Tag Archives: Food

Mansion House Celebrating Peru In Ireland 

I feel honoured to have been invited to this special celebration in The Mansion House Dublin, Ireland (during August 2017).

Casa Ireland in Peru with Erica Pena as it’s chief organiser, are the group who have made all of this happen. The efforts of the group, which brings together a community of Peruvians living in Ireland, are gaining momentum. 

At this most recent celebration in the residency of Dublins Lord Mayor, the Cuban Ambassador, as a representative of Latin America, addressed the invited guests. 

It was announced that Peruvians will soon have Embassy representation in Ireland. Presently London is the closest embassy as their point of contact. 

Mexico is the location of the Irish embassy which caters for Peru. Thanks to Irish President Michael Higgins visit to Peru earlier this year, relations between the two countries have strengthened. 

Peru is a country with a growing economy, rich in culture which in many ways matches that of the Irish in terms of its passion for music, dance and food. The people are equally friendly and fun-loving. 

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Whats so fascinating about Breatfast in Peru?

Seriously how could I write at least five articles about breakfast in Peru? Easy! Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day but in Peru it is the meal which can offer the most variety. And variety is the spice of life.

So having sipped on warm avena, been a privileged guest at an ayacucho breakfast, been envied by tourists as I slurped my ‘special’ breakfast soup and felt like goldilock’s with a craving for porridge, my next hankering was for good old scrambled eggs.

Ever wonder what life is like in a small Peruvian town - Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham tells the tale

Ever wonder what life is like in a small Peruvian town – Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham tells the tale

As a tourist in Peru the breakfasts that you will be most likely offered are a variety of freshly squeezed seasonal juices, such as apple, celery, mango or pinapple, lots of coca leaves to make altitude-coping tea, a choice between quinoa porridge and most likely scrambled eggs. All this on offer if you stay in any moderately stylish hotel or any tourist restaurant or cafe.

One morning at my leisure I visited my friend Wilbert at World’s Coffee. Wilbert’s services as a chef were constantly in demand. You would often see him coming from his home with a tray of freshly baked pans proudly held high in the air. He supplied his loaves to at least two restaurants in Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region).

It was  a beautiful sunny day as usual in the dry season. I sat and listened to the typically Andean ‘waino’ music wafting from the radio. i gazed into the open, watching Inca people organizing their bundles and creating a beautiful display with their brightly coloured skirts and ponshaws. They were always busy with the comings and goings of being an Inca descendant, carrying on the traditions of the past despite the signs of modernity seeping through the pores of this unique little town in the form of tourists from the world over and more slowly from its own well-spring of Peruvian clan. Breakfast in Peru's Ollantaytambo - A living Inca Musuem

Wilbert made my breakfast that morning, scrambled eggs and ham with his homemade bread and well made cappuccino (one of the best coffees in Peru).  How lucky am I to have such memories as these?

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing Blog

An Irish Woman’s journey living in the little town of Ollantaytambo, in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region.

Breakfast in Peru - Stories from an Irish woman living in a beautiful town in the Sacred Valley

Breakfast in Peru – Stories from an Irish woman living in a beautiful town in the Sacred Valle

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Living Inca Musuem

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Living Inca Musuem

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Peruvian Town

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Peruvian Town

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham tells a tale of life in a Peruvian Town in The Sacred Valley

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham tells a tale of life in a Peruvian Town in The Sacred Valley

Ayacucho Breakfast – A journey in Peru

One morning, breakfast was more particularly special at Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo. Henry’s cousin and her friend had come to stay on holiday from Lima. I had been reminded from the outset that I am already family and so it was that I deserved my place at the table for an ‘Ayacucho’ breakfast/desayuna. Ayacucho is the original home-place of my host and his cousin. It is a beautiful part of Northern Peru, so I am told, but sadly, in the ‘80’s it was fraught with much intimidation and violence of terrorists. Unrest and tragedy resulted in much of their family leaving their home-place for a more tranquil existence in the city of Lima.

