Peruvian Cuisine, Restaurants, Traditional Food

An Urge You Can’t Resist, Picarones

A Portion of Picarones from Valentina's

Picarones are an exquisite dessert enjoyed throughout Peru. In the city of the Incas every afternoon, the desire for the sweetness yet richness of picarones awakens. As the sun says its goodbyes to the mountains kissing them with its last rays of light, picarones begin to shine and enchant the palates of Cusqueños with their delirious flirts of taste and fine perfume.

There are many picarones but only a few are worthy of being called the best. These are exclusive. They are the ones where, when you just lift them for a little bite, you want to get every little bit, including that which can only be found by licking your fingers.

I asked around among my friends and various older people to know which were their favorite places in Cuzco to have picarones. Only two picaronerías (shops where this cross between fry bread and donuts are featured) were mentioned as the best. Each has a different history and impact. But for years both have sweetened afternoons in Cuzco with this dessert you can never resist.

Picaronería Ruinas is a small place whose picarones have incomparable taste. Located on Ruinas Street 200, on the corner of Tullumayu Street under which the river of the same name that defined Cuzco’s boundaries still runs. It is a principle way of accessing the main Plaza de Armas and attracts lots of passersby. On this same street is found the Marriott Hotel.

Mrs. Rosa Elvira, the owner, receives her clients daily with a lot of warmth. Diners arrive from 4 pm till about 11 pm. Her establishment is one of the places where you are pleased to enjoy that which we most like. She has a great combination of a substantial portion of picarones with an unequalable chicha morada, our purple corn drink. It is a perfect combination to give sweet pleasure to your palate. Diners say that it is the duality of of the two, chicha and picarones, that make a perfect equilibrium of flavor.

Chicha Morada and Picarones, the Perfect Combination
Chicha Morada and Picarones, the Perfect Combination

Both tourists and locals come away feeling well satisfied after enjoying a great afternoon. They say goodbye to each other with just a few words and a wave of the hand with smiles that say everything.

Now updated, the Picaronería Ruinas offers a warm and pleasurable visit and its exquisite combination which truly surprises with pleasure palates from all over the world.

The lover of picarones say that when the desire for this dessert arises you can only calm it and satisfy it by going for some. Another wonderful place to meet the demands of these capricious impulses is at Mrs. Valentina’s. Her place has a long trajectory. Valentina and her son sell the most delicious picarones. Her fans claim her place is the best.

Filled every day with lovers of this sweet, Valentina’s is located behind the Plaza Tupac Amaru in the Conjunto Habitacional Pachacutec. It is one block from the Inca Garcilaso Stadium.

These picarones are really good, with an incomparable flavor. Besides being one of the most well-known and popular places it is also genuinely preferred by many. A faithful customer by the name of Juana assured me “I come at least some three times a week to enjoy this dessert that excites me. It was some ten years ago that I first got to know this place and since then I have never quit coming. I recommend this place to anyone who really wants to taste something truly exquisite and Peruvian.”

Frying Up Fresh Picarones on Ruinas Street
Frying Up Fresh Picarones on Ruinas Street

PIcarones are a passion and to eat a serving of these round and sticky sweet delights is a pleasure. When in Cuzco you can always do so at these two places and know that you have found Cuzco’s best. You will enjoy experience the Peruvian passion.

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