What comes to mind when you think about Peruvian food? Fresh, rich, bold and hearty flavours!
Peruvian cuisine was born from the culinary fusion developed over a long process of cultural exchange between the Spanish, Africans, Chinese, Japanese and Italians, among others. There is plenty of fresh, vibrant and rich flavours from the unique anticucho de corazón (skewered cow heart) which have an African heritage to Ceviche, Peru’s emblematic dish which emerged from fusion with Japanese cuisine. Not to also forget the ancient crop quinoa which has increased in popularity in recent times.
Last Saturday, our tastebuds were taken on a Peruvian journey with a long table dinner organised by Esperanza from Esperanza Events – Perth meets Peru paired with Australian Wines from Claret and Co and Peruvian Chilli (The Carmelita – www.fireworksfoods.com.au). Esperanza is the ambassador for Peruvian cuisine in Western Australia. She has started organising Peruvian demo cooking classes beginning with Alejandro Saravia, who is now running the UMA Peruvian restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel 8 years ago. Since then, Esperanza has been continuing to organise and promote Peruvian cooking classes, degustation tapas nights and long table dinners together with the very talented Peruvian chef, Luis Vergara.
For the first course, we had the Papa Rellena. Deep-fried mashed potatoes stuffed with adobo style beef marinated in mirasol chilli and kalamata olives, served with a crisp and fresh salsa criolla. The fresh salsa criolla added a contrast to the dish and the sweetness balances well with the tender beef. It was a dish matchmade in heaven with the Plan B Tempranillo Rose 2017.
The second course is the Ceviche Clasico, a signature Peruvian dish. Fresh snapper fillets cured in fruity and aromatic rocoto chilli with coriander and red onion served with crisp lettuce, corn and sweet potato. The snapper fillets were fresh and bursting full of acidity and citrus flavours. There is a hint of spice like a little surprise from the rocoto chilli. Did you know that the rocoto chilli is one of Peru’s hottest chilli peppers? It looks harmless on appearance but when you bite into it your mouth is on fire! The ceviche was paired perfectly with Lange Estate’s Providence Road Riesling 2018 which has citrusy and fruity notes with hints of lychee and spice. This is the perfect wine with any dish that has citrusy flavours.
Next up was the Pavo Enrollado. Juicy turkey breast stuffed with fruits (figs, apricots, cranberries etc) with citrus peel and mixed nuts. There’s also Quinoa Arrabe “Arroz Arabe” with a twist comprising of quinoa, coca-cola, crispy noodles and raisins. This dish definitely shouts Christmas or we say Christmas in July! The quinoa was the tastiest we have ever had and the turkey was so juicy and tender with an overall fruity flavour. The matching wine with this dish was with Wild and Wilder Inforgettable Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro 2018. This wine is a fruity, everyday style easy-drinking wine which is perfectly paired with the fruity profiles of this dish.
For dessert, we had the Chicha Morada Cheesecake, a cheesecake with a Peruvian twist. Chicha Morada is also known as purple corn. This cheesecake comprised of purple corn and cinnamon reduction served with compressed apple and pineapple. It was so delicious and the cheesecake was smooth and creamy. What a great way to finish our Peruvian foodie journey!
Both of us enjoyed the food and matching wines from the long table dinner and we are inspired to visit Peru one day. If you are looking at giving Peruvian food a try, check out Esperanza Events – Perth meets Peru Facebook page here for the next event! You will be taken to foodie heaven and a Peruvian culinary journey! Don’t forget to also check out Claret and Co for beautiful wines from boutique, family-owned and operated producers.
The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. We would like to thank Esperanza from Esperanza Events – Perth meets Peru for having us and for the enjoyable dining experience exploring Peruvian cuisine.