Published on May 5th, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut
Peruvian Cuisine Makes The Headlines — Again
|Ceviche is among Peru’s most internationally celebrated dishes.|
BY CATRIONA SPENCE
Peru’s increasingly renowned cuisine has been making the headlines again. At the end of March, Peruvian cuisine won the first Cultural Patrimony of the Americas award. Now the bid is in to declare the nation’s culinary tradition a World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Considering the great wealth and diversity in the tastes, ingredients and styles of Peru’s proud food tradition, it is little wonder it is causing such a stir. Peruvian food differs according to the region and noticeably between the mountains, jungle and coast.
As you’d probably expect, fish is a staple in the coastal diet and is the main ingredient in ceviche, probably Peru’s best-known dish. Consisting of white fish, or a mixture of white fish and seafood, marinated in lime juice; coriander; aji (chilli) and garlic, and accompanied with sweet potato; lettuce; maize and cancha (roasted maize), the dish is famously popular as the ideal lunchtime meal on a sunny afternoon at the beach.
Coinciding with the Cultural Heritage bid is a new film entitled De Ollas y Sueños, or “Cooking up Dreams,” that explores Peruvian cuisine, its historical roots and regional differences.
The director of the film, Ernesto Cabellos, explains his attempt was “to bring Peruvian gastronomy to the world.” UNESCO recognizes the role that heritage plays in society and so set up the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention in order to safeguard those important heritages that are in threat of being lost to the modern world. Peru has already gained recognition by UNESCO for five other areas of cultural importance including the Danza de las Tijeras (scissors dance) and the textile art of Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca.
The Cultural Patrimony of the Americas award was received by the Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, in Washington on 23 March. The award, presented by the Organization of American States, was created to spread the cultural contribution of the Latin American countries to the world as well as enhance their place in the international arena.
It has certainly fulfilled its purpose as recently Peruvian cuisine has been enjoying greater popularity abroad. In far-away London, Peruvian food is being talked of as the new food to try, with numerous new restaurant openings. Forget sandwiches — a ceviche takeaway is the new lunchtime meal.
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