The peppers of Peru

“Peppers bring food alive,” writes Peruvian-born chef Felipe Rojas-Lombardi in 'The Art of South American Cooking'.

October 14, 2014 13:59
Pepper purees and other delicacies

Pepper purees and other delicacies on sale at Mercado Surquillo, one of Lima’s main markets. (photo credit: YAKIR LEVY)

Peppers were prominent at Expoalimentaria, Peru’s large food show that took place in Lima at the end of August. As we strolled among the exhibits, we came across peppers in different forms – fresh, dried, as sauces and flavoring pastes in jars, and even as a sweet jam made from semi-hot yellow peppers.

Peru’s peppers are central to the country’s cooking; they were already prized by the ancient inhabitants of Peru. “The Inca warehouses always had a generous supply of hot peppers, which were considered a very important commodity,” wrote Maria Baez Kijac in The South American Table. “Peru has, since its days as the heart of the Inca Empire, developed a sophisticated cuisine, one often ranked the best on the continent,” wrote Barbara Karoff, author of South American Cooking.


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