Customs, Food Culture

A Parade of Sweets Takes over Cuzco in Holy Week

Sighs (Suspiros), a Sweet Meringue

Traditional desserts fill the markets and plazas of Cuzco with different colors and tastes every day during Holy Week when Cuzco celebrates. In the markets and plazas gastronomic festivals take hold and in them one finds sales of Cuzco’s traditional Holy Week desserts.

The parade of sweets excite spectators. The desserts are more than delicious. Each of them has its own tradition, attraction and flavor. One of the most popular, and representative, is the sweet empanada which has sugar decorations on it in a whole palette of colors. This more than any other, is the sweet that draws most attention this week.

Sweet Empanadas for Holy Week
Sweet Empanadas for Holy Week

Our other famous participants are the maicillos (corn-meal cookies), suspiros (sighs–meringues), condesas (countesses), rosquillas (little crowns), and the jurqa breads. These latter are the bread used to symbolize a commitment to help a fried sponsor a feast. All of these excite the public. They are made from grains such as corn and other Andean products from our region. On just seeing these colorful delights your mouth begins to water with desire and when you taste them you ascend to the clouds.

For children, Holy Week provides some of the most happy and magical days. In every moment they are counting time until the moment arrives when they can enjoy these desserts and empanadas that are the things that they love the most.

Maicillos and Rosquillas (Corn Cookies and Little Crowns)
Maicillos and Rosquillas (Corn Cookies and Little Crowns)

Women dressed in white blouses and aprons sell these rich and tasty empanadas and other desserts of different colors and flavors. They sell them at an economical price that is also pleasing to the pocket. They sell them individually or in bulk. The empanadas, for example, cost S/ 1 ($0.40US). You can enjoy it with a tasty stewed peach or any of the other desserts. Together they are always a stupendous combination for celebrating Holy Week.

During the days of Holy Week, especially Thursday and Friday, the markets become gastronomic festivals where all the traditional desserts are served. The main plazas of the city, including the San Francisco, San Blas, Tupac Amaru, and Belen, are places where the sale of these Easter traditions takes place. Cuzco’s families enjoy to the fullest these events. Visitors are invited to enjoy them too as a means of getting to know our traditions and customs.

Small, Sweet Egg-Breads
Small, Sweet Egg-Breads
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