Cusco also has great and beautiful architectural, natural and adventure attractions. It presents a delicious and varied traditional gastronomy.
You can enjoy the gastronomy of Cusco in each community or town, all of them with flavors that are different from the others thanks to the ingredients used.
After a tour of the sacred valley try the delicious baked guinea pig, in a private tour to Machu Picchu you can request the traditional corn-based meal of the Urubamba Valley. It is a matter of taste of the visitor and you can enjoy traditional food.
The Peruvian Andean cousine has a lot of diversity. Many of the main dishes have pre-Hispanic origins, some dishes appeared in colonial and republican time and their consumption is extensive. Some of delicious dishes that you should try during your visit in Cusco are:
Cuy Asado (Roast Guinea-Pig) (Cavia porcellus Linnaens)
The most symbolic and important dish in Cusco region, eaten during the most important feasts and celebrations. It is oven roasted and seasoned with black mint (aromatic plant), garlic, cumin and salt.
Make from Pieces of pork meat, fried in their own fat; it is served with large fried potatoes, boiled corn, mint and onion salad.
Chiri Uchu (Cold chili)
It is a dish that is served always cold and it contains small pieces of roast guinea pig, chicken and dry meat boiled, pork sausage, cau-cau (dry fish eggs), cheese, corn flour french toast, toasted corn grains, qocha-yuyo (dry algae) and the local chili rocoto.
Choclo con Queso
It is boiled fresh corn (maize) on the cob, served along with a piece of cheese. Fresh corn on the cob is known as “choclo”. It is consumed preferably during rainy season.
T’impu or Pucher
It is a very popular dish during the carnival parties, prepared from lamb and head of sheep, beef, dry meat, potatoes, corn on the cob, cabbage, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cassava. It is served with the broth of all that.
They are very popular in Latin America; is something like a bundle of corn wet bread, covered with corn husks; stuffed with small pieces of beef, olives and onions, and cooked in water steam.
Rocoto Relleno (Stuffed hot pepper).
Is a local chili or hot pepper, boiled and stuffed with ground meat, peanuts, dry grapes, peas, cheese; coated with battered eggs and finally fried, it is served with tamales, lechon and others.
Delicious Pork meat roasted in oven, seasoned with yellow chili, garlic, cumin, and onions.
K’apchi de zetas
It is a stew prepared from mushrooms (Marasnicios alboericius), green broad beans, potatoes and milk, served along with rice.
It is a local soup prepared with small pieces of lamb or beef, “choncholin” (small pieces of sheep intestines), charqui (jerk), potatoes, pumpkin, moraya (dehydrated bitter potatoes), ollucos (Ullucus tuberosus), wheat, maize, carrots, and cabbage.
Sara Lawa (maize cream)
It is a very Andean cream prepared from ground fresh corn, potatoes, cheese and eggs; seasoned with turmeric.
Cream of dehydrated potato
An energetic cream eaten in the coldest days, prepared from flour of black chuño (dehydrated potatoes), with pieces of lamb or beef, potatoes, chickpeas, rice, and seasoned with yellow chili, garlic, cumin and mint.
Picante de Tarwi
It is another very energetic dish prepared from tarwi (cultivated lupine beans – Lupinus mutabilis) without any bitter, and ground with milk. It contains potatoes and cheese, seasoned with garlic, yellow chili, onions, mint and wakatay (black mint); served with beefsteak or rice.
Chupe de Quinua
A soup prepared from a native cereal named quinua (Chenopodium quinoa) peeled and without bitter; cooked with beef or lamb, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, green broad beans and seasoned with onions, paprika, garlic, mint, coriander and marjoram.
Pieces of cow heart skewered in a stick, pickled in vinegar and then broiled; served with potatoes and “uchu-kuta” (a local hot sauce consisting on rocoto chilies ground with peanuts, black mint and some other spices)
Aqha or Chicha de Jora (yellow chicha)
Chicha is an alcoholic beverage consumed from Inca times, prepared from dry yellow corn that is previously germinated, ground and boiled. The liquid is sifted in huge reed baskets and dry “ichu” (the local bunch grass) and fermented during three days in enormous ceramic jars. At the end of the whole process this beverage must have about 3% of alcoholic content.
Its preparation process is the same as that of “chicha”, the only difference is that ground “frutilla” (a special strawberry from the Sacred Valley) is added to this one giving it a somewhat pink color and a special sweet flavor.
Chicha de Quinua or Kiwicha
They are non alcoholic refreshing drinks, prepared from quinua (Chenopodium quinoa) or kiwicha (Amaranthus caudatus) flours, without fermentation.
Refreshment resulting from boiling dry purple corn on the cob; lemon juice and sugar are added.
Mate de Coca (Coca Tea)
It is a natural coca leaves infusion (Erythroxilon coca). In the Andean villages it is drunk for medicinal purposes helping avoid headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness, and some other feelings caused by high altitudes. People also drink it when they have sore throats and stomach problems.
Very popular in high and cold areas. It is a cup of normal or Chinese tea to which some jiggers of rum are added.
A Pisco Sour is a cocktail typical of Peruvian cuisine, it is made from pisco (made of white grapes.) and lemon juice and others components.
That is one of the best in Peru which as advertisement says “it’s made with the water of the Inkas”. In fact, the water running in the religious Inkan fountain in Q’enqo was piped and taken to the “Cusqueña” brewery.
If you are thinking of buying luxury tours or travel packages to Machu Picchu, ask your travel agent to include tours of the gastronomic places; community restaurants or guariques, you will not regret it.