Ayacucho Breakfast Ollantaytambo Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo  www.wildstarlanding.com A journey in Peru

Ayacucho Breakfast Ollantaytambo Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo http://www.wildstarlanding.com A journey in Peru

To-ing and fro-ing of food from the kitchen saw a bare table transformed to a wonderment of assortments of food. The customary pot of hot avena was set aside for scooping a liquid helping of a type of oatmeal spiced with cinnamon and apple. The flask of hot water was on standby for coca tea or coffee. Bowls of hot petite potatoes in their skins were placed at the centre alongside a freshly blended bowl of soft creamed cheese with peppers and onions. Rounded pans of bread were piled upon an additional plate. Completion of the breakfast as with many Peruvian meals required a bowl of toasted cancha (corn), which I grew quite partial to during my stay.

It was a hearty breakfast. When I say hearty, I mean the heart was in it, not just one heart, many hearts, in the eating and drinking, the silences and laughter. It was wonderful to find a home so far from your own and be so welcomed in this peaceful setting.

Christmas Day is always special. I shared it once again with my own family in Ireland. We were especially thankful this year that we are all together, healthy and well with not too much to complain about. I remembered my invitation to be with my Peruvian family for Christmas in Ollantaytambo. I look forward to such a time. Meanwhile, I cherish the memory of my Ayacucho breakfast at Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo It was August but really it was my Christmas in Peru.

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing Blog December 25th 2013

An Irish Woman’s journey living in the little town of Ollantaytambo, in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region.

A hearty desayuno breakfast in Ollantaytambos Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo. A journey in Peru. www.wildstarlanding.com

A hearty desayuno breakfast in Ollantaytambos Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo. A journey in Peru. http://www.wildstarlanding.com

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Avena and Veronica

Waking up on an icy blue morning in the high Andes of Peru you might just shiver a bit as you contemplate your swift moves from the weighty blankets of your bed to the clothes you cleverly laid out the night before within arms reach. A cardigan to warm you as you make your way outside to the shower which thankfully is electric and guaranteed to be warm for at least two minutes. I made these moves many mornings as I got my act together for the day ahead.               I am a creature of comforts and only swap them for the thrill of an adventure. I gave my adventure wings when I bought the ticket to fly me to Peru and the landed myself in a small town, which happens to be a ‘Living Inca Musuem’ by the name of Ollantaytambo. I quickly realised that going to bed early (9pm) was a great idea. In July and August the temperatures drop from mid 20 (degrados) to sometimes minus one or two. It was too cold to stay up and I didn’t understand the Spanish TV just yet. I was usually well awake before 6am and already learning my Spanish and writing my letters to friends and family back home.

As I started my Peruvian life I was about to discover the things that made waking up a delight to every Peruvian. Food is certainly a factor. My host Qeta at Qusiqoller invited me to join her for a daily helping of Avena, the closest thing to porridge that I discovered here. A more finely ground grain than the oats I had been accustomed to, more runny and with some cinnamon and apple added. It warmed me and since it was home-made it was certainly appreciated.

And the other thing that made my heart beat with extra warmth after having my hot Avena breakfast? The sight of Glacier Veronica as I made my way to the square passing the country people collecting their grass to fatten their goats and sheep. Veronica! It’s my mothers name so it seemed as if it was purposely there to remind me of my own home. The mountains are as sacred to the Peruvians today as they were to their Inca descendants. They represent Apu’s, Gods, protectors of the people. Tropical glaciers certainly are important to the agriculture and water supply of these lands. But the sight of this Glacier with it’s brilliant white cap against the dazzling blue sky and its snow white  river known as ‘Sacred Tears’ gave me great joy as i greeted the busy day in this thriving town. Men running with backpacks of the Inca trailer tourists, whizzed passed me on these mornings, perhaps full of Avena and the sight of Veronica.

And I was part of all of this wonderment for nine weeks of my precious life. I had no idea the impact it would have on me then and I am only slowly coming to terms with it now.  Thank God for Avena and the sight of Veronica in a Peruvian land.

