Yesterday I met with a fellow expat who lives in Huaraz. I am not going to reveal more about this person, as you can soon read her interview here in 'Entrepreneuring Expats' series.
Instead I would like to show what food products I ordered from Huaraz...
Ham and cheese from Huaraz
Above on the left: jamón huaracino (also known as jamón serrano, but not to be confused with the Spanish jamón serrano) and on the right side, queso andino: mild and semi-firm yellow cheese from the Peruvian mountains.
The ham is not cut very attractively in this photo, ideally it would be cut in very thin slices, prosciutto style...
Queso andino and jamón huaracino
You can find these products in some markets in Lima too, but the prices are far more expensive -
so if you are going to Huaraz, don't forget to visit the local food markets...
Have you ever tried Shica Shica Ice Cream?
I certainly had no clue what that was, until I tried it on my last trip to Tarapoto. Shica Shica is a nut that tastes like a mix of coconut and peanut -and shica shica ice cream is delicious! I tried it at Fruta & café (Jr. Maynas 234) where they offer all kind of exotic, organic ice creams made of typical fruits of San Martín region. Chocolate ice cream with local cocoa was also very good, and you can have either chocolate alone or mixed with peanuts. And no, I did not eat a giant portion of all possible flavors! But I tried many, because you can try them all before deciding. I liked to have an ice cream at Fruta & Café's calm and atmospheric patio, with a cup of coffee -locally produced, of course! Unfortunately, I had not my camera with me that day, so I don't have photos from there.
But I took these ice cream photos in another Tarapoto ice cream bar called Anona. They also had a good selection of all the exotic fruit ice creams: lucuma, passion fruit, coconut, mango...
Anonas (Jimenez Pimentel, block 3) also had a small back yard patio with green plants and very tasty fruit juices.
PS. Good news is that Fruta & Café is also in Lima! Caminos del Inca 3198 and in Asia, just outside of the main shopping area.
There is a new book out there,"Where the Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs' Favourite Restaurants", by Joe Warwick. The title is pretty self-explinatory: it reveals where the chefs working in high-end restaurants go to eat when they want to eat out. And they do not necessarily choose Michelin star places -in fact, many of them seem to prefer understated, local spots.Last Saturday's El Comercio newspaper revealed -in the spirit of this book -some recommendations from the well known Peruvian chefs. Some of the places mentioned have already been introduced in this blog, such as classic, night snack place in Barranco, Juanito, favorite of Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (has several restaurants in Lima: Malabar, Nikita, Amaz). Rafael Osterling (Rafael, Cafe del Mar) recommends El Pan de la Chola as a breakfast place - if you read my "Entrepreneuring Expats" interviews carefully, you many remember that designer Carolina Restrepo also recommended that place for bread (and she also likes Schiaffino's restaurant Amaz that serves Amazonian fusion plates).
Other places I picked from the article and would like to try soon are Korean restaurant Dos Hermanos, Tokio Ramen for ramen noodles and Nikko for a nikkei style (Peruvian-Japanese) ceviche, all recommeded by chef Hajime Kasuga (Hanzo).
A maggot in Mistura
I must admit that after I had visited the Amazonian section at the Mistura Gastronomy Fair I had my doubts about the jungle cuisine. En la selva se come todo. 'In the jungle we eat everything', said the Amazonian lady laughing while holding a tray full of big, fat maggots. Not much of a bug eater myself, so I was a bit worried about the food issue when we traveled to Tarapoto.Luckily, there was much more to eat than that. Lots of plantains and bananas in all forms but mostly fried, fruits and fruit juices, varieties of fish, meat (chicken and pork, cecina, being the most common, but also venado, deer), juanes which is basically rice and meat (or chicken/shrimps) cooked in a banana leaf, and very delicious organic ice creams made of local fruits or raw cacao.On our first night in Tarapoto, we ate in a restaurant called Doña Zully, which is located right at the Plaza Mayor and offers local specialities. We tried some fried yuca for a starter, and it came with three different but all more or less spicy sauces: huacatai, huancayina and the third was kind of a pickles made of cocona fruit and chili pepper.
After that, we ordered a piqueo amazonico including a variety of dishes: pork ribs, chorizo, rice juanes, fried plantain and salad. All the meat was grilled on an open fire at the back of the restaurant.
The service was very professional and for a price, 46 soles (for two!) the plate was well worth trying.
We drank cocona juice, a new fruit I discovered on that trip. It is said to taste (and look) something like a mix of lemon and tomato and I second that description. I would not qualify it as my new fruit favorite, but in the hot weather a jar of ice cold cocona juice was very welcome.
