sour always wins.

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

This has been happening all over the world for decades and decades. Millions of mixologists and bartenders have tried to beat the recipe, create something new or pimp it up. But to no avail. Does egg-white put some people off….naaaa. 1 in 100. People love it. We create new cocktails every week and although our customers love these, the pisco sour just smashes through all of them. Some creations are just perfect. That is why they last 100 years.

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

I’m a self confessed Pisco Sour obsessive and although its our national drink its actually got international roots. An American entrepreneur named Victor V. Morris first created the Pisco Sour in the late 1910’s as a local alternative to the then fashionable Whisky Sour. He was the owner of Morris’ Bar, located in the heart of central Lima, which was almost exclusively frequented by English-speaking customers and travellers, who started spreading stories around the world of this new, refreshing cocktail that could quench your thirst without impairing your taste buds.

Ava Gardner, John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles became huge fans of the drink. It was rumoured at the time that Ernest Hemingway held the record for the most amount of Pisco Sours drank in one sitting. I think he probably held many records like that!

But the drink wouldn’t have been so popular if it hadn’t had the right ingredients to begin with. Lime has always been a staple of Peruvian cuisine, while Pisco Quebranta (a ‘pure’, single-grape variety of Pisco) suited cocktails perfectly. American by design, Peruvian by nature, Pisco Sour is the happiest of coincidences in cocktail history.  Morris’ Bar closed its doors shortly before the death of its owner, but soon enough established hotels such as Bolivar, Crillón and Maury took the recipe and perfected it by adding angostura bitters and egg white. Luckily for us, the bars of these hotels are still open and continue to offer some of the best Pisco Sours in Lima today.

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

Apart from of course Ceviche in London, some of my favourite places in Lima to have pisco sour are El Pisquerito, Bravorestobar, Bar Ingles del Hotel Country Club, Hotel Bolivar, Huaringas, Rosa Nautica, Capitan Melendez, Calesa, Amor Amar and Club Nacional.

In Peru there will be a ton of activities. Provinces and cities will have competitions like who can make the biggest pisco sour in the world and who can make the best one, there will be Pisco Sour Festivals and there are competitions for who can make the tastiest things inspired by pisco sour such as cakes, ice cream, desserts and shakes.

How did you celebrate Pisco Sour Day?

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Travel to Peru in 2014 with Inkaterra

Looking forward to 2013

A new year gives travellers the chance to plan a trip to one of the destinations they have dreamed of visiting. With South America named one of the go-to destinations for 2014, and a 10% increase in tourism to Peru expected, Inkaterra is looking forward to another successful year.

Here are just some of the reasons that the jewel in South America’s western point is becoming a hot-spot in 2014.

Machu Picchu  

For many, a trip to Peru and  South America is only complete with a visit to the centre of the Incan Empire; ‘Machu Picchu’. With unrivalled scenery, this awe-inspiring ancient city has become one of the top destinations for people to see in their lifetime. Set yourself a goal this New Year by hiking the Inca Trail with Inkaterra. Within a day trip, reach the Citadel of Machu Picchu via a steady climb along the Inca trail allows experiencing past diverse mountain habitats, archaeological sites and a beautiful waterfall.

Trek the Inca Trail with Inkaterra

A Gastronomic Paradise

When it comes to great food from the Americas, no other country has yet to rival that of Peru, and the whole world seems to agree. With Peruvian restaurants popping up across the globe such as Lima and Coya in London, and Gaston Acurio’s restaurant empire growing across the Americas and Europe, Peruvian cuisine continues to be the star of the world food stage.  The mouth-watering ceviches, spicy mashed potato causas and tender alpaca steaks have become a firm favourite amongst many. Come to Peru and taste it in its home environment.

A classic Peruvian drink 'Pisco Sours'

The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, covering over five and a half million square kilometres.  Nicknamed “The Lungs of our Planet” the Amazon Rainforest produces 20% of earth’s oxygen. To see this astoundingly beautiful natural ecosystem on our planet is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Stay in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon with Inkaterra at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, in a treehouse surrounded by only the sounds of tropical birdsong. Climb the banks of the meandering Madre de Dios river and enter another world. Surrounded by a vast jungle canopy, your body and mind can truly unwind, rejuvenate and revitalise.

The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

Unmatched Wildlife

Peru has some of the greatest biodiversity in the world thanks t0 the Andes and the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.  Lush greenery accented with wildlife cover the land, while up above a birding paradise is waiting to be discovered. With 1,836 species of birds (20 % of the world total), of which 120 are endemic, Peru possesses an astonishing ornithological diversity. Long-considered a birding paradise, Peru is now recognised worldwide with over 20,000 bird-watchers expected to visit Peru next year, generating an estimated $50 million USD in revenue.

