Tag Archives: Peru
A good times gal like me would be remiss without mentioning the Pisco and chocolate tasting we experienced at Xocolatl during our chocolate travels in Lima.
I had always thought a deep dark chocolate went best when paired with a big red wine like Malbec. But I’m now learning that there are many other libations that pair very nicely with chocolate, and chocolatier Giovanna Maggiolo wanted to be sure we understood that the Peruvian brandy was no exception.
I hope the last post helped whet your appetite for the many flavours of Peru. Chocolate travel is not just about tasting chocolate, but about tasting all the complementary flavours of the local cuisine and libations.
Giovanna Maggiolo of Xocolatl
In this post, I’d like to feature two of my favourite chocolatiers from Lima. I already introduced you to Giovanna Maggiolo in the May 17th post, but today, I’d like to take you to her chocolate shop in Miraflores and tempt you with the amazing flavour selections you’ll find at Xocolatl.
The first thing that will greet you when you walk into Giovanna’s shop is the burst of colour! I happened to be there right before Easter, so colourful Easter eggs and treats tempted me at every turn.
I’ll confess. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Peruvian cuisine, although I had heard it was good and gaining global attention. I wasn’t just impressed. I was WOWed.
During our few days of chocolate travel in the Peruvian capital, we visited a good variety of restaurants in Lima and did not have one meal that I didn’t enjoy. Some wowed me more than others, but all were all creative, enticing and satisfying.
A few of Lima’s fabulous restaurants
Our first visit was to one of Giovanna’s personal favourites: Delcino Mar Pescados y Mariscos, an informal fish and seafood where friends gather to enjoy libations and culinary masterpieces that are simple, yet expertly prepared and presented.
After leaving Tarapoto, we headed back to Lima, the Peruvian capital, for several days of intense tasting. The base for our chocolate travel was the Casa Andina Select Miraflores, a new property of the Casa Andina brand most conveniently located in the trendy Miraflores district of Lima.
I’d highly recommend this boutique hotel as it’s relatively small, has an abundantly helpful and cheery staff, a good breakfast buffet and is walking distance or a short cab ride from just about anything that might interest you.
We were fortunate to be under the wing of chocolatier and former pastry chef, Giovanna Maggiolo, a native Peruvian with amazing connections in the food industry. (We’ll talk more about Giovanna’s talent in the world of chocolate in a future post.) …
During the past 2.5 years of my research for Chocolatour, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many chocolate factories. Huge, high tech ones in Switzerland. Tiny, hands-on ones in Peru. And everything in between.
But I must say the one that has had a true impact on me in every aspect of chocolate travel is the Orquidea Chocolate factory in Tarapoto, Peru. (You’ll find more about the small city of Tarapoto in the previous post on this blog as well as from this terrific site.)
There’s so much I’d like to share with you of our chocolate travel to Peru I honestly wasn’t sure where to start. So I’ll continue on in chronological order.
Tarapoto is a small Peruvian city that is the gateway to Peru’s chocolate industry
We left Lima Airport for Tarapoto, our launch point into the Amazon jungle and the cocoa growers of San Martin Province in the San Martin Region of Peru. I didn’t know what to expect, but knew we’d be in good hands under the care of Cristina Santillana, International Sales Manager for La Orquidea Chocolate, a division of Industrias Mayo in Tarapoto — just over an hour northeast by air, but truly a world away from the cosmopolitan sophistication of Lima.
Though Tarapoto is a relatively small city of 63,500, the traffic is crazy! But not with automobiles. The motorcycle is king, and from it has spawned the Motokar, a motorcycle cab that can seat up to three (cramped) people. We had loads of fun being jetted around town in the motokars.
Having just returned from a fascinating, but hectic trip to Peru and Ecuador, I have travel logistics on my mind.
Sometimes, we have to do layovers at airport locations in order to catch an early morning flight somewhere else. Make the most of these opportunities. They may give you the opportunity to quickly explore a city you may not otherwise have had time for, they may save you the agony of having to drive to an airport at an ungodly hour, or they may just provide you with an opportunity to savour some local culinary favourites or an exotic spa treatment you may not otherwise have taken the time to try.
As I live an hour from the Winnipeg airport, I’ve had to stay overnight at proximity to the airport on several occasions. There is no place more convenient than the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. Unfortunately, with the construction of the new terminal building they lost the privilege and convenience of being a simple walk across the street from the check-in counters. Now, one must take a shuttle to the new terminal building from the hotel. But it is still your quickest option for overnight stays if catching an early morning flight in Winnipeg.