As Old as our history
That’s our culinary tradition, in a nutshell. Peruvians domesticated the potato thousands of years ago—there are over three thousand varieties of this tuber in our country—and successfully balanced their diet with other products offered by the land, such as quinoa, kiwicha, beans, and maize. Then the Spaniards arrived, enhancing our recipes with Mediterranean techniques and ingredients, enriched by their own Arab and Jewish heritage.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, immigrants from China, Japan, Italy, and other European nations further expanded our menu. That process of adaptation has resulted in an original and flavorful cuisine. Each dish and each recipe has its own history, which is why the culinary experience in Peru starts even before your first bite. And because Peruvians love a good conversation, we are only too happy to explain to our guests everything that goes into preparing a lomo saltado or solterito.
The traditional is still present, as it should be, but the creativity of our cooks has always sought out new challenges. Thanks to this drive, new fusion offerings are constantly emerging, to the delight of diners. In Peru, cuisine is truly worthy of being considered an art form, and those who make sure each dish shines brightly are authentic artists. For proof, one need look no further than Peruvian cuisine’s recognition as Cultural Heritage of the Americas by the Organization of American States (OEA), and the fact that three Peruvian restaurants have earned a place on the select list of the world’s fifty best eateries.
Along with cultural heritage, it is Peru’s incredible abundance of ingredients that explains the richness of our country’s cuisine. The range of climates and altitudinal zones provides us with an infinity of fruits, vegetables, and meats. The sea has a hand in this, too, containing countless species that are not only flavorful, but are caught fresh every day of the year.
Another major advantage: Peruvians are accustomed to eating fresh and natural. We are able to gather all the ingredients we need, prepare them, and eat them on the very same day they were picked, processed, or caught. Thanks to the boom in healthy eating and the priority given to our diets when it comes to staying in shape— something that comes naturally to Peruvians—our cuisine has become our primary weapon of seduction.
We are also proud leaders in the production of different organic foods, and we have the international certifications to prove it. To this healthy reality, one must add our chefs’ care in buying fair trade ingredients, because the culinary chain in Peru places special importance on the very first link: the producer.
To wrap up this brief tour “as God intended”—this is another common Peruvian saying, though not necessarily meant in a religious sense, it should be noted—we must go back in time to the second half of the sixteenth century, when the Spaniards succeeded in adapting to Peruvian soil the grape varietals they had brought with them from their country. Not only did the Spaniards put down roots, but they had the great idea to distill eau de vie along with the wine they made.
That’s pisco, the Peruvian brandy par excellence and the essential ingredient in the pisco sour cocktail. With over 450 years of history, pisco still conserves its main attribute: the continued use of grapes as its sole ingredient. No other ingredients or additives are used, and Peruvian regulations are strict in that regard, and on the origin of pisco’s production: the denomination “pisco” can only be used for the alcoholic beverage distilled in certain valleys along the Peruvian coast.