We started the day again with breakfast on the balcony looking out over the beautiful square.
After having our fill of cheese, bread, cereals and fruit, we set off for the market.
Mercado San Camilo is Arequipa’s big central market and is packed full of items, from grains and breads to fruits and vegetables, and from fish and meat to traditional herbal remedies.
It’s big and bustling and you can find just about any local food product that you could possibly want!
It’s an amazing place to explore, but do keep your valuables close at all times. Arequipa is one of the safest cities I’ve been to in Peru, but as you all know in every city across the world, pick pockets are always looking for an easy opportunity.
After a pretty speedy shop, we made a stop upstairs (next to the flower section) for some queso helado. Despite what the name suggests, it is not cheese ice cream (see my previous Arequipa post about this).
It’s sweet and coconut-y and comes sliced into slabs and dusted with cinnamon for you to share at little plastic tables. The little stall is called ‘Rosa’, named after the lady who makes and serves it. In fact, it’s some of the best you will find in Arequipa (I was informed by many an Arequipeñan of this!)
You must also try the traditional pan de tres puntas, which is triangular in shape and delicious. You can find it everywhere in the market so just look for the best deal!
We returned to the hotel with bags of traditional breads, artisanal cheeses, butter, dried meat, and grains. It can be cheaper to buy certain things here than in Lima as it all comes from the surrounding areas.
We checked out and situated ourselves on the balcony whilst we each went off to do some last minute shopping. And well….chocolate was bought and chocolate was eaten.
Arequipa is home to La Iberica, a chocolatier who sell great quality chocolate for a variety of markets and in a range of prices. It is slightly cheaper here than in Lima but not hugely so, so don’t feel as if you need to stock up. Although that doesn’t stop people leaving the many stores with bags full of boxes and bars of chocolatey treats.
After we had squeezed our purchases into the little space we had left, we headed off for a last lunch at a restaurant called Zig Zag.
It’s run by the company Alpandina whose dishes are representative of the mountain regions of Peru (such as that of Arequipa). However they also utilise techniques from both the Alps and the Andes, hence the cross between both mountain ranges in their name.
The restaurant is spread over two floors, but it’s actually a very cosy space to eat in and the decor has a lot of European influence. This is definitely the case for the beautiful iron spiral staircase that is showcased right in the middle of the restaurant, as it was designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel!
We all chose one of the set menus they offer, including their speciality of a trilogy of meats cooked on a hot volcanic stone.
We started with bread, herby dip and a mixture of flavoured butters.
Then a nice fresh salad arrived, which was a perfect contrast to the meat dish we knew would be arriving next! Crisp lettuce, sweet tomatoes, and creamy avocado topped with a drizzle of dressing and a handful of crunchy croutons. Simple but excellent.
Then the main event arrived….
I had chosen pork, beef and alpaca (the other option is chicken), and they were all perfectly cooked and so juicy.
I am literally salivating just thinking about them!! I have to say though, that the beef was truly exceptional so please make that one of your choices!
The meats arrive still sizzling on the hot volcanic serving stone so you can carry on cooking them to the level of your choice. To protect your clothes, you will be given a delightful paper bib!
Your meats come with an accompaniment of your choice and I went for the native potatoes which were drizzled in butter and herbs. You also have 4 sauces/butters to add a little extra flavour to your meat if you so desire.
I was pretty full after all that meat, however I still managed to squeeze in a small bowl of chocolate ice cream….
Everyone has a separate dessert stomach, right?
After all that delicious food, it was finally time to leave the sunny heights of the Andes and return to Lima.
Ciao Arequipa! You were amazing and I will definitely be back to explore more of what you have to offer.
Let me know if you do get to visit and tag me in your Instagram photos (@emssliceofperu) so I can see all of the beautiful places you find!
Mercado San Camilo // It borders 4 different streets, but it’s on Google Maps!
Zig Zag // 210 Zela Street, Arequipa