We stayed in Arequipa, Peru (La Cuidad Blanco or The White City) for almost two weeks… by far the longest we’ve stayed in one place in the past two months. Part of the reason we were there for so long is because Arequipa is a beautiful little city with amazing buildings, food and people. The other part of the reason we were there for so long was Casa de Avila.
We discovered Casa de Avila, a lovely sun-drenched hostel with a vivid and relaxing central garden, when I signed us up for a Peruvian cooking class. When we showed up for the cooking class we found out that they also offered very professional Spanish language lessons in the oasis of their garden. Andy signed up for the Spanish lessons and we moved into a garden-view room for a week while he spent 4 hours a day improving his Spanish.
But, back to the original reason we went to Casa de Avila… the Peruvian cooking class. We had asked to cook a menu of traditional Peruvian food including causa rellena (potato stacks), quinoa (yummy South American grain) and lomo saltado (typical Peruvian beef dish.)
Armando, the hotel owner and cooking class instructor, was charming and taught us the Spanish words for all of the ingredients we were using. We chatted and chopped and sipped on chilcanos (cold Pisco and Sprite… refreshing but with a punch!) At the end of the afternoon we all sat down and enjoyed the fruits of our labours.
Later in the week I took another cooking class with James and Briony while Andy studied his Spanish and planned my birthday celebration trip (EASTER ISLAND!) We focused on seafood for the second class and we made ceviche, stuffed mussels, fried fish with chilli and seafood sauce and seafood rice. I didn’t get any pics of this class… too busy eating!
It was brilliant to learn more about the local food here. I can’t wait to recreate some of these recipes (especially ceviche with snapper… oh, yum!) A big plate of ceviche and a glass of Pisco and Sprite will turn our kitchen into Peru… where ever we end up after these adventures!