Happy January everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that you’re looking forward to a great 2017.
My family back in the UK have had some super cold, frosty days recently, while in contrast we’re experiencing the hottest January for 19 years I believe!! It’s crazy hot and humid and the only thing that makes it bearable is ice cream. A lot of ice cream!
Some of you might say “That’s not a dessert”, or even “What the hell is lúcuma?”, but I assure you that this is the main ingredient in some of the tastiest desserts here in Peru. So, yes, technically not a dessert in itself, but a major player in the dessert arena, and I could not make a list of Peruvian desserts without it.
Lúcuma is a fruit native to Peru and I have not noticed it to be eaten commonly as a raw fruit. It has quite a burnt taste about it, but when mixed with ingredients for ice creams or mousses, it lends a caramel note to the dish, which is just beautiful. The colour is a deep yellowy-orange, not that far removed from an egg yolk or a sweet potato perhaps. Which is a coincidence because a sweet potato also gives a sweet, caramel flavour to dishes when cooked. When sliced in half, the lúcuma looks like an orange avocado, due to its green skin and large brown seed in the middle.
The fruit is most commonly used mixed with dairy ingredients to make ice cream, smoothies and mousses, and it also partners very well with chocolate.
Where would I recommend in Lima to eat a lúcuma dessert?
Seeing as the blog is taking a trip across the ocean and back to my homeland of Britain, I thought it only right to make my first post a Peruvian one.
Virgilio Martinez is a well known Peruvian chef and opened an extremely successful restaurant here in Lima called Central, which is currently ranked at number 15 in the world and number 1 in Latin America. Fortunately for the UK, he took his skills to London and opened Lima which has also been a huge success and has even received a highly coveted Michelin Star. Lima has been so successful in London that Virgilio recently opened a second restaurant in Covent Garden called Lima Floral.
I was lucky enough in December last year to be able to visit the original Lima restaurant, just off of Oxford Street in the heart of London (thanks Dad!!)
When I say Asia I’m referring to the beach, not the continent. That would be a lot of travel for only 24 hours! Seeing as it’s getting towards the end of the hottest part of summer, we decided to whisk ourselves off for 24 hours to enjoy some sun, sea, sand, food and drink in the vibrant coastal area of Asia. Driving down the Panamericana Sur on a Saturday lunchtime meant I had to make a couple of stops on the way to our destination. Food is necessary for a good road trip! Continue reading
Sundays are days for relaxing.
Days for Skype-ing. For eating. For drinking. And then later, for lying in bed with Netflix.
I love Sundays. And I love Tanta.
Tanta is one of Gaston Acurio’s restaurant chains, with a few branches within Lima and Peru, and then the rest dotted across the globe, even as far afield as Barcelona. For those who may not know, Gaston is an ambassador for Peruvian cuisine and has helped to promote it, alongside other chefs, all over the world. He has been a big influence in Peru gaining worldwide accolades for their incredible food scene, both in the restaurants and the raw ingredients that are produced here.
Tanta serves typical, traditional Peruvian (or Peruvian fusion) cuisine, but often in a modern way. However, just because Tanta was started by Gaston and is very fresh and modern, does not mean the restaurant is overly fancy or expensive. The dishes here are not tiny morsels in the middle of large plates, which is obviously perfect for me, and the prices are so reasonable (main dishes are between S/25 and S/50).
Due to the fact that it is summer in Lima, restaurants are normally fairly empty as everyone heads to the nearby beaches. However, arriving at 2pm, we found Tanta its normal, popular, busy self.