South America and especially Peru will be “hot” this year according to Condé Nast’s annual predictions. Along with family safaris to Africa and a glut of boats on the rivers of Europe, the important travel magazine claims cuisine will draw people to Peru.
Gastón Acurio continues to grow his culinary empire and to rake in recognitions like freshly turned potatoes. While his restaurants pull people to Lima, it is not just him, but also other recognized restaurants, such as Central.
The “new Peruvian cuisine” is what pulls people to Peru, and to its award winning restaurants in the world’s cities. This gastronomic adventure is a mix of culinary school training and the art of master chefs with the ingredients and traditional dishes of Peru.
Acurio himself travels the length and breadth of Peru tasting traditional foods and local cafés, restaurants, and street vendors. He appreciates the skill and ability of the vast number of uncelebrated cooks and farmers who maintain the historical foods of this diverse country.
Nevertheless, tourists have yet to move from the up-scale restaurants with their “new Peruvian cuisine” to the streets to taste the traditions that are at the root of this food movement. But it is there, in what Peruvians call guariques, the neighborhood holes in the wall, or favorite restaurants, bars, and cafes that you find the heart of Peru. The flavors and ability are astounding.
The challenge for tourists, like that they face whenever they leave the pampered world of packages, is to be ready for a culture and society whose heart beats to different rhythms and aesthetics. If you can allow Peru to be Peru you are in for an amazing treat, whether you eat a ceviche freshly made by a vendor on the beach from fresh caught sea food, or a lechón with tamales in Cuzco, chased down by an Inca Cola or a large glass of freshly made chicha.
Peru’s people are among the most welcoming anywhere. They will bring a smile to your face. They invite you to join the 2014 trend announced by Condé Nast and its editors.