I was disappointed to find a McDonald's in Cusco a couple of weeks ago. To me travel is about eating differently, and Peru is a great place to do that. I don't go all out native like my husband Peter, who ate guinea pig and alpaca on our trip, but I am willing to try almost anything.
Because I have celiac disease and have to stay away from even a morsel of gluten, I have to be very careful when I travel. So imagine my surprise and delight when I found three different kinds of gluten-free bread at the bounteous buffet breakfast in our hotel next to Machu Picchu. The rolls made with sweet potato flour would fool any gluten-eater, even Peter.
When I asked about a tiny white grain offered at the breakfast buffet in our hotel in the Sacred Valley, I learned that it was kiwicha, a protein-rich staple that dates back to the Incas. The chef suggested trying it with yogurt, honey and almonds. Delicious, and now part of my breakfast rotation at home, at least until I run out of the kiwicha supply I bought in the grocery store in Cusco. (To be fair, I should admit that the ground maca root, also on the breakfast buffet, which is said to be great for energy AND an aphrodisiac didn't do much for me in either dimension.)
Even though I had heard of quinoa, another gluten-free grain, I had never cooked with it. When our Peruvian guide suggested I try quinoa soup for a light dinner, it seemed like a good idea, and it was delicious. So I asked the chef for the recipe, and although what I produced yesterday for lunch wasn't quite as spectacular (things taste better when someone else makes them) it was pretty tasty and very healthy.
Sightseeing is important in any new country. But for me, the food is right up there.