sweets and snacks

What food trip involving Christine could miss out on sweets and treats? In fact the first picture is a dessert from her Spanish/gourmet time with her Peruvian host family. It’s half rice with milk and spices – sort of a creamy rice pudding – and half mazamora. Mazamora is a pudding-like substance made with purple corn (is there anything it can’t do?). It can be different consistencies, depending on what you do with it. I’ve had it as a pudding and also as a jello-like bowl of lavender. They call it clasico because the colours of the two biggest futból clubs in Peru are purple and white – hence, the Classic.

We found candied coconut while walking through the market in Ayacucho. I don’t know the exact process, but it was delicately carmelized and a perfect snack.

On the empanada front (sort of), we found something called empanadas de Semana Santa (Holy Week empanadas) in a few bakeries, which didn’t really resemble empanadas so much as Pop Tarts. There was nothing inside, they were simply baked biscuit-like objects with a chocolate spread on the top. Mediocre.

I’ll finish the sweets with a mystery drink and snack we found in the north of Peru. The drink is called champu and is actually made with corn. It’s sweet and thick and pretty tasty. It’s usually found sold with fried cheesy pastries which are also tasty. There weren’t a lot of special sweet things in Peru, but that made ones we did find that much better.

Not all snacks were sweet, however. I came to LOVE the toasted corn available in every market and often served as a side or appetizer in restaurants. Salty, crunchy, and, if they’re freshly-made, containing a hint of warmth. As we headed north, they were sometimes joined by fried plantains, which I also came to love very, very much.

Lastly, though not entirely odd, are street-side quail eggs. We only saw these in the north of Peru, but they were pretty popular. And tasty! A bag was only a couple of pesos, and, lightly salted, they made a perfect late-afternoon snack.

The only problem with all of these delicious snacks were that they were available between the enormous meals we were always eating. Tragically, this left us with very little stomach rooms for delicious snacks. Travesty!

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