Piqueo Amazonico at Doña Zully
Friendly chef at Doña Zully
I promised to post more photos from the Lima's gastronomy fair Mistura. (If you have not read the previous posts you can find them here and here)One very fascinating section at this giant fair was the chocolate part. There was an entire salon dedicated to chocolate! Chocolate fountains, chocolate sculptures, chocolate maki rolls...I'll let the photos speak for themselves!
Chocolate maki rolls
Brownies and Blondies
Gaston Acurio at Mistura
This year I had a chance to visit the largest gastronomy fair of South America: Mistura. It gathered 500 000 visitors during ten days, offering an overview on Peru's regional cuisines and new restaurants. Numerous stands sold sample plates, priced from 5 to 25 nuevos soles (1,5- 7 euros) and you could also attend on seminars, follow chef competitions, sample piscos, coffees and chocolates and shop various food items from the large market area of the fair.
Right after arrival to Mistura, I spotted Peruvian top chef Gaston Acurio surrounded by his fans. He has done great work promoting Peruvian culinary traditions abroad and developing so called Novoandian cuisine. I joined the ranks of his fans and snapped a photo of him.
Our first stop was quite naturally a Peruvian classic lime and chili marinated raw fish salad, ceviche.
For drink, I chose Cristal's special edition beer.
It was rather easy to tell which plates were the most succesful at Mistura: you just look at the queus. "Caja China", The Chinese box and Chancho Al Palo seemed to tempt quite a few people.
La Caja China
Chancho al palo
In between meals, one could watch a parade.
That's not all about Mistura, more to come about the art of chocolate, pisco sampling, potatos and surprising food items from la selva ...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Afternoon coffee at Casa Gourmet
In a previous post I complained about the absence of cosy coffee shops in Lima. I have to take it back, because I have actually discovered a few places where to have a nice cup of espresso, read a novel and procrastinate accumulating work.One good address in Miraflores is a small espresso bar called Arabica, where you can try award-winning local coffee brand called Tunkimayo. Last time I went there I had an espresso roast made of beans from Cajamarca, and it was also very good. They have a tiny one table patio outside, books and magazines to read and board games to play.
Other place I like is in Barranco, and it's called Sofa Café. The name is by no means misleading: the place is decorated with comfortable sofas in two floors. You can go there for a light meal too, they serve lonche, which is a Peruvian equivalent of the British afternoon tea.
But these places are a bit far from Surco, where I live, so I was quite happy when Casa Gourmet opened just near by. It is a actually a gourmet shop with a selection of sweet and salty goods to buy home or as a present, but they also have a small café corner. It is not the most inexpensive place around, I must admit, but the cakes for example come in huge portions and are perfectly enough for two people. The terrace is calm and nice, with some jazz playing at the backgound (although now that I've visited three times I've noticed that they seem to have only one cd).
Too much about exesrcise recently, so I want to dedicate this post to lovely desserts and sweets that constantly threathen my waistline here in Peru.
Here, on the left side you see one favorite, vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and an almond bisquit. I eat it in a chocolate store called Xocolatl, in Miraflores. They also have artisanal chocolates filled with local flavors, such as pisco, lucuma or passion fruit...
Talking of lucuma, there are many desserts with this nutritious fruit: ice creams, cakes, mousse...It's sweet but still healthy: considered as a "superfood" by European middle class hypocondriacs.
I like the actual fruit, but I would not say no to a lucuma cake, like this one at Casa de Gloria:
Here is my afternoon snack at Blue Llama Café, when we were in Pisac:
That was by far the best brownie I have eaten since long time!
And talking of Pisac, there was also a restaurant-café called Ulrike's...This photo is from there:
And still in the Sacred Valley, this dessert at El Huacatay restaurant also deserves to be mentioned here. Chocolate truffles with candied orange:
Now you understand why I have to run...
Some photos from different places in the neighbourhood of Miraflores in Lima -an interesting mix of tourists and pickpockets, old and new, gardens and traffic jam, shopping malls and street markets, cathedrals and casinos.
For a fruit lover like me, Peru is simply a paradise.
Large part of Peru's surface is rainforest (la selva) which provides all imaginable tropical fruits all year round.
Today I present granadilla, which is to my experience hard to find in Europe. It is very sweet, pulpy and delicious, and one of my absolute favorites.
It belongs to the same Passiflora family than passion fruit, but the flavour is slightly different. It is very nutritious fruit and rich in minerals. Some people here give it to their children to eat, because it is believed to be good for the development of small children's brain.
And how it is consumed? You eat the seedy/pulpy part inside of the fruit and that already makes a healthy and delicious dessert. But it's good in juices and cocktails, too.