You can’t talk about Peru without talking about our food. Recognized as one of the best gastronomic destinations in the world, our cuisine has contributed to the growth of social development in our country in the last decades. In the last few years, world known chefs, award winning restaurants, hundreds of community events, new cooking schools, and a whole new perception on how our food represents our culture have been created. Our cooking scene is one that is constantly evolving, while always maintaining the traditional flavors and ingredients. Chefs have brought to our attention the faces of every person involved in the food system: from the farmer that grows some of our ingredients far away in the highlands, to the person that cooks the ingredients, and to the person enjoying the food. Peruvian culture wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for gastronomy and what it represents for us.
Each city and region has its particular dishes. From a traditional Ceviche peruano freshly made, to a Rocoto Relleno and a Cuy Chactado. Every single region of our country presents a full menu of different dishes that illustrates the enormous biodiversity our country has as well as the micro weathers that permit unique ingredients to grow. If you visit Lima, the capital and biggest city of Peru, every single neighborhood has a spot to go and taste our traditional food. Even the newest areas have a place where we can taste a good Aji de Gallina.
People from all over the world visit Peru just to learn more about our cuisine. Food tourism has become a movement that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Through food tourism, we talk about our history, our vibrant culture, our friendly people and all the beautiful places that exist. Our food reflects local practices and ingredients and all the different influences they’ve had since the times of the Incas.
But as Peruvians living abroad, one of the things we miss the most is the food made at home. It’s not only about the particular way it tastes or how certain dishes are cooked. It’s about how every meal, when it’s enjoyed with your family, tastes like a celebration. Living in Virginia for 20 years, these are traditions we try to maintain in my family. At home, my wife and I cook every time we can, and we use that as an opportunity to bring the family together around the table. Our favorite dish is Ajj de Gallina. When schedules get complicated, dinner together is the excuse to stop our daily routines and spend time together. Every meal comes with a story: a memory of the first time we ate it, a memory of how our grandmother used to cook it or even a memory of which ingredient we think makes the difference in a specific dish. We eat and we talk, we enjoy and we share. And those moments are the moments where our food, even when you are far away from Peru, makes you feel like home.