A hummingbird flies close to a flower during the Birding Rally Challenge at "Aguas Calientes" in Cuzco, Peru

Unparalleled in history, natural beauty and diversity, Peru offers a myriad of delightful landscapes, cultural experiences, and exhilarating adventure. Whether you visit to embark upon an adventure, engage in the cultural mosaic of Peru’s charming cities, or simply to evolve the archeologist within, Peru offers a wealth of landscapes and settings to satisfy every curiosity.

Make your dream of visiting Peru a reality this year.

We’re waiting…

Inkaterra 2012 Review

A Review of 2012 for Inkaterra

A successful 2012 for Inkaterra

The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on all that Inkaterra has achieved in 2012; a year filled with great memories, discoveries and successes.

2012 began well with Inkaterra becoming the first Peruvian hotel chain to win the ‘International Certificate in Sustainable tourism’ by the CU Green Choice Sustainable Tourism Standard. The minister of Tourism and Commerce commented, “It is an honour that a Peruvian hotel chain is the first organization worldwide awarded with such an important Certification.”

February was an exciting time for Inkaterra when two new species of orchids were found at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. This harks back to an observation made back in 2001 by the American Orchid Society who announced that in all probability Inkaterra has the world’s biggest collection of native orchid species (372) in their natural habitat, within a private setting.

Guides at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Inkaterra was in the spotlight again in March with Conde Nast Johansens, the international luxury travel guide,  who nominated Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel as the “Most Excellent Eco Resort” in the 2012 Awards for Excellence. Inkaterra was the only hotel to receive an award in Peru.

The conservation efforts of Inkaterra were highlighted in April with the team picking up the award for Conservation at The Tourism of Tomorrow Awards. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the winners were announced at the WTTC’s Global Summit in Tokyo, April 16-19, 2012.

The Inkaterra Team pick up the award for Tourism of Tomorrow

Throughout the summer we saw the continuation of the Peruvian food craze with the opening of fine dining restaurant Lima in London. With other Peruvian food diners launching across the globe, and the ever-growing empire of Gaston Acurio, Peruvian food is considered one of the most varied and rich of the world. The World Travel Awards took note of the trend naming Peru as the Best Culinary Destination in the world in 2012. Hailed as a ‘gastronomic superpower’, the South American country fought off stiff competition from notable foodie destinations such as France, China, Italy, Spain and Thailand to come out on top as the best place in the world to eat.

Ceviche

Festivals in Peru are a time for celebration and remembrance. This June, as they do every year, visitors from across South America and around the world travelled to Cusco for the annual Inti Raymi festival, the most important ceremony of the Inca Empire calendar. Each winter solstice, native residents honour the Sun God marking the beginning of a new year: the Festival of the Sun.

There were celebrations a plenty in October, as Inkaterra was recognised for the third consecutive year at this year’s LATA Awards in London. This year Inkaterra was awarded for its efforts towards sustainability.

November was an exciting time for Peru, Inkaterra, and birding enthusiasts across the world. Inkaterra Associación (ITA), worked alongside the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) & PROMPERU as co-organisers, to launch Peru’s first ever Birding Rally Challenge. The challenge was a great success with the winning team from Louisiana State University, nicknamed the ‘Tigrisomas’, identifying 493 species of birds! The UK team – The Forest Falcons – came a close second, narrowly missing out on being crowned the winners by just three species.

The Birding Rally Challenge

In November, the awards continued with Inkaterra being nominated in The World Travel Awards for the World’s Leading Corporate Social Responsibility Programme at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. We were also delighted to received the Relais & Chateaux Sustainability Award at the R&C Congress in Torino.

To round off an excellent year, in December, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was awarded first position in Peru in the Travel + Leisure 500 Best Hotels of the World in 2013.

Another great accolade for Inkaterra was brought about by education. Mr. Diego Comín, Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) presented Inkaterra in its very own unique case study for Harvard Business School. The case discusses Inkaterra as a leading Peruvian ecotourism organisation and the unique business model that is currently in place.

2013 looks to be an exciting year already, with a further Birding Rally Challenge already in planning, and the opening of Inkaterra’s Sacred Valley property ‘Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba’, due in the second half of the year. On that optimistic note, Inkaterra looks forward to 2013 and wishes everyone a joyous Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Sunrise over the Peruvian Amazon River

Where to eat in Cusco with Inkaterra

Hungry? Where to eat in Cuzco!

Newly opened in London this month, Lima is a great example of classic Peruvian food. Equally popular is the new patio at Peruvian Chef Gaston Arcurio’sNew York venture La Mar.

If you’re lucky enough to venture to Peru itself, here are our suggestions of the best places for high end palates in Cuzco. Continue reading