Let Peru come to you…

May 13, 2020
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Although we are unable to travel at the moment, it’s still possible to discover the joys of Latin America – from the comfort of your home!

Each week we are giving you inspiration from a different destination in Latin America, sharing movies, music, books and recipes to pique your interest, and this weeks destination is the regions most-visited country, Peru.

Home to ancient cultures, rich traditions, spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife, lively cities and some of the friendliest people in Latin America. Delve deeper into fascinating Peru with our favourite inspiring read, film, food and music below. 

Read: The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa is Peru’s most famous writer. Born in Arequipa in 1935, he’s one of the leading writers of his generation, known for the use of sophisticated literary techniques. Our favourite of his novels is his first book, The Time of the Hero. A story based on his own experiences in a military academy in Lima. The book follows cadets trying to survive in a hostile environment, and received some sharp criticism when it was published in 1963, with Vargas Llosa accused of creating it as Ecuadorian propaganda against Peru. Interestingly, Varga Llosa unsuccessfully ran for president in 1990!

Watch: La Ciudad y Los Perros

Whilst the Peruvian film industry has not been nearly as prolific as some of its neighbours, it has thrown up some gems in the past. We’ve chosen La Ciudad y Los Perros as it’s based on Mario Vargas Llosa’s book The Time of the Hero. Its the story of four cadets who form an inner circle to try and beat the system and inhibit the boredom they face. This sets off a chain of events which lead to several crimes being committed. It’s a good follow up to the novel as a way of visualising Vargas Llosa’s work. 

Taste: Ceviche

Ceviche is Peru’s national dish. This marinated fish dish can be found all over the country, but the best versions are supposed to be found in Lima. Its a zesty, fresh, healthy dish of fish cured in lime. The name Ceviche comes from the indigenous Quechua language and means ‘fresh fish’. Click the link below to try making it for yourself. You’ll be immediately transported to the Peruvian coast!

Ceviche recipe
500g firm white fish fillets (haddock, halibut or pollack), skinned and thinly sliced
The juice of 8 limes (250ml), plus extra wedges to serve
1 red onion, sliced into rings
A handful pitted green olives, finely chopped
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 2cm pieces
A bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Good pinch caster sugar
Tortilla chips, to serve

In a large bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. The juice should completely cover the fish; if not, add a little more. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hr 30 mins.

Remove the fish and onion from the lime juice (discard the juice) and place in a bowl. Add the olives, chillies, tomatoes, coriander and olive oil. Stir gently and season with a good pinch of salt and sugar. This can be made a couple of hours in advance and stored in the fridge. Serve with tortilla chips to scoop up the ceviche.

Listen: La Flor de la Canela by Chabuca Granda

This song, which translates in English to Cinnamon flower, was first recorded in 1950, but it would be three years before it received widespread notability in both Latin America and Spain. Chabuca Granda is the greatest composer of Peruvian Criolla music and this is one of the most globally recognised Peruvian songs of all time. The lyrics to this song are just poetry, well worth a listen.

Watch: Asu Mare!

This Peruvian comedy released in 2013, became the highest-grossing film in the history of Peruvian cinema. The story follows Carlos Alcantara on his path to fame from childhood. Its a movie adaptation of the stand-up comedy show of the same name. If this isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other Peruvian films available to watch on various online streaming platforms, including Paraiso (2009), which is set in the outskirts of Lima.

Inspired to visit Brazil one day? Simply complete the enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Travel Specialists on 0208 546 6222.

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