Torn! Yes Torn. Why? Because I said in my last post Eat Love Peru that I would contribute further articles with regard to the Peruvian passion for food. As soon as i had that thought of writing the article I reverted back to ‘DRINK’. Sorry, am giving you totally the wrong idea. Oops! I said ‘totally’……….(O: and I never say ‘totally’….like the way some folk ‘totally’ say ‘totally…..ahhhhh!!
Yikes! And there again I have left you probably thinking…’what she doing? Has she hit the bottle?’ Nope! Not at all the way it appears in writing. You see in Peru, those who are passionate about their food (and they are many), often use what they call ‘the secrets of good cooking.’ There are many secrets as I discovered in my conversations with a number of friends, some who were also qualified chefs.
As I was in the deep end for my nine weeks of living in Peru, with regard to learning Spanish, I invited myself to watch carefully as one of my chef friends cooked our meal for the evening. Surely I would discover some of the secrets if I paid attention well.
I shall keep you in suspense to know the name of the dish being prepared on that first evening, but I am pretty sure I did in fact discover one of the secrets. Pisco! Si, yes, Pisco. Its a drink, an alcoholic one and it would be difficult to make your way throughout Peru without being offered a drop or two of this particular spirit, of which its country folk claim with pride.
To be more precise, Pisco is made from grapes and is certainly a product of the famous winery of Ica along the Peruvian coast. Pisco is a colourless spirit and high in alcoholic content (40%), so gently does it with this stuff. In my taste buds it is similar to a brandy or a palinka (made in eastern parts of Europe).
But not to worry, in Peru there are many recipes for the drinking of Pisco. Pisco Sour is the most famous of its cocktails and is hailed as the traditional welcome and celebratory drink in every home and hotel. Chilcano is a perhaps a more relaxed and chilled out cocktail option. There are numerous possibilities, as i discovered during my 9 weeks in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
You can make hot drinks to warm your bones in the cool of an Andean evening, after the sun disappears behind the rocky peaks. I never thought of asking if it is good for arthritis? Hold your horses! Better to drink the stuff (following the recipe) before you try rubbing it in your knees, as was a custom with Poitín (an alcoholic drink of Irish Olden Days before there were so many laws).
Last but not least, I discovered that Pisco is one of the secrets, ‘the secrets of good cooking.’ I saw it with my own two eyes as the measure was added to the pan. And the dish was delicious I have to say. It was double YUM.
Surely you will now understand my torn agony as I strove to tell you about food. Its great when everything falls into neat categories. That’s life. No neat categories. So lets get on with the show. Next article is definitely about FOOD. I promise it is not the last you will hear of Pisco however and yes I will also include the recipe for Pisco Sour. Salud!
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