Corn, called maiz in Spanish, is one of the main ingredients used in Peru for local cuisine. It is added to soups, various salads, second courses, and also comes along with famous dishes such as pachamana and ceviche.
If someone is looking for simple, but very tasty dishes prepared with corn, there are plenty of delicious dishes to be enjoyed in Peru. At places where the Inca Empire was formerly located as well as communities in the Andes, one of the most popular delicacies involving corn is called choclo con queso, corn with cheese. Such a sweet-salty combination may seem too uncomplicated to be great, but your taste buds will think otherwise. It turns out that salty cheese with sweet corn couple very nicely with each other, like great friends that bring out the best in each other. For me, this Andean delicacy is definitely my number one choice. Sweet. Simple. Absolutely delectable!
Something else you should be aware of, is that not just any type of corn can be used for this special course. By far, in my humble opinion, the best version of choclo con queso is served in the Cusco region. Here, specifically in the beautiful valley of Urubamba, local people cultivate this special type of white corn, choclo, which makes an incredible companion to cheese.
There is only one drawback when it comes to cheese from the Andes. I would not recommend buying it in the local markets. Unfortunately, before this cheese gets into the hands of its final owner, many other hands touch it without any gloves, not to mention that various insects can to settle on the cheese like it is their home. This makes it more than easy to catch some unwanted germs. If you want to avoid such surprises, get your cheese from any supermarket where it is nicely packaged.
Interesting facts about corn in Peru
In the former Inca Empire corn was used not only to prepare delicious food, but also to prepare drinks. The most famous non-alcoholic one is called chicha morada and the other alcoholic one is called chicha de jora. The first is made from purple corn, while the second is made from corn called jora, which has bright, yellowish color.
About purple corn there is much more to say. Besides, that is the main component of the most popular Peruvian drink, it is also is large in the textiles industry – as a perfect natural dye. Purple corn gives unique colors to fabrics made by the Andean women in the traditional manner.
The best quality of corn, which is the main component of choclo con queso, grows in the Sacred Valley (the valley of Urubamba).
In the period of the Inca Empire, corn was used in religious ceremonies, and was folded at the side of the deads with other valuable things. Also now Andean people make offerings from the corn.
Centuries pass, but the fame of corn has not expired. Like in the times of Inca Empire, or earlier cultures, also nowadays it makes a great career in Peru. And nothing indicates that in the coming years, this trend will change. Thus, during a trip to Peru, I highly recommend you to try at least one corn product.