Visiting Peru through picarones

5 Apr

A plateful of picarones

My sweet tooth has been on fire recently. I don’t know if it’s the pollen or the extra sunshine, but right now key lime pie sounds as good for lunch as a juicy hamburger! Maybe that’s why I found myself Googling international dessert recipes. An intriguing pastry from Peru caught my eye: a sort of sweet potato doughnut called a picarone.

Basically, to make picarones, you whip up some sweet potatoes and butternut squash (yes, squash in your doughnuts!), and then add yeast and flour to create dough. All you have to do after that is fry ‘em up! It’s traditional to also top your picarones with syrup, but plain maple won’t do. This syrup has a brown sugar base, with a surprising citrus aftertaste due to added lime zest and cloves.

My picarones were good, but they were just a teaser. Now I want to go sample the real thing! When I chose to blog about Peru, I found out that I knew next to nothing about this country except for a vague notion of something called Machu Picchu. I’m glad I got the opportunity to learn about this absolutely gorgeous country!

If for no other reason, I would love to go to Peru just to hike. Mountainous Peru provides breathtaking scenery no matter what part of the country you visit. The famous Inca Trail leads from Cuzco to the legendary Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. The four-day hike through the Sacred Valley is not the only way to get there, and other routes are shorter and less strenuous. However, the beauty of the Inca trail is that, by the time you reach your destination, you appreciate it much more than if you had taken a short walk or car ride.

Tired of ancient ruins (ha!)? Then head to Manu National Park! The park, located in the Amazon Basin, is off-limits to visitors except for those led by an official tour guide. Having read and watched countless books and movies about the alluring, dangerous Amazon, I would take a tour in a heartbeat. Since tourists are scarce, nature thrives. The jungle is home to animals such as giant otters, black caimans, jaguars, sloths, wild pigs and thousands of colorful birds.

Peru is also home to the mysterious Nazca Lines, giant stone drawings with shapes that can be seen only from the air. Many historians have tried to explain how and why the Nazca people created the massive expressions of art. The most likely theory is that the drawings were a tribute to Nazca gods. Whatever the reason, these drawings are compelling.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Peru (and eating a Peruvian snack!). What feature attracts you most about Peru?


4 Responses to “Visiting Peru through picarones”

  1. mjkanyuh April 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Oh my goodness these sound absolutely wonderful!! 🙂 My sweet tooth is always wanting something sweet, and key lime pie is one of my favorites too! ha ha I want to try to make these picarones. I just might over the summer!

  2. Matt Brown April 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I must say the desert doesn’t look to appetizing. I’m not a fan of suite potatoes or squash so I doubt I would like the desert. But Peru sounds like a great place to check out. I would love to see all the ruins and ancient landmarks from thousands of years ago.

  3. zdbryant April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I’m always hungry. i’m also eager to try something new. If I were to combine these two desires together I’m sure that picarones would fulfill them both.

  4. tylerbivens April 6, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    The picarones sound delicious. I’d love to give them a try. Also, the Nazca lines were fascinating to look at.

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