My Favourite…. Torta de Chocolate

dolce cakeThis is not technically a specifically Peruvian dessert, however you won’t find a pasteleria here in Lima without their version of chocolate cake. Also, you might have heard that cacao here is a big deal so, you know, it’s only fair to include the cake in my list of Peruvian desserts. Oh, and I love chocolate cake.

Are you, like me, one of those people that always has hope at any parties or weddings that you attend that the cake is going to be a chocolate one? Yeah, thought so.

Chocolate cake here in Peru comes in many forms. From a two or three layer dense and sticky cake to a one layer chocolate packed wonder. From a manjar blanco-y (that is a word btw), fudgy icing, to a simple chocolate ganache. And just about everything in between. Oh yes, everything. On the bad side, I’ve eaten chocolate cake that just tasted of cake….no chocolate, just cake. On the positive, some bakeries like to twist it up a notch adding truffles, liqueurs, and other fancy items, which do not often disappoint.

However, I have decided that for my recommendations I want to focus on the old favourite of chocolate cake + icing. Now in my search for said perfect cake, I have found that there were certain criteria.

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Paris in the Winter

Last week I was sharing on Instagram some of my favourite photos from my little trip to Europe in January. It was basically a show of support for Europe and the EU in light of the referendum. I’m not going to discuss that awful outcome right now, because it makes me equally sad and angry, but I just wanted to share a little more Europe love with you all!!

I’ve been to Paris before so I’d already seen and been to some places, so this 24 hours was a mix of revisiting a few locations and finding some new favourites.

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Bookmarked // August

This has been a great month, well at least the end of it! August is my birthday and I always celebrate it with huge excitement, as I have done ever since I was about 4 years old. This year was no exception, and like most years it revolves around how much amazing food I can eat.

I spent my actual birthday in 4 different restaurants, and then the following day I made an English tea party extravaganza for all my Peruvian friends, and it was an absolute blast. Sunday was all about relaxation, cake and champagne….

 

August

THIS MONTH I HAVE BEEN …

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Sunday Lunch // La Vista at JW Marriott

Sunday lunches are my kind of lunches. Long, lazy and with a lot of food.

And at The Marriott, ‘a lot of food’ is just what they’re offering.

The Marriott Hotel is situated just behind the Malecon (the path that follows the clifftop) and Larcomar shopping centre in Miraflores, and their restaurant ‘La Vista’ has beautiful views of the ocean in front of it.

sparkles and the view

La Vista has 4 types of buffet throughout the week; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (amazing) and a Sunday lunch buffet.

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El Pan de la Chola

El Pan de la Chola is a bakery and café all-in-one and it is one of my favourites.

entrance

I first visited about 6 months ago, but my friend Vanessa had never been, so I took this opportunity to introduce her to the wonders of the freshly baked bread here.

Jonathan Day, the owner, honed his baking skills whilst living in London after finding breads there that were not like those to be found in Lima. He brought his knowledge back with him to Peru, eventually opening El Pan de la Chola, home to amazing bread, coffee, extracts and sweet treats.

His bread is made just using flour (ground on site), water and a starter. No yeast, just the natural starter to help it rise and it is left to do so for 24 hours.

bread

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This Weekend // Festival de la Vendimia

As a district with a few vineyards of its own, Santiago de Surco in Lima celebrates the Grape Harvest Festival (Festival de la Vendimia). The main festival takes place in Ica, south of Lima, a place renowned for its vineyards and pisco. However, we have our own festival here in Surco with food, live music and even a queen of the Vendimia!

A parade took place last weekend on Avenida Benavides to kick off the festivities and this weekend sees the Plaza de Armas in Old Surco filled with food stalls and entertainment, and to showcase the stars of the show, there are various brands of wine and pisco to be found in all corners of the plaza.The festival runs from the 20-23 March so you still have a chance to check it out!

The food here is from restaurants located in Surco so the festivities are as much about promoting this district, as it is about celebrating the harvest. There are all kinds of offerings here from Amazonian cuisine to ceviche, so I will share a few of my recommendations after tasting my way around the festival this week!

TO START // Pan de Chorizo from Del Arquez. Amazing artisanal chorizo, packed with flavour and softer than some of the chorizo you can find in Peru. Served in a soft bun for S/6 I believe. It may be a little more expensive than chori-pan (chorizo+bread) elsewhere, but it’s a million times better.

MAIN DISH // The triple plate from Calamarcos, containing ceviche, chicharron de calamar (fried calamari) and arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), served with canchas (fried corn) and sweet potato. I highly recommend this stall and I am dying to visit the restaurant! The calamari was some of the best I have tasted (perfectly cooked and amazing batter), the ceviche was amazing too.

