Cusco & Lima, Peru: February 21-23, 2014

Hi friends! Happy Friday :) I know we have been talking Whole 30 and chicken lately — oh my gosh… you guys seriously make me blush… thank you! I wanted to write about our final few days in Peru, well because it includes lots of chocolate. So let’s go.

After our unforgettable experience at Machu Picchu, we took the train back to Ollantaytambo and then a bus to Cusco. So much sleeping.

The next morning we had a bite to eat and enjoyed a nice walk around the city of Cusco. In the 1400s, Cusco was the capital city of the Incans so there are many ruins and even today the city has an ancient feel.

Cusco2

Cusco1

But when the Spanish came around 100 years later, they built many churches to symbolize their conquest. The main church is in the main square called Plaza des Armas. I’m a history nerd.

Cusco3

There were many street vendors selling all kinds of food: from traditional Peruvian eats like empanadas to hard boiled eggs and potatoes… way better than our street meat.

Food Cart

Speaking of food, we went to San Pedro Market. A market for Peruvians with food from all across the area. It was a really cool experience – with an interesting aroma. The produce was beautiful but the hunks of raw meat were disgusting. I saw a man with a whole dead pig on his shoulder. I ran to the fruit.

San Pedro Market1

San Pedro Market2

The food and some produce did look tasty but even Jorge said he wouldn’t eat anything because he is not used to it anymore and would become sick – he’s from Cusco originally. So as delicious as the strawberries looked, we took a pass.

San Pedro Market3

It was really cool to see some of the health foodie products we use at home. Like chia seeds and maca. Not sure why I was surprised because maca is grown in the highlands of Peru so it’s actually weird that we use it. I love how prevalent natural and herbal medicine is. So many vendors sell medicinal teas like maca mixed with quinoa for digestive and nutritious benefits.

Maca Cart

In the afternoon, Les and I splurged a little and took a chocolate making workshop at Cusco’s “Chocolate Museum.” It should be renamed chocolate heaven.

Chocolate Making3

We learned all about the chocolate making process. Peru produces 10% of the world’s chocolate. The cacao pods grow on the cacao tree and contain 20-60 cacao beans per pod. That’s how chocolate starts out. Then we got to the making. We first roasted the beans, then peeled them, then grinded them, then put them in cuisinart type thing to get them smooth. Once sugar and milk is added, then the chocolate is tempered to make all the deliciousness.

Chocolate Making4

It was so much fun!! We made a few different kinds of hot chocolate too (a Mayan version with chilli powder and honey; and a Spanish version with cinnamon and clove). And ate so much chocolate.

Chocolate Making1

Then we got the molds out and some fun mix-ins and made our own. I made dark chocolate with coconut, milk chocolate with peanuts and dark chocolate with almonds. The molds then chilled for an hour in the freezer. The finished product was amazing if I do say so myself. Amy the chocolatier. And Amy, with the very burnt forehead.

Chocolate Making2

The next day (after my favorite meal of the trip – you better go to Jack’s when you’re in Cusco!) we headed to the airport and traveled back to Lima.

Our final day in Peru was a lazy one. I think the trip caught up with us because we weren’t in the mood to do much of anything. Breakfast, watching Reign (guys… best show ever), walking around, enjoying some sun (aka getting burnt again), eating, looking for wifi.

It was an amazing adventure with my favorite travel buddy. Where to next?! Well, we have to save some cash first :)

Hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!

 

Questions of the day…

What are you up to this weekend?  

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? 

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13 thoughts on “Cusco & Lima, Peru: February 21-23, 2014

  1. Chocolate paradise! I very much love chocolate and it is difficult for me to choose favourite taste. Probably, any that lies before me ;) Actually, sometimes I think that could eat anything if to cover it with chocolate. Except insects. It is disgusting :D

  2. Ohmygod that pig story reminds me of when I went to Vancouver with my family when I was 11 or 12, and we were exploring Chinatown. I looked down the street, and there was a guy getting off a truck with HALF A PIG (cut lengthwise) across his shoulders….my dad still makes fun of me for the look of absolute horror on my face. And I wonder why I stopped eating pork and beef for a good 5 years there…
    And spending the afternoon making chocolate pretty much sounds perfect to me.

  3. Haha you running to the fruit is me all the time in St Lawrence Market- I mean I’m not a vegetarian that can’t be around people eating meat at all, I actually like the smell. But all those animal parts hanging around. UGH get me out of there!

    That chocolate day sounds heavenly! And I’m such a history nerd too- I love guided tours for that very reason!

  4. I would like to eat all the chocolate please! Everything you made sounds amazing and you make an adorable chocolatier, burnt forehead and all. ;) Maybe you can make chocolate on your farm?! Also the architecture there is beautiful. I’m not a history buff because my brain is not wired to retain historical information, but I LOVE learning about it – even if I immediately forget it all. One of the great sadnesses in my life is that the History Channel and Discovery show so much reality TV now… I want to learn!!

  5. The chocolate making workshop looks like so much fun! I think I would have a hard time not eating everything in sight. Chocolate lover over here…ha! I bet it smelled SO good in there too!

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