You don’t need to be a food expert to enjoy the tastiness of Peruvian cuisine, but pairing the delight of your taste buds with an understanding for different cultural influences and region-specific ingredients that are cooked into the food you eat definitely enhances your dining out experience in Lima.
When the opportunity to join Lima Gourmet on their Evening Tour popped up, it was an offer I couldn’t pass up!
Gastronomical Tour in Lima
Cala, Drinks with an Ocean View
Nothing breaks the ice like an evening cocktail, and paired with the remarkable ocean view at Cala, our culinary tour with expert guide Lourdes kicked off with flying colors.
Pisco is a clear liquor distilled from grapes that’s mixed into many creative Peruvian cocktails. We gathered around the restaurant’s bar as the bartender showed us how to make Peru’s most beloved cocktail, the pisco sour. While the lime juice, triple sec, and pisco he poured into the cocktail shaker came as no surprise, the “secret ingredient” used to create the drink’s signature white froth (I don’t want to give away any surprises) was an eyebrow raising addition for many.
Then we made our way to the outside seating area where waves crash onto the pebbled beach just a few feet away. Between sips of our cocktails, our group made introduction and snapped obligatory photos with the setting sun over the ocean. A brainstorm ensued for how to best describe the taste of our pisco sours; and what we came up with was “the perfect blend of sweet with tangy.”
Lourdes directed conversation from drinks to Peru’s world famous food as we geared up for the next destination of our culinary tour.
Amaz, It’s a Tasty Jungle Inside
Like Peruvian gastronomy as a whole, staple dishes from the Amazon has evolved from a mix of local and immigrant influences. Rice and chicken are national staples no matter where you go in Peru, and in the Amazon, you’ll find them prepared with tropical flair. Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino brought jungle-inspired cuisine to Lima’s Miraflores district in 2012 with the opening of Amaz, and this recognized restaurant serves as the second tour stop with Lima Gourmet.
Bright accent colors and jungle-crafted furniture set the stage for the dining experience. Small wooden bowls filled with finely chopped ingredients greeted us at our table and Lourdes explained that we’d prepare our own jungle-style ceviche (made with bananas, not the usual fish). Then our waiter served a savory rice dish, blending Asian with Amazon fusion we learned, and chicken kababs lathered in a heavenly peanut-coconut sauce.
Covering more than 60 percent of Peru and home to a host of tropical microclimates, it’s no wonder the Amazon region gifts an extensive pantry of ingredients! At Amaz we added spice to our dishes by using jungle-native peppers and tasted exotic fruits blended into our beverages.
It would have been easy to fill up on the oh-so-tasty food samplers at Amaz, but we were only halfway through our tour and determined to save room in our bellies for what was to come.
Huaca Pucllana, Dining Alongside History
The Huaca Pucllana Restaurant is named for the impressive archaeological site located adjacent to it. From our table at the restaurant we savored eat bite while admiring views of the illuminated adobe pyramids before us.
Huaca Pucllana was constructed by the ancient cultures from Peru’s coastal region and Lourdes told us about its spiritual significance.
The wait staff served us platters with four different Peruvian fusion dishes to sample. From seafood options including parmesan covered scallops to lesser known options like anticuchos, a Creole meat dish, our taste buds definitely got a fill of Peru’s flavor diversity.
Just as Lourdes had done throughout the entire tour, she told us about various cultural influences on particular dishes and special insights about key ingredients.
Crem dela Crem, Something Sweet
The last stop of our culinary tour was at Crem dela Crem, a charming artisanal gelato shop in Barranco.
Rows of savory classic and intriguingly exotic flavors greeted us at the counter. Our group gave signs of relief when Lourdes announced that – of course – we would be able to sample a few options before making our final order.
With full stomachs and joyful hearts, we buckled up for our transfer back to our original pick-up spot and agreed in unison that the tour was a smashing success.
Britt is a California native who left her home to explore South America in 2013 and now lives in Peru. She’s just a little obsessed about planning getaways with her family, scuba diving, and trekking.