Mariëla was born in Pasco, one of the highest cities in the world, located in the central region of Peru. When she was six years old she moved to Lima city. Today she lives in the Netherlands. Her mission is to introduce as many Dutch people as possible to Peruvian cuisine. With her platform 'Proef Peru', on which she shares recipes and products and offers workshops, she wants to bring new flavors into people's dishes and give their taste buds new great sensations. She tells us all about Peruvian cuisine and food culture.
Peru is a country with one of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Each region in Peru has its own ingredients, traditions and cultures. The country consists of mountains as well as jungle and beaches. Mariëla tells us that Peruvian cuisine is also characterized by this diversity. Peruvian cuisine is a mix of ancient Inca, European, African and Asian culinary traditions. “The variety of ingredients, such as chili peppers, corn, potatoes, herbs, etc., provides special taste sensations.” Despite the diversity of cultures, different traditions and customs coexist. Every place in Peru has its own traditions. Mariëla's favorite traditions are La Pachamama Raymi and Inti Raymi. “Pachamama Raymi is one of the most important ancestral ceremonies in Peru. It takes place in Cusco during the first week of August. Its main purpose is to worship the Pachamama, Mother Earth, in thanks for the annual harvests. Inti Raymi is celebrated every June 24 in Cusco in honor of 'Inti', the sun god, to thank him for the warmth and energy that allows plants to grow. Food plays a major role during these traditions, Mariëla explains.”
“The variety of ingredients ensures special taste sensations.”
We are not yet very familiar with Peruvian cuisine, but Mariëla's stories have made us very curious about what is on the menu in Peru. Mariëla tells us that for breakfast Peruvians like to eat 'pan con Chicharron', Peruvian pork sandwich, and ceviche for lunch. “In general, we like to mix different Peruvian dishes, we call this 'combinados'.” An important ingredient is the potato. The potato is originated in Peru. The Incas were the first to grow potatoes on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Today you can find more than 4000 varieties of potatoes in Peru. They come in every shape and color; blue, yellow, red, pink and even bright purple varieties. The Peruvian potato was brought to Europe via the Spanish settlers. A favorite potato dish of Mariëla is causa limeña. In addition, Lomo Saltado and Escabeche de Pollo are among her favorite Peruvian dishes. “In the causa limeña, the 'Aji Amarillo', yellow Peruvian chili pepper, gives the potatoes such a special taste. It is the favorite of many Peruvians. It's so special to me because I always cooked this dish for my friends and family in Peru. Lomo Saltado is a delicious beef tenderloin stir-fry that Chinese immigrants introduced to Peru. This is my family's favorite dish when I prepare it. Escabeche de Pollo is a stew that is usually eaten for lunch. This dish is special because of the combination of vinegar and sweetness,” Mariëla explains.
“Today you can find more than 4000 varieties of potatoes in Peru. They come in every shape and color.”
Mariëla is not the only one who wants to make people more familiar with Peruvian cuisine. She tells us that in recent years, several chefs and restaurants have continued to innovate Peruvian cuisine, which has given the cuisine more and more international fame and appreciation. Today, the top 10 best restaurants in the world even consist of 2 Peruvian restaurants! And we understand why, because the recipes that Mariëla shared with us were amazing! Click on one of the links below and try it out for yourself!
Or go to www.proefperu.nl for more Peruvian recipes and products.