Healthy, organic and in all cases tasty. Organic options are growing in availability in the gastronomic capital of the Americas.
Fifty years ago it was not unusual for urban Peruvians to have a vegetable garden and raise poultry at home from which they’d be provided with healthy natural products used to prepare daily meals – fresh eggs, chicken raised on corn and vegetables plucked straight from the earth.
As the world ‘advanced’, large farming corporations appeared and began using powerful insecticides, agricultural chemicals and hormones to mass-produce our foods, replacing small scale farmers who used no such toxins.
Back to our roots
As a reaction to this phenomenon, some groups of consumers decided to return to their origins and opt for organic produce. This is an option that offers us more intense fresh flavours, more care for our environment and favours small-scale producers.
Although in other countries the selection of organic restaurants is larger and more varied, in Lima they are beginning to appear. At the moment there is only one that declares itself 100% organic, but a few others offer organic options. We’ll look at some of these restaurants.
To go to AlmaZen you have to take your time. Here Mariella Matos and Henry Vera put into practice for others the life style they have been living themselves for 30 years.
“Our friends had been asking us to open a locale, and it took us a year once we did to have it reflect our lifestyle”, Mariella explains.
AlmaZen, the name a play on the words Alma, Zen and Almazen, offers healthy food with a homely flavour.
“Not only do we use 100% organic ingredients but we change how you approach this kind of food”, she continues. She personally prepares each of the dishes on the menu which changes daily. “Food is a sacred offering”, she affirms.
Seeking small producers
Manuel Ferreyros decided to offer healthy food and opened his restaurant Hierbabuena. “You can’t be completely healthy yourself unless you care about the environment”, he says.
Organic ingredients dominate the menu which offers healthy meals while trying to reflect a reasonable budget. “The main problem is logistics: there are few providers of organic ingredients and they only deliver on certain days. It makes the business difficult to manage. All the small scale producers ought to find a permanent spot to sell from”, he suggests, explaining that though the vast majority of the menu is organic, some ingredients are sparse.
Manuel buys once a week in the Miraflores bio-fair and complements his needs with direct orders to small providers. “That the ingredients are organic is a plus, not only in terms of health but because of the better flavours”, he explains.
David Torres is in charge of Arábica, a coffee house with personality that offers different varieties of organic coffee. David made alliances with organic coffee growers across Peru to offer 100% organic products. “All the coffees were work with have organic certification”.
Quinta Esencia as a shop that presents a world of tea in all its splendour. Here all the varieties of tea are organic and have some that have certification of 100% organic.
“The organic production gives an added value to our product, principally in the necessity to preserve the environment and maintain an ecological balance”, explains Luciane Delpino, founder of Quinta Esencia. In the this shop they sell teas from distant countries like Japan and Sri Lanka.
More and more restaurants are using organic ingredients not only out of respect for the environment and for reasons of health, but also because of the added flavours mother nature offers.
Where to go
Almazen: Recavarren 298, Miraflores.
Arábica: Recavarren 269, Miraflores.
Hierbabuena: San Martín 533, Miraflores.
Quinta Esencia: Monterrey 258, Chacarilla.