Food Culture

Seasonal Fruit Fills Cuzco

Fruit at Ttio Market

It is the rainy season in Cuzco and also time to enjoy fresh fruit.  Cuzco fills with fruit during this season and one can enjoy not just the fruit but their products, from the yogurt with fresh fruit that is commonly offered for breakfast to all kinds of exotic fruit juices.

During this time of the year, from December to March, the falling rain has cause trees,bushes, and other plants to flourish and Cuzco fills with an ample variety of fruit.

Cuzco is a perfect crossroads for any kind of taste in fruit, in between the Amazon, the altiplano, and the coast

Light and Fruit
Light and Fruit

In terms of flavors and colors Peru is an excellent country.  The diversity of its landscapes make it a marvelous place.  All this flow of colors, tastes, and textures meets in the city of Cuzco.

Just as the rains cause fruit to grow they also renew the colors of the city; they wash dirt away.  The valley becomes green and even the air feels cleaner.  There is the smell of rain on the fields and abundant fruit from all over Peru.  At this time of the year Cuzco’s regional fruit is composed by a variety  of harvests in the different valleys and climates of the region.

Orchard in the City
Orchard in the City

From the warmest places, such as the La Convención Valley, come juicy mangos, watermelons, papayas, oranges, and tangerines as well as bananas, and a fruit not widely known outside of the Andes, the pacay (inga feuilleei) often called “ice cream bean” in English.  This time of year also sees these regions produce abundant coffee, cacao, artichokes, and other products.

Pineapple Fruit Ready to Eat
Pineapple Fruit Ready to Eat

From other provinces of Cuzco with different climates we find indigenous fruit such as tunas (the fruit of the prickly pear cactus,) capulíes (prunus salicifolia, a relative of the cherry,) tumbos (called banana passionfruit in English,) and aguaymantos (physalis peruviana, a relative of the ground cherry).  We also find fruit such as peaches, pears, apples, and plums.  Precisely at this time of the year they reach ripeness.

Together Capuli and Tuna
Together Capuli and Tuna

Cuzco also receives products from other regions of the country, from the north, south and center.  From them come chirimoyas (anona cherimola,) peaches, strawberries, figs, and lucumas (pouteria lucuma, called egg fruit in English,) among others.

Peaches for Sale
Peaches for Sale

As a result, markets shine with different colors, shapes, and smells.

This is also a great time of the year to buy fresh juice.  You can find the taste you want or order a combination of different fruits.  One can also enjoy the seasonal fruit in different desserts which can be purchased in cafes and pastry shops.  One of the most

Fresh Fruit Ready to Make Juice
Fresh Fruit Ready to Make Juice

ordered desserts is fruit salad which in its combination of different colors and tastes seems a metaphor for the season.

Because of the wide variety of fruit during this time of the year all the people of Cuzco as well as tourists visiting the city can enjoy the great variety of natural fresh fruit.   The fruit and juice are sold in markets such as San Pedro, San Blas, Ttio, and others, as well as on street corners throughout the city.

Ahuaymanto from Cuzco
Ahuaymanto from Cuzco

But the city’s gardens also fill with fruit such as the typical sweet and sour fruit, the tumbo, which stretches over many walls.  But one also finds plums, cherries pears, apples, capulí, and aguaymanto.  Children may well be those who most enjoy this fruit as the roam the city and countryside in play.  Sometimes they even gather to have fun picking and eating fruit.

Tumbo Over the Wall Around San Blas
Tumbo Over the Wall Around San Blas

For example, when I was a child I used to get together with my friends to go take fruit from carious gardens.  It was fun, we thought, to go from place to place picking fruit such as tumbos, plums, and capulí.  We would climb over walls and then go up the trees while having a thousand and one adventures.

Plum Tree
Plum Tree

Today, in the neighborhood of San Blas, just for one example, its house gardens and streets fill with fruit.  While walking down the street one can pick and enjoy the fruit that extends out into the street.

If you like fruit, this is the perfect time of year to be in Cuzco.  Not only is it the Inca capital with all kinds of tourist offerings, it fills with fruit from its various regions and from all over Peru.  Always a splendid city, at this time of the year Cuzco become marvelous as it thrills with the wonder of fruit.

A Delicious Tuna
A Delicious Tuna
Tuna for Sale
Tuna for Sale
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