The mountain citadel of Machu Picchu stirs the imaginations of visitors to Peru. Sitting between two peaks and overlooking a river, the ancient Incan city was virtually impenetrable. The city’s engineering has fascinated tourists since it was rediscovered in 1911.
Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist site in the South American country. Traveling to the site is tricky. Rains are heavy and experts say the best time to visit is May through October. However, there are tremendous crowds in July and August.
The mountainous Incans were ingenious in food cultivation by creating terraces to grow crops. The terraces were crafted with a rock base and proper drainage to avoid flooding. Vegetables grown include a variety of potatoes, corn, and arracacha, simillar to carrots.
One of the more unusual vegetables include oca, a sweet produce used as a sweetener until the Spanish introduced sugar. Another unique vegetable was Amaranth, now called kiwicha, a flowering plant that was a staple for ancient peoples. The Spanish banned it because it was also used in ancient religious ceremonies.
The primary meat for ancient mountain peoples was guinea pigs. They were easy to keep and multiplied quickly. Llama and Alpaca meat were also considered a part of the ancient diet.
Modern Peruvian food pays homage to its ancient past using Incan techniques and many ingredients. New Peruvian flavors are fusion dishes combining elements Peruvian cooking included over time with ongoing immigration and imported products.
Those who wanting to experience true Peruvian cuisine can visit La Costanera Restaurant, located outside of San Francisco. This Peruvian restaurant, like the ancient city, is also located on a high perch overlooking water. From its view of the Pacific Ocean to the beauty of the meal served, La Costanera Restaurant gives guests both the authentic food and atmosphere they crave. Come and see for yourself!