Lunahuaná is a small town known for pisco (local brandy) and wine production: distilleries and wine yards are everywhere. We took a bus from Lima to Cañete, which was about one hour ride. We had a hotel reservation in La Confianza hotel, but we had not booked transport, so we just negotiated a reasonable price with one of the taxis waiting in line on paradero.
As we drove past the cotton fields and wine yards with the fresh mountain air breeze from the window I almost fell asleep, only half listening to the driver's endless monologue. Our driver, it turned out, was a very talkative man who praised the advantages of a diet consisting of cuys (guinea pigs) and pisco, apparently good for your cholesterol. He managed to convince us to visit one of the local bodegas for mid-morning wine and pisco tasting.
So before we noticed, we found ourselves with some wine glasses in hand, sampling local varieties made of sweet borgogna grapes. There were two varieties: dulce and semi seco. If we are to believe our driver and co-taster (whose local nickname by the way was Champán -Champagne), the main difference between the two is that "Dulce is when you want to have four, five glasses only (!), but if you want to drink all night with your buddies, choose the semi seco." Notes taken!
The restaurant menu itself had a few nice surprises. I wanted to eat trout, which is one of the local specialities.
I chose the restaurant's special version 'Trucha Maracoto'. The trout is served with sweet and spicy mixture of maracuyá, Peruvian passion fruit, and rocoto pepper and with fried native potatoes on the side. Juan Martin tried the hotel's other speciality, quinotto de camarones, kind of a risotto made of quinoa and served with shrimps and green asparagus. That plate had won a price as the best plate in the local festival in 2013 - not a minor achievement if you consider that in Lunahuaná every restaurant has their own delicious shrimp plate.
As we later found out, shrimps (camarones) and trout are offered in most restaurants in Lunahuaná, but La Confianza's menu stands out as it is a more refined and innovative. The original menu was designed by a chef from Lima, Ricardo Cespédes, and quinotto was created by a local chef called Kristel Chuquispuma in honor of the Year of Quinoa celebrated back in 2013 all over Peru and elsewhere, too.
At night we wanted to go to the town center by walking, but it seemed quite far and the road was dimly lighted Followed by hotel's friendly labrador Pisco we made it at the highway, where it was possible to catch a combi.
The town center was not particularly lively on a weekday night, but there were a couple of bars and restaurants open and local people were socializing on the streets and central plaza. Many travel agencies were still open, and they offered for tourists various adventure sports such as canopy, river rafting, bike tours and horse riding. Adventure sports are actually the main attraction in Lunahuaná.
Unfortunately, our mini vacation was over too fast, but I am happy to know that with such as short distance of Lima there is a place like Lunahuaná where you can find some sun all year round. We still have to try rafting and the canopy, so there are reasons to go back soon...