Peruvian chefs are now ranking among the international superstars on the culinary playing field. Among them is Rafael Piqueras, who has created an ingenious menu for the new five-star Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu. At Sumaq, Piqueras scores big as he introduces guests to the cuisine of his native country, putting new twists on the playbook of traditional Peruvian techniques as he combines food from all three of Peru’s regions: the succulent fruits of the jungle, astonishing seafood from the coast, and the potatoes, grains and spicy peppers of the highlands.
Served in a contemporary dining room overlooking the Urubamba River, surrounded by the mystical Andean cloud forest, dinner at Sumaq is a gustatory complement to a Machu Picchu visit. Try the duck magret in prickly pear sauce, and you’ll remember it as an essential part of your pilgrimage to Peru’s new Wonder of the World. And that is as it should be, because to understand and embrace Peruvian food is to understand and embrace the many layers of Peruvian culture. Sumaq lends fresh interpretations to long-established Peruvian favorites such as causa, a dish of mashed yellow potatoes, chilled and stuffed with chicken or seafood. Ceviche, Peru’s famous preparation of spicy marinated fish, is prepared as trout with a three pepper sauce and two types of sweet potatoes.
Guests rave about alpaca carpaccio and vegetarian carpaccio, and the quinoa trilogy with Andean flavors. All in all, Sumaq gastronomy creates an unfolding drama of flavors and aromas, beginning with creative appetizers such as cream of Andean pumpkin soup topped with a porcini mushroom foam, moving to a main course like slow cooked ossobuco with sweet potato gnocchi and Brazil nuts from Puerto Maldonado, finishing with a “suspiro de lucuma,” a classic crillio dessert said to be as soft and sweet as a woman’s sigh, fl Plan to linger long over dinner, as the Peruvians always do. If eating is the favorite sport, conversation is the preferred pastime, and the two activities pair perfectly. No Peruvian would ever rush a meal. Savor your meal at Sumaq, and you’ll be talking about it for years to come.