Ephemerratic - Independent travel blog with stories, travel guides, photos, travel art, and local food
Wherein does my cheeselove come from? In the U.S. we practically worship amber waves of cheddar and mozzarella mountain majesties, so there’s that patriotic peer pressure. And, although I’ve lived for 15 years in San Francisco, veganism — locally, one of the most popular radical diets — holds as little appeal as, well, giving up cheese does. Therein: my lifelong cheeselove.
Yet, despite my cheeselove ways, queso helado Arequipeño hadn’t made it onto my list of must-try foods in Arequipa, Peru.
That’s right: Cheese ice cream. Ponder that culinary concept for just a minute.
Who’s to decide when a city has really pulled together, gathering at least a few of its cultural tendrils into a civic identity that can cause visitors to feel connected to something vital and foreverafter refer to it as unforgettable?
Certainly not me. Certainly not after just a few days exploring.
Yet here I go, musing about Arequipa, Peru, despite my lack of qualifications.
You don’t promenade in Arequipa, Peru’s Plaza de Armas. Not exactly. People wander about the main square, drifting from one group to another. They catch up with friends, kvetch about the cost of corn, plan vast conspiracies — it’s hard to tell exactly what they’re up to.
I’d been led to believe that a visit to Monasterio de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Monastery) in Arequipa, Peru would be a serene, beautiful experience.
Sure, sure. Except for the presence of death everywhere. Other than that, yeah, total bliss.
There’s more to getting lunch at Arequipa, Peru‘s largest market than just showing up and finding the most popular and promising food stall. You really need to be careful which route you take through the market’s many aisles.
What you should not do, under any circumstances, is start your visit to Mercado San Camilo by walking up the stairs to the balcony that wraps around the second floor of the market.
Adobo arequipeño, also known as adobo de chanco, is a traditional dish from Arequipa, Peru. Cooked overnight, adobo arequipeño is a popular hangover cure and Sunday brunch dish at Arequipa’s local picanterías, or “spicy shops.”
Though eating adobo arequipeño on bleary-eyed Sunday morning in Peru is an experience not to be missed, this recipe for making it at home is surprisingly straightforward and spicily satisfying.
A town in which the traditional Sunday brunch is a bowl of spicy pork stew is a town I can get with. I just hope that the adobo in Arequipa, Peru is actually good. I don’t want to get with something if the gettin’ ain’t good.
So I do as the Arequipeños do.
Nothing like wandering the streets of a new-to-me city and seeing this:
It’s Peruvian folklore, rendered large and hyper-realistic.
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An old saying begins, “If you love somebody, let them go.” If you’re traveling to Peru and you’ve had a guinea pig as a pet, a more fitting expression may be, “If you’ve loved something, put it in your belly.”