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Le Cordon Bleu News, 05/12/2014
A gastronomic tour of Peru: To discover a cuisine with a multitude of flavors
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A gastronomic tour of Peru: To discover a cuisine with a multitude of flavors

In recent years, Peruvian cuisine has taken a front seat on the international gastronomic stage. The country’s geographical location and cultural heritage have given it a rich and diverse cuisine.

Peruvian cuisine’s excellence is principally due to the quality and the freshness of its ingredients. The country’s geography which is both maritime and includes a rich landscape has given it huge biodiversity and a multitude of natural resources: Different varieties of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, chilies, quinoa, sweet potatoes, tropical fruit, fish…

The climate and the ecological diversity of Peru have also led to the emergence of three major regional cuisines:

  • La Costa (Coastal cuisine) with its abundance of fish and seafood. Ceviche and chupe de camarones are amongst the traditional dishes of the region.
  • La Sierra (Andes cuisine) whose main ingredients are corn, potato, cuy (guinea pig), and the famous Peruvian aji chili.
  • La Selva (Jungle cuisine) revolves around game, fish and exotic fruit such as camu camu, mango and pineapple. The traditional dishes of this region are Juane (a dish made of spiced rice with chicken, wrapped in a Bijao leaf) and Tacaco (made from boiled, crushed and fried green banana).

Peru’s culinary heritage, which is a fusion of many different cultures, is the result of the various migrations that took place over the centuries.

Peruvian gastronomy dates back to the pre-Inca period. Corn, beans and chili were the cornerstones of cuisine at that time. Pachamanca (meat and vegetables, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on heated stones underground) is one of the emblematic dishes of the period and was consumed by the pre-Inca Chimus population of Northern Peru.

The 16th century and the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors saw the emergence of cocina criolla (Creole cuisine). This cuisine combines native ingredients with European ones such as onion and lemons, all cooked using Old Continent culinary techniques.

“Triangular trade” then brought about a new culinary trend with Afro-Peruvian influences. Based on offal and ox heart, this type of cuisine was originally for slaves. The offal was cooked over a wood fire or with a peanut sauce. The famous anticuchos, fried brochettes of left-over meat, is a perfect example of this type of cuisine.

At the end of the 19th century, an influx of immigrants from China led to the development of a new style of cuisine: Chifa. Arroz Chaufa (rice with soy sauce) and Lomo Saltado (thinly sliced sautéed fillet of beef with rice, onions and potatoes) are perfect examples of this type of Chinese-influenced cuisine, which is still extremely popular in Peru.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a large number of Japanese immigrants arrived in Lima. Combining Japanese culinary techniques with Peruvian ingredients gave rise to a new type of cuisine: Nikkei. Nikkei cuisine is based, amongst others things, on steaming, fish-cutting techniques, modern-style ceviche and cooking with seaweed.

Peruvian cuisine also has French, Italian and even Swiss influences. One of the most popular dishes in Peru, pollo a la brasa, roast chicken, was introduced to Peru by a Swiss entrepreneur in the middle of the 20th century.

Peru’s capital, Lima, is a showcase for this kaleidoscope of cuisines, a crossroads where regional cuisines and inherited cuisines meet. It embodies five centuries of cultural exchange that is still continuing today. During the past fifteen years, Peru has undergone an important cuisine revolution with a new trend: Novoandina cuisine. This modern and creative cuisine combines tradition and innovation. Young Chefs, who are considered to be artists, take emblematic and traditional Peruvian dishes and update them by giving them an original twist. ‘Novoandina’ cuisine led to both a culinary and a social revolution in Peru. One of the ambassadors of this style of cuisine is the famous Peruvian Chef and Le Cordon Bleu Paris alumni Gastón Acurio, Cuisine Diploma 1992 .

Peruvian cuisine has helped to strengthen social ties and become a true means of integration and nowhere is this demonstrated better than at the Mistura international culinary festival in Lima. This project which was initiated by, amongst others, Gastón Acurio, brings together people from different social backgrounds who all share the same goal: Enjoying and developing Peruvian gastronomy. The documentary ‘Perú Sabe: La cocina, arma social’, also highlights the fact that today “where once children in Peru dreamed of becoming a soccer player, they now dream of becoming a Chef.”

Mashed new potatoes and vegetable petals, Peru-inspired cilantro and red chili mayonnaise, quinoa tuile Hass avocado guacamole and marinated gilt-head sea bream ceviche Quinoa paella

Mashed new potatoes and vegetable petals, Peru-inspired cilantro and red chili mayonnaise, quinoa tuile
The Chefs at Le Cordon Bleu have created a 100% vegetable based recipe with Peruvian influences.
 

Read the recipe

Hass avocado guacamole and marinated gilt-head sea bream ceviche

In this recipe ceviche, a Latin American specialty often made with white firm-fleshed fish, is made with gilt-head sea bream, a very delicate and prized fish.

Read the recipe

Quinoa "paella"

Quinoa is an excellent substitution for rice in this Peruvian version of “paella” as it is light, tasty and the grains do not stick together.

Read the recipe

Take a journey to Peru:

  • Experience the different Peruvian ingredients, flavours and culinary techniques by joining our culinary workshop on Peruvian cuisine. Book your place here.
  • Le Cordon Bleu is also present in Peru. Founded in 2000, Le Cordon Bleu Peru is located in the upscale district of Miraflores, in Lima. Discover Le Cordon Bleu Peru programs.
 
 

For more information

Le Cordon Bleu Paris
  Email paris@cordonbleu.edu or use the online form
  Website hwww.cordonbleu.edu/paris/home/en
  Call +33 (0) 1 53 68 22 50
  Address 8, rue Léon Delhomme
75015 Paris

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