When you think of good food destinations, cities like New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo quickly come to mind.
But what about Lima, Peru?
What once used to be considered an overcast, big, dirty city worth nothing more than a quick stopover on your way to Peru’s main attraction, Machu Picchu, is now being hailed as the gastronomic capital of South America. And when one has to compete with the world-renown steaks and bold Malbec’s of Buenos Aires, this is saying a lot.
In fact, Lima was awarded the World’s Leading Culinary Travel Destination by World Travel Awards, two years in a row (2012 and 2013) and gastronomic tourism is on the rise.
In lockstep with “selling ice to eskimos,” one would think that selling hot water to Portenos in the middle of the hottest summer in Buenos Aires in 43 years, would be nearly impossible.
But it’s not. It’s actually quite easy.
In fact, it’s rare to find an Argentinian or Uruguayan walking around without a thermos of hot water under one arm - rain or shine, blistering hot or freezing cold.
In the parks and at the beaches, kiosks advertise “hay agua caliente” (hot water available) as people walk by dripping in sweat. The first time I saw one of these signs, I did a double take and wondered if my high-school Spanish teacher accidently taught me the wrong word for hot.
I thought to myself, why in the world would anyone want hot water in this weather?
Don’t go wine tasting in Mendoza. Do lunch.
We walked out on the terrace, the Andes to our left, the parilla (grill) to our right, and a chilled glass of Torrontes, an exclusively Argentinian white wine varietal, directly in front of us. One sip and I knew we had made the right decision.
The day prior we had toured the valley on bikes attempting to visit five different wineries as the tour company had recommended. We made it to three and that was plenty. Have you ever tried riding a bike after tasting vino at three wineries? It’s hazardous to say the least.
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!