Food trends may come and go, but we feel that one of this year’s biggest trends, Peruvian cuisine, is here to stay. It’s no wonder given that Peru has some of the richest ecosystems and most fertile soil in the world (they yield over 2,000 varieties of potatoes!) that they would be recognized for having some of the most innovative and delectable dishes around.
In addition to Peru’s amazing ecology, the cuisine is also significantly influenced by the country’s history. One of the most well-known Peruvian dishes is, of course, the guinea pig. Guinea pigs are thought to have first been domesticated in 2000 BC in the region now known as Peru and Bolivia. Furthermore, Ancient Incans also had a steady diet of potatoes, seafood, and maize until the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 1500s. The Spanish introduced chicken, pork, and lamb and demanded that the Incans begin growing European crops such as wheat, barley, beans, and carrots. Over the years, Peruvian cuisine continued to evolve, mixing in other cultures’ ingredients from countries such as Africa, Polynesia, China, and Japan.
Today’s chefs add a whimsical and fun flare to the traditional Peruvian cuisine. For instance, Gastón Acurio, Peru’s most well-known chef and owner of Astrid y Gastón, Latin America’s #1 restaurant, serves a Peking Guinea Pig. The menu reads “Tired of being rejected by the world, the guinea pig decides to disguise itself as a Peking duck, dressed with rocoto and purple corn crêpe. It got a standing ovation from everyone.” Chefs like Acurio, and countless others, are the reason why Peruvian cuisine has come into the spotlight of the world’s foodie stage. With the complex flavors and ability to continually evolve, Peruvian cuisine doesn’t seem like just another flash in the pan.
Taste Vacations offers a Peru Food Tour (October 12 – 19, 2015) that dines at Astrid y Gaston. Guests on this trip will also enjoy exploring the town of Pisco (the birthplace of the delicious liquor), learn how to cook the perfect ceviche on the Peruvian coast, and participate in a Pachamanca, a traditional Andean underground barbeque.