Q&A with Alejandro
Alejandro’s top 4 Peruvian ingredients:
Quinoa - The world’s latest super food is a staple grain revered since Inca times.
Peruvian lime - has an intense flavour and gives zest to many dishes.
Aji amarillo - Peru’s most popular chilli is of medium heat and has a unique fruity taste.
Huacatay (black mint) - tastes like a mix of basil, tarragon, mint and limes.
What makes Peru a good food destination?
The diversity of its ingredients, cultural influences and regions make Peru a unique and special melting pot of flavours and magical surprises.
The cuisine of coastal Peru celebrates the sea, with the Pacific Ocean rich in fresh fish and seafood, and is emboldened by aji amarillo peppers (Peruvian yellow chili), citrus from limes, cinnamon and cloves that spice sweets and the grapes used in traditional Pisco.
The Andean sierra regions use earthy foods, like potatoes and root vegetables, green vegetables from the mountains, corn and wild animals like vicuñas and alpacas. And the Amazon Jungle supplies river fish and tropical fruits unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
What ingredients encapsulate Argentinean cuisine?
Argentinean cuisine is all about aromatic herbs and delicate cooking techniques like the artisanal curing of meats brought by Italian immigrants, who mastered the art of charcuterie and offal cuts.
You can also find a very good quality river salmon in the south region of Argentina, which is also a special area for gamey meats.
What is something specific to Peruvian food culture that you find fascinating?
We Peruvians have always known about the wonders of our food. In Peru everything is about eating, and we like to sit down and enjoy our food no matter if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, we just love it. Peruvian chefs now are taking Peruvian gastronomy to another level with more elaborated dishes and also sharing it with the world, opening restaurants abroad and getting an incredible response.
What is something specific to Argentinean food culture that you find fascinating?
For me Argentina is that place that transports you back in time to the elegant and traditional Europe with their delicate pastries and café culture. Their understanding of meats and the utilisation of the whole animal has created many unique dishes.
When in Argentina a friend told me 'Argentinian food is like a love affair that starts in the fields and ends with an explosion of flavours on the table'.
Do not leave Argentina until you’ve…
Learnt the intricate and unique way of the Argentinean asado – from the beginning until the end and finishing sharing a yerba maté with friends, which is without a doubt a very Argentinean thing to do.