Avena, Traditional Peruvian Food, Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham tells a story about life in the Peruvian town of Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Cuzco

Good Herb Hierba Bueno

If you read my article regarding my trip to Urubamba Market then you may remember my delicate incident after eating a strawberry. Well, thankfully there was a remedy, recommended by my landlady Qeta at Qusikoller, Ollantaytambo. Hierba Bueno literally means ‘Good Herb’. It had a minty taste, more like peppermint and it certainly revived me after my episode of diabolical-ria. It even looked soothing as I gazed into the cup. Qeta had a good supply of it growing in  a little pot inside her door along with other useful herbs which come in handy for the making of tasty soups.

If you would like to read more about life in Peru please FOLLOW my blog. I am currently detailing my 9 weeks experience living in Ollantaytambo, World Heritage Site and Living Inca Museum.

Gracias.

To The Market – Urubamba

There is a saying in Ireland that goes like this: ‘the way to a mans heart is through his stomach’. However, I don’t think any human being could forget the sight, smell or taste of the organic, home grown food produced in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

Urubamba has a large indoor market and is less than 30 minutes drive from Ollantaytambo (where I lived for 9 weeks in 2013). It costs 1 Sol 50 cents to go by mini-van with stunning views of the mountains and Urubamba river to be admired along the way.

Wednesday is the best day to go as, that is the day when the freshest produce is available. So off I went on a Wednesday to see for myself. It was tremendous to be surrounded by so many good things that Pacha Mama/Mother Earth created. I absorbed it all, the colours, the earthy and fruity smells and the busy atmosphere of the market.

One elderly man spoke to me in what I assumed to be Quechua (the language of the Incas). I remembered some phrases that my Ollantaytambo friends had been teaching me and found the words to ask ‘how are you?’ The elderly man sat up in grand surprise and smiling from ear to ear he stretched forward to offer me his hand in a friendly shake. I giggled to myself thinking ‘he must have understood my Quechua.’

I took many photos and even tried on clothes, discovering rather indelicately that I am a bit larger in size than the Peruvian ladies. ‘Grande! Grande’!’ I was told by one sales woman as she shouted for all to hear. There were only 3 sizes available, Small, Grande and Extra Grande. We ended up laughing about my reaction to being told I was LARGE….back in Europe I am much smaller!

I did to my detriment, however, eat a marvelous strawberry that was handed to me by one stall owner. In my delight I ignored the rule about ‘washing all fruit’ before eating and next morning after a lengthy session in the baňos (loo) my landlady enquired ‘what did you eat at the market?’ I groaned when I thought of the strawberry, it was delicious at the time but had malicious consequences.

I now look back in humour and leave you with some photographs in memory of that day…spot the strawberry ( O; and stay tuned for more about Peruvian food and Life in Ollantaytambo, Peru.

Eat Love Peru!

Peru boasts a wealth of gastronomical dishes and you don’t have to visit a fancy restaurant to find that out. Cooking and eating might as well be included among the sacred rituals continued from Inca times for these two occupations were embraced with passion and reverence in all quarters of my hang-outs in the Sacred Valley region of Cuzco.

As a tourist in Peru it is not so likely that you will discover the many eating houses that the Peruvians themselves frequent unless you decide to be a stalker for a day to see where they are going at those times when hunger strikes. If you do take this adventure you will be presented with a choice of set menus of the day, serving 2 or maybe 3 courses with a drink (chicha morado or fresh juices) and all for at least a third the cost of what is charged in tourist restaurants.

There is also a wealth of stalls and small eateries serving what is sometimes labelled ‘street-food’ perhaps skewered pieces of vegetable and meat which smells delicious and tastes to match. In the eateries one of my favourite dishes was the Papas Rellana’s. A ball of mashed potato’s stuffed with some chopped up vegetable and minced meat and a boiled egg in the centre, fried in oil and served hot.

Why not give it a go when you are next in Cuzco before or after your trip to Machu Picchu.

If you have a passion for food and would like to learn more about Peruvian dishes and drinks, FOLLOW my blog as I will be posting some recipes soon!!