DESSERT // A slice of pie de limón (lemon meringue pie) from Delicias y Gustitos. The whole pie was rustic looking, so clearly homemade, and it was covered in a very light (as in, I-could-have-eaten-more-than-one-slice-and-not-felt-bad-about-it) meringue (but plenty of it!)

Torta de Higo (fig cake) from the Adulto Mayor stand. Moist, sweet and really tasty! A slice will set you back S/3.50.

TO DRINK // Taste the Pisco from El Guayabo in a chilcano (S/6). This vineyard is only a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas and they make an excellent Pisco. They also sell it by the bottle too and I may or may not have bought one…

EXTRAS // Try the platano asado (grilled plantain) from Las Brisas Ucayali. Only S/3 for some sweet, grilled goodness!

So head down, support Surco, eat a lot, and drink some Pisco in celebration of La Vendimia!!

PS sorry for lack of photos but my computer is not happy, so I can’t upload.

Bookmarked

OK, so I know I promised posts last week, but life and work has seemingly got in the way, so I haven’t got around to writing my posts up I am afraid. Although I feel that is how it should be; life should be taking over! But yeah, I have had a lot to get done  before my trip back UK side, but hopefully all will be published before I leave Lima!

This week I have been:

READING // I am saving all my books for my flights, no one likes to be sat in an airport with nothing to do. No one.

WATCHING // The Philharmonic Orchestra of Israel, conducted by Zubin Mehta, which is seen to be one of the best orchestras in the world. We saw them perform pieces by Mozart and Maher at the Gran Teatro Nacional del Perú in Lima this week and it was absolutely incredible.

EATING // We decided to go out for breakfast this week and headed to La Tiendecita Blanca just north of Kennedy Park in Miraflores. They do some good value set menus for tourists to try Peruvian food and some beautiful desserts (fyi my dad says the cheesecake is excellent). We tried their all inclusive tea menu, which includes coffee (or tea), a sandwich, juice (or pisco sour!) and a muffin (or strudel) for S/. 40. Could be seen as a little pricey, but try getting all those individual items for the same price! A lovely atmosphere, nice food and good service.

VISITING // The Inca Market in Miraflores on Petit Thouars (if you are coming up from Ricardo Palma, head straight for a couple of blocks, over Gonzales Prada and it is on your right hand side, opposite CompuPalace). This place is great for souvenirs, alpaca blankets, ceramics, paintings etc. I raided this place this week for stuff to take home for birthdays etc, it’s fun, and don’t forget to haggle a little!

My top online finds of the week (in no particular order):

  1. Birthday Cake Time! Only for another week more I promise! So, how about this pair of lovelies (I feel the giant candles are a bit much, oh and you may need google translate for the page!), or perhaps we just need an easy-peasy 2 ingredient white chocolate frosting?
  2. I am loving the look of this ice-cream….burnt sugar.…chocolate pieces
  3. 5 places to get rocoto relleno (stuffed chilli peppers) in Arequipa in a celebration of the city’s 473rd anniversary.
  4. In celebration of El Día del Niño (Children’s Day) this Sunday coming, here are a selection of children friendly recipes from Peru!
  5. Haha! DIY this!

 

bookmarked

 

Bookmarked

 

This week has been a very successful week. I have got my residency in Peru, and a super cool Carné de Extranjería (Foreign Person Card), with an OK-ish photo. I’m pretty sure it is the law of life that no one has an amazing photo on their passport, their drivers licence or any other kind of card. Yep definitely the law.

I probably could have had this a lot sooner, but due to lack of information available before I came to Peru and out there on the net, I went a pretty roundabout way of getting it! There were things I could have done in the UK first, documents I could have collected sooner, and to top it all off most of this takes place in downtown, so finding time to get down there can be a squeeze. Public holidays were also not timed well!! But anyway, the process is finished, and I can now impart my wisdom of things not to do when applying for your residency! I’ll get this posted as soon as I can.

Another success this week was our long weekend away in Canta! Well actually in a little town called Obrajillo just down the mountain from Canta. So much fun, and as I said before a post about this will be up this week. I took about a gazillion photos, so I have to go through them all! It’s a great excursion to take from Lima, especially in winter when you want to escape the grey clouds and misty rain for a few days to remember what the sky actually looks like!

However, I am back in Lima land now, and yesterday I was catching up on what has been happening in the world outside of our tent. I have to say though, I would like to be in that little bubble of no internet and TV etc more often. The world is a truly beautiful place to experience first hand and not via a screen.

So……this week I have been:

WATCHING // I have been releasing my inner geek and watching Star Trek: Next Generation! Haha! I know, but you have got to love Patrick Stewart. Also, along the same sci fi routes, Warehouse 13 is super fun to watch. I suggest you release your inner sci fi geek too!

EATING // Milanesa de trucha (breaded trout) in El Porteñito 1, Obrajillo. The trout in this little restaurant was amazing. Perfectly seasoned and so fresh. I also bought some locally made honey and manjar blanco, so I am in for a treat this week!

