That’s right, folks. I am pulling no punches and beating around no bushes. Basically, I am not messing around. This blog post is all about bread and guacamole. “But Ellie, what do those delicious foods have to do with Peru?” you wonder.
Everything, Vegan Traveler. Everything.
My fascination with Peruvian bread did not begin a mere three days ago, when I had the most incredible bread ever at Green Point in Cusco, Peru. No, no. It began long before that. It began before I even left the shores of bonny Scotland and embarked on this grand adventure. It began in a friend’s living room.
Let me start by informing you that it is a well known fact that I love bread. I love toasted bread with vegan butter and orange marmalade for breakfast, grilled bread in a vegan grilled cheese for lunch, and garlic bread with dinner. I love bread so much that I was once offered slices of bread as a snack at a friend’s house because I hadn’t tried that particular brand before. (It was good, by the way.) Therefore, it was no surprise that while I was supposed to be thrilled by the entirety of a beautiful video that my friends were watching about Peru, I only perked up when I heard the loving sigh of, “Pan,” from a Peruvian baker who loved their job. I sat, enthralled, as the baker spoke of his craft and the amazing and rich history of bread baking in Peru. Peruvian bread is so exact, down to the specific size and shape of each kind of loaf, the wood that is traditionally burned in the ovens that bake the bread (with some eucalyptus leaves thrown in!), and the place where the bread is made. All this exacting is what makes the bread so. fricking. wonderful. I have seriously never had anything quite like Peruvian bread. It’s somehow flaky and fluffy and sweet and savoury all in one. It is beautiful. And it is bigger than my head.
The best bread that I have had on the trip so far has been the bread we bought in Cusco. The loaf in the picture above was bizzarely and wonderfully sweet and had a slight hint of clove to it. All bread is good, Peruvian bread is great, and Cusco bread is heavenly. You can put that on a t-shirt if you want. I stand behind it and I will wear it with pride. If you are a bread enthusiast such as myself, I cannot reccomend a trip to Peru enough. A trip to Cusco would definitely be worth the bread alone if bread holds a special place in your heart. The chocolate in Cusco is also particiaularly wonderful, but I’m not talking about chocolate today. I’m talking about bread. And guacamole.
“Okay, yeah, I get why the bread is so good, but isn’t guacamole from Mexico, Ellie?” you ask.
Guacamole is wherever Ross and I are. We like guacamole a lot. When I was living in Scotland, Ross and I would make guacamole whenever I could afford the ridiculously over priced avocados or when they were on offer. Really, Ross would make the guacamole. I could go on a rant about Ross’s guacamole expertise just as long as my one about loving bread. All I really need to say, however, is that when we were visiting the U.S. and staying in my parents house, Ross made some guacamole for a family party and it was so well loved that my parents demanded we cancel the remaining five months of our trip and that Ross move in immediately and make guacamole on demand. We’re having even more guacamole now that we’re here for a few reasons. One of those reasons being that Avocados cost less than a dollar here. Less than a dollar! Another reason is that the produce is so incredibly fresh. The avocados don’t need to be ripened at home if you buy them from a street market. The tomatoes are incredible and full of flavour. They’re not the mealy, flimsy, watery things that I am so used to finding in the super market. They are much more reminiscent of the tomatoes that grow in our back garden every year. Mm. Even the onions here are somehow better.
“Why is that?”
I’m glad you asked.
When we were on our extremely long bus ride through the mountains, we met someone whose job was to survey the jungle areas of Peru. They wanted to practice their English with us and they spent quite a bit of time talking about what they do and where they do it. When they ran out of steam on that, they started pointing out of the window, showing us what kinds of plants were growing all over the hillsides in the Cuzco region. There were agave plants, which he explained are used to make tequila. In turn, we explained to him the use that vegans find for this plant and he was very intrigued by it! He also pointed out eucalyptus trees all over the place and explained that even though they aren’t native to Peru, they grow better in Peru than anywhere else because of the richness of the soil in Cusco. He described the soil with the kind of adjectives and passion with which I describe bread. This is what I was reminded of whenever I enjoyed the rich creaminess of a fresh Peruvian avocado. When in Cusco, we combined the amazingness of the fresh produce, the beauty of Peruvian bread, and Ross’s impressive guacamole-making skills to make the perfect meal. We also made a few friends this way, when we shared the meal.
I don’t believe I will ever see two of my most favourite foods ever come together as magnificently or quite as cheaply as I did in Cusco. I promise that my next blog post will return you to our regular scheduled programming wherein I talk about all the wonderful things that I did on that day/that week, but today was a work day and a day filled with dreaming of bread, so I just had to share with you, once again, the passion that I hold in my heart for food.