Urban Eats by night: Cusco Culinary Tour

Cusco culinary tour

Aracari’s head of marketing Caroline checks out our Cusco Culinary Tour – Urban Eats by night.

Peru has an international reputation for the variety of its ingredients and the ingenuity of its world-renowned chefs. A trip to Peru would not be complete without tasting your way through some of the country’s favourite flavours and dishes, and this is a great way to do it in Cusco.

Cusco culinary tour – led by a culinary expert

A fun way to immerse yourself in Peru’s unique fusion cuisine is on Aracari’s Cusco culinary tour – Urban Eats by night. On this sampling food tour through the streets of Cusco, you will learn about the many influences on Peruvian food that have helped position Peru as one of the world’s top culinary destinations – from Andean superfoods, to Pacific seafood, to international influences assimilated through waves of immigration and rich history.

Aracari specialises in culinary travel to Peru – check out our Peru culinary travel page for more suggestions of what we can create for foodie travelers. Contact us at travel@aracari.com to start planning your culinary adventure.

Last week I tried out Aracari’s Cusco culinary tour, meeting up with my guide for the evening, professional chef Jose Luis. We visited some of Cusco’s foodie hot spots to learn about and discuss the origins and influences of dishes and ingredients as we tried them.

Cusco Culinary tour – ceviche, potatoes, and delicious ‘picarones’ doughnuts

Cusco culinary tourJose Luis took me to a selection of restaurants, cafes and also a couple food stalls to sample different items. We started in Uchu, with an introduction to the classic dish ceviche. As this uses fresh seafood on the coast, inland in Cusco we had a variant – with trout.

We then moved on to the restaurant Marcelo Batata, where we sampled papa rellena (stuffed potatoes) and causa, washed down with a chilcano, a pisco-based cocktail. 

We then headed to restaurant La Feria, on Cusco’s main plaza, which serves traditional Peruvian fare with inspiration drawn from ‘picanterías’, a typical type of restaurant. Here we tried a filling pastel de papa.

A short stroll away we wandered down cobbled streets to reach a favourite local haunt – a street stall famous for its anticuchos. These beef heart skewers can see small queues form – but there is also a chicken alternative if you’re not feeling so adventurous!

Cusco culinary tourTo round off the culinary experience we ambled a few meters away to a simple, corner restaurant that sells only the popular night time snack of picarones, a type of fried doughnut made from sweet potato, dipped in a sweet, sugary sauce. The portions are huge and you can watch them being made fresh in front of you, before being deep fried. This was accompanied by a glass of chicha morada, purple corn juice.  

This was a fantastic foodie journey. At each place, instead of sitting for a full meal, you sample one or two dishes, therefore getting to try a wide selection of typical Peruvian food. Jose Luis expertly picked the best things to try, at the locations known for serving up the most authentic and delicious fare.

Each stop builds on the story of Peruvian food. We talked about Peruvian ingredients, where they’re grown, how they’re used, the history and origins of different dishes and much more.

Cusco culinary tour

Cusco Culinary tour – with gastronomy lessons thrown in

I learned that anticuchos, the tender beef heart skewers cooked over charcoal, though originating from the Andes with a Quechua name, are very much influenced by the flavors and spices introduced to Peru by African immigrants.

And picarones, originated in Lima during the viceroyaltyThey are similar to buñuelos, a type of doughnut brought to the colonies by the Spanish conquistadors, but uniquely Peruvian with their squash and sweet potato ingredients.

The chance to sit and enjoy each dish, while chatting with Jose Luis, made this a really fun, immersive experience, that I would certainly recommend for foodies looking for an insight into Peruvian culture and history through interesting ingredients.  

Aracari specialises in luxury, tailormade travel to Peru and we are experts on culinary travel, with many exclusive foodie experiences on offer. Have a look at our Culinary Travel pages and our 10 day Peru with Flavor itinerary for inspiration. If you’d like to start planning your tailormade trip to Peru, contact us or email travel@aracari.com 

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