VISITING // Obrajillo, nr Canta, and the surrounding mountains. A truly beautiful place! Just check out the picture above. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

My top online finds for the week are (in no particular order):

  1. An interesting article about a budding journalist who travelled in South America on a very tight budget.
  2. Again, travelling on a budget? Take a look at the list of coolest hostels around the world.
  3. Birthday cake of the week….I’ve gone back to ice cream!
  4. Not for me, but how amazing is this cake of the world… (scroll down past Jupiter!)
  5. Awesome recipe for pork belly! Hello dinner time.

 

bookmarked

Bookmarked

Ok, let’s talk about ice cream.

It may be winter here, but to be honest at 18C I’m still thinking about ice cream, even though its cloudy, rainy and there is not a hope of sun. I have been eating a lot of it recently, I can’t help myself, because Lima has some great ice cream. Even Wong supermarket has awesome ice cream. And it’s not the regular ice cream tubs I mean, they have their own ice cream counter in their stores, so you can just casually do your shopping with an ice cream cone in hand. Freakin’ genius.

I’m going to have to start updating you with the best places and flavours, maybe one a week to keep my addiction going. I’ll tell myself I’m only eating the ice cream for research purposes and then it’s fine.

This week I have been:

READING // Alongside last week’s purchase of Citadel, I have also bought a short story by Kathy Reichs called Bones In Her Pocket. It’s still a Temperance Brennan story, but miniaturised!

WATCHING // Alongside watching the Emmy nominated House of Cards (1. Kevin Spacey is excellent, and 2. I never realised it was a British mini TV series in the 90’s first!), we are having an Alien movie marathon. After watching Prometheus, we decided to re watch them from the start. So good.

EATING // Hmmm, what have I eaten except ice cream? Maybe I should give you the name of my latest ice cream haunt Laritza D’. Good flavours, great sundaes, and FUDGE SAUCE. (I can’t find a website for these guys, if anyone knows of one, let me know)

My top online finds this week are (in no particular order):

  1. Trekking Peru’s Santa Cruz trail.
  2. Strange hotel jobs. My favourite is the guacamologist….say what?
  3. What makes a terrible airport….and a wishlist for a great one!
  4. OK Mum it’s Birthday Cake O’Clock! This week there is a chocolate theme…. This one with marshmallow frosting, or this salted caramel six layer one (both Martha Stewart), or perhaps even this one with dark chocolate ganache and raspberries (Call Me Cupcake). And just in case these aren’t enough, let’s see What Katie Ate
  5. Get cravings? Sweet or salty? This article will tell you what your body is really craving.
  6. And just because ice cream is my ‘thang’ right now, check these koalas out. Ge-ni-us haha.

bookmarked

Bookmarked

Wow, what a weekend! A lot of food, a lot of culture, a lot of movies, a lot of fun. Fiestas Patrias was such a celebration! See more about the celebration in my last post here.

This week I have been:

READING // I have just bought Citadel by Kate Mosse (not the model), the third and final book in the Languedoc Trilogy based in the same region in France. The books are set in both past and present with the stories intertwining. The first two books were very good, so I have high hopes for this one.

WATCHING // We have seen a fair few films this weekend, but some highlights included Prometheus, the prequel to Alien, (it was actually a very good film, and made us want to watch all the Alien films again!) and Kon-Tiki about the Norwegians who sailed a raft from Lima, Peru to Polynesia (an excellent film, mostly in Norwegian but with English subtitles, and beautifully shot).

EATING // We have eaten in abundance this weekend! Peruvian food from the Dulce Peru food festival, great Chinese food from San Joy Lao, super tasty pizza from Il Piccolo, huge ice cream sundaes from Laritza D, and sweet and crunchy toffee apples

VISITING // We took advantage of the free entry to museums and sites this weekend! We visited the archaeological site at Pachacamac, a religious centre built before and during the Inca reign, consisting of pyramids and a cemetery. It is incredible that you can still see some of the original paintwork on the bricks. We also went to MALI (Lima Museum of Art) to see the exhibition if paintings by Sabogal, one of Peru’s most famous painters.

My top 5 online finds of the week (in no particular order!):

  1. So, I’ve been carrying on my birthday cake hunt. Maybe this retro ice cream cake from Rachel Allen, or this chocolate cake from Bon Appetit?
  2. Perhaps this themed epic tower by Jacques Pastries? (It’s OK Mum, we can do the last one together, it might be a bit much for you by yourself!)
  3. The future of ice cream? And coffee, and yoghurt….
  4. Do you have kids? Are you a teacher? Check out this different coloured play-dough, no food colouring necessary…
  5. A great site for inspiration for quinoa recipes!

 

bookmarked