Customs, Food Culture

Every Afternoon People Enjoy Their Lonche

A cup of Coffee as a Lonche (Walter Coraza Morveli)

One of Cuzco’s customs is to eat a lonche at the end of the afternoon. It is a kind of snack or light meal that people eat every day.

When 5 pm rolls around it is time for a lonchesito, as we call it with affection. You might bring the whole family together to have a typical lonche. It consists generally of a hot drink that you enjoy with rolls (panes) and something else that is delicious.

The hot drinks are mostly coffee, chocolate, or tea. These are the most typical and common drinks we have for our lonches.

Bread is the principal food for our typical lonche. In the city of Cuzco we have a great variety of breads, generally in the form of rolls although sometimes we buy loafs of white bread. Only of few of these are prepared in our neighborhood ovens (bakeries) and our stores.

Pieces of Chuta Bread for Sharing in Family (Photo: Wayra)
Pieces of Chuta Bread for Sharing in Family (Photo: Wayra)

These most common breads are the pan huaro, the pan oropesa, and the pan especial. Besides these our vendors also bring in to our markets the chuta bread, a very large round loaf of aniseed flavored bread.

We slice these breads down their middle and then add to them hot dog, sausage, avocado, egg, cheese, and other foods that can make a good and tasty combination with the roll. Once we have prepared these homemade sandwiches people sit down at the table and begin to enjoy their lonche while talking with their family members.

The Word lonche is borrowed from the English lunch, though this is not a midday meal but more a tea-time meal and in it is the history of English mercantilism during nineteenth century Peru.

Many people can ask if enjoying a lonche can cause weight gain. There is no problem in eating small meals during the day, like this, as long you are careful to not add more calories than you expend in your daily activities. The lonche is a deeply engrained Cuzco custom.

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