Looking for an interesting yet inexpensive gift that will “wow” your family and friends? How about if this gift was also organic, earth-friendly and meaningful? Yes, there is a gift idea that fits the bill: Huayruro Jewelry. This jewelry from Peru is handmade with huayruro seeds, which are considered to be natural good luck charms. The red and black seeds are beautiful, and even look festive for Christmas, but the story behind them is what makes them so intriguing. I wear my Huayruro Necklace with a simple black top, and it’s always a conversation starter. This Huayruro Pendant would be a great mom, sister or friend gift. Huayruro earrings and bracelets also make great gifts for women of all ages.
Frommer’s, one of the top guide book publishers in the world, has named Lima as its Top Foodie Destination for 2012. Beating out cities across Europe, Asia, North and South America that are known for their local cuisine is quite an honor. The diversity and creativity on Peruvian menus keeps people coming back for more. From Asian-inspired Chuafa and Lomo Saltado to fresh Ceviche, each Peruvian meal is filled with alluring sights, smells and flavors. Whether it’s a simple meal of Anticuchos or Papa a la Huancaina, or a taste of Peruvian Food at a five-star restaurant, visitors to Lima find that they are amazed at the array of traditional dishes as well as creative new ones. Peru’s capital city is certainly an essential vacation spot for foodies.
In the Piura region of Peru’s northern coast, a rare opportunity exists. Here, travelers board small boats to get up close and personal with humpback whales. 95% of the boat charters include whale sightings, and many include very close encounters, as this photo demonstrates. Humpback whales are surprisingly graceful and docile, despite their overwhelming size. Some experts believe there are only 40,000 humpback whales left in the world today, putting them on the list of endangered species. However, the whales can always be found in Peru, and many whales are also born in these waters. The experience of seeing a humpback whale up close is yet another opportunity that awaits travelers in Peru. Countless adventures involving local wildlife, native traditions, exotic cuisine, and breathtaking sights are just a plane ride away.
There are so many interesting Peruvian dishes to choose from. If you’re new to Peruvian cuisine, you might have trouble deciding where to start. One idea is to try a layered Peruvian dish of potatoes and meat or rice and meat. Arroz Tapado is a wonderful Peruvian specialty that uses ingredients you probably already have, with a few special flavors added to the mix. In its simplest form, Arroz Tapado is a layering of seasoned meat between two layers of rice. However, dried aji peppers add heat and depth, and tomatoes, carrots and peas add color to make a fun dish. The presentation of this Peruvian dish is what makes it especially unique, as you can see from the photo on the left. However, a similar presentation is also used for Causa, which substitutes a pureed potato mixture for the white rice. Causa can be filled with chicken salad, shrimp and other fillings. If you’re in the mood for a hearty meal of meat and starch with some interesting flavor combinations, why not try making your own version of Arroz Tapado or Causa tonight? And if you’d rather be served, check this search engine for a Peruvian restaurant in your area.
When it comes to Seed Jewelry, Peru is a great place to start your search. Peruvians have found ways to use their natural resources like seeds to create very unique designs. My favorite kind of Peruvian jewelry is Huayruro Jewelry, which is made with tiny red and black seeds. The seeds are collected from the Amazon rainforest, where they have been admired by locals for centuries. They believe the seeds attract good luck and ward off negativity, and bring protection to those who keep them in their homes or wear them in jewelry. The vibrant red and sleek black seeds make gorgeous and Seed Necklaces and earrings, as well as bracelets. In Peruvian tradition, newborn babies are often given a Huayruro Seed bracelet as a good luck charm. An Huayruro Seed Necklace or bracelet makes a fantastic gift idea for the woman who has everything, or anyone who could use a little bit of extra luck and encouragement.
There are three famous Peruvian chili peppers – aji amarillo, aji panca and rocoto. They each have a distinctive taste that goes well with certain kinds of dishes. Rocoto is the hottest, and is best when used in small quantities, as it is in many traditional Peruvian Food dishes. Finely chopped rocoto is often added to ceviche, a raw fish delicacy that is “cooked” by the acidity of a lime-based marinade. You can also use rocoto to spice up aji sauce or salsas for dipping. Another creative recipe idea is to mix rocoto with a sweeter pepper, like a red bell, for a sweet and spicy flavor. Interestingly, some Rocoto peppers look just like bell peppers at first glance, but once you cut one open, you’ll see the tiny black seeds (which are extremely hot!) One of my favorite ways to use rocoto and sweet pepper is in a veal and pepper saute. Coat veal cutlets lightly with flour and saute, then set aside. Next add some more oil and onions to the pan, followed by minced garlic and both types of peppers. Adding chicken broth and a little bit of the juice from the rocoto and sweet pepper jars will make a nice sauce. For full details on this and other Peruvian Recipes, visit Mama Tina’s.
Peru is known for its exceptionally diverse climates, and the array of fruits and vegetables that are grown there. From lucuma to cherimoya, exotic fruits can be found throughout the country. Some of the fruits in particular are more than just delicious, however, and offer substantial health benefits. For example, the sanky, pronounced son-key, contains ten times more vitamin C than an orange. The fruits grow on top of cacti, and are carefully picked by farmers on small ladders. The fruits have been used to rehydrate shepherds in the fields, and could become a popular health food in other countries if the efforts of Peruvians are successful. They know their country has a lot to offer the growing worldwide health industry, and hopefully they will be successful in marketing their produce and other exports.
The doors open today at the much anticipated La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in New York City. The restaurant is the long awaited fulfillment of one man’s dream of bringing the world’s best food to one of its biggest cities. The owner is Gaston Acurio, easily the most famous Peruvian on the planet. With a fierce devotion to Peruvian cuisine and the a serious culinary education to back him up, Acurio has taken the world by storm. He is now the founder of 32 restaurants in 14 cities across the globe, with his first restaurant opening just 17 years ago. Although this new space will be a challenge due to its large seating capacity and competition of nearby restaurants, Acurio is confident that New York City is the right choice for his new endeavor. The Wall Street Journal called Peruvian food “The Next Big Thing” last week, and with Gaston Acurio’s new restaurant, that certainly seems correct.
More and more women are choosing handmade organic jewelry over mass-produced designs that add to pollution and waste. One of the most popular choices is seed jewelry. Many seeds are the perfect substitutes for plastic beads, and they have a more unique and worldly look. The most exotic seeds, like huayruros, come from places like Peru’s Amazon rainforest. Isn’t it interesting that after centuries of looking for the next big fashion trend, we are reverting back to the simple, beautiful designs of past civilizations? Women have worn seed necklaces, bracelets and earrings for centuries. This affordable jewelry has natural beauty, like this huayruro seed necklace. Talented Peruvian artisans craft these necklaces from simple materials to create unique accessories. Unlike the big brand names you see over and over in the department stores, each piece of Peruvian huayruro seed jewelry is a handmade treasure.
According to Red Bull’s commercials, it’s the energy drink that gives you wings. In honor of their slogan, the company now hosts what they call Flugtag competitions. They invite “everyday people” to build human-powered flying machines, which are launched off of a 30 foot tower over water and judged on their length of flight, creativity and appearance. For the first time this winter, Peruvians will be involved in the fun. One of these eccentric competitions will take place in La Punta, Callao on December 10, 2011. The port of Callao is a perfect location for the competiton, which is always based on the coast in or near a city. The flying machine pictured here is from a Flugtag competition in Tampa, FL.