A Slice of Christmas // Mince Pies with a Peruvian Twist

a-slice-of-christmas-7 // A Slice of Peru

For me, Christmas isn’t complete without a mince pie… or 10. In Peru, these amazing little guys just do not exist so I have to make them myself. If my parents visit just before Christmas they bring me out a jar of mincemeat so I can just make the pastry and they’re ready to go. However, this year this was not the case so I made my mincemeat filling from scratch.

Now for those of you who are wondering what the heck a mince pie is, let me elaborate. Continue reading

Escape to the Dunes // Pisco Tasting at La Caravedo

Ica is the main area in Peru for distilling pisco, the national spirit.

Pisco is made in a similar way to some types of brandy, but the final product is clear instead of dark. The grape juice is first fermented until it becomes a young wine. This means pisco is actually made from wine, not from the leftovers of wine production. After the fermentation has taken place, it is distilled and then rested in an odourless, non-reactive container (no wood) for a minimum of three months until it can be bottled. Pisco production is very strictly regulated and each producer must follow these same rules.

Pisco is absolutely delicious, especially when you buy it from a great producer.

La Caravedo // A Slice of Peru

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Escape to the Dunes // Las Dunas Resort, Ica

I have been amazingly lucky to visit Ica twice this year.

It was an area I had been wanting to visit for a while now and this year was finally the time. I went in April when my brother came to stay and more recently for my birthday at the end of August.

This first post is actually all about the latter stay and the beautiful resort we stayed in to celebrate my 30th.

So, without further ado….

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Peru in London // Lima (Fitzrovia)

Seeing as the blog is taking a trip across the ocean and back to my homeland of Britain, I thought it only right to make my first post a Peruvian one.

Virgilio Martinez is a well known Peruvian chef and opened an extremely successful restaurant here in Lima called Central, which is currently ranked at number 15 in the world and number 1 in Latin America. Fortunately for the UK, he took his skills to London and opened Lima which has also been a huge success and has even received a highly coveted Michelin Star. Lima has been so successful in London that Virgilio recently opened a second restaurant in Covent Garden called Lima Floral.

I was lucky enough in December last year to be able to visit the original Lima restaurant, just off of Oxford Street in the heart of London (thanks Dad!!)

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Día Nacional del Pisco Sour 2015

How can I celebrate the national drink of Peru I hear you cry? Fear not, I am here to help you in your quest to find an event to celebrate the ‘Pisco Sour’.

The pisco sour is a drink made from the country’s national spirit pisco, mixed or shaken with egg white, limón juice (sometimes different fruits or herbs), and sugar syrup. It is then either blended with ice or just shaken with it.pisco sour recipe

(This recipe is taken from experience and recommendations, however notes were taken from here, here and here.)

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Expo Vino 2014 – Wine, wine and more wine

This event is but one of a million reasons why I love Wong.

Wong is one of the supermarkets here in Lima and to be honest it is by far the best. The staff, the food, their customer service, and the fact that I can buy and consume an ice cream while I shop, is what gives me such a high opinion of them.

Every year they put on an event to showcase the best wines in Latin America and also wines from the rest of the world that are available in Peru. This year it was from the 16th-18th October (last weekend) and there were over 800 wines and 200 kinds of pisco to try. Each vineyard or label has a stand showcasing the best of their wines and you are invited to taste a sample from whichever bottles tempt you in. Having lived in Lima for almost 2 years now I have tried a fair amount of South American wine and I was also lucky enough to attend the event last year too. Both of these things meant that this year I could really focus in on the wines I had yet to try, or wines that are perhaps not as widely available or normally too expensive to purchase by the bottle.

The selection of wines is enormous and it is absolutely impossible to be able to try everything, so it’s best to try and narrow them down. You would think that perhaps reducing your choices to some of the wines that had won medals would be a good place to start. However, we found that some of the bottles that had won the higher prizes were not for tasting (including one bottle that cost S/1000). Also, some of the popular wines only had display bottles, and none for us to actually taste, although they had been available in the previous days, perhaps suggesting that the vineyard had only provided a small selection of bottles for tasting.

We tasted a lot of wines (red, white, rose and sparkling), so in this article I am just going to talk about some of the wines that really stood out for us as being some of the best, and a sparkling wine that we thought would be perfect for summer. I will also mention some great options that have been tried and tested during my stay here and are also readily available in Wong.

I’d like to point out that these are my opinions and therefore just an idea of what to expect. After all, I am not a sommelier!

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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.

Fiestas Patrias! Feliz 28 de Julio Perú!

Happy Fiestas Patrias!

Today is Peru’s Independence Day; 192 years of independence to be precise! And with this national holiday already in full swing, I bet you are thinking ‘What can I do to join in the fun?’. Well there is plenty going on in Lima, the rest of Peru, and even across the pond, so if you feel like celebrating, here are a few ways to enjoy and celebrate a great nation!

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