Peru, an ever-changing gastronomic kingdom, demonstrated its uniqueness during the Flavour Food Festival held this year in October at The Hague’s Leonardo Royal Hotel. The intriguing cuisine makes chefs from all over the world travel to Peru to see for themselves how locals bring together the culinary traditions of multiple ancestral cultures with a variety of local ingredients to create some of the most amazing and interesting food on Earth.
This reputation kept the focus on Peru for food lovers of The Hague during the four days of the Flavours Festival edition 2021. Peruvian cuisine has been recognized in media as well, being called by The Wall Street Journal ‘The Next Big Thing’ and The Economist has named Peru as ‘A gastronomic Mecca.’ The country has been considered the World’s Leading Culinary Destination by World Travel Awards for more than nine consecutive years in a row.
The Embassy of Peru, together with Leonardo Royal Hotel and Diplomat Magazine, hosted the fourth