Where to eat in Peru: the picanterìas of Arequipa
Traveling does not only mean admiring the architectural beauties and landscapes of other countries and cities, but also savoring its traditions and culture through gastronomy. So, if you have decided to book a holiday in Peru, add a stop in Arequipa to your roadmap.
Located in southern Peru, between the Pacific and the Andes, surrounded by a series of volcanoes and mountains that exceed 6,000 meters, Arequipa is one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. Known as "Ciudad Blanca" for its sillar architecture, a particular light-colored volcanic rock, its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
But it is not only for the cathedrals and buildings that Arequipa is worth a visit: the city is in fact also known for its delicious and varied local dishes, which you can appreciate in the so-called & nbsp; picanterías. In the beginning they were private homes known as chicherías where chicha was produced and sold, a fermented purple corn drink, with a particular taste, between sweet, sour and bitter, non-alcoholic, but with multiple virtues for the organism. Then, over time, these picanterìas & nbsp; also began to cook until they became very popular places where they still produce and chicha associated with spicy and spicy dishes, linked to the Andean and Spanish ancestral tradition.
There is something for all palates: the stuffed rocoto (type of spicy pepper cooked in the oven, stuffed with minced meat, spices, cheese, eggs and milk), the solterito de queso (onion salad, beans, cheese and choclo) , the warm blanco (meat and vegetable broth), the chicharrón de cerdo (pork cracklings), the guisado (stew), the famous adobo dominical (marinated raw meat or fish) and the queso helado (milk-based ice cream, cinnamon, coconut and spices).
Today there are about forty traditional picanterías recognized as such in Arequipa and grouped in the Sociedad Picantera de Arequipa created in 2012 to protect and promote the most traditional Peruvian cuisine, united by some characteristics: offering chicha de güiñapo, preparing a specific dish every day, serve spicy and finally be a place where everyone can enjoy the popular cuisine of Arequipa and socialize.
Due to their traditional character, picanterías are generally popular places with a folkloric character, with long tables, benches, terracotta pots and lots of fun. In one of these picanterìas you can know the history of all the recipes (more than 700): it is the La Benita picantería of Characato, which inside houses a sort of museum dedicated to these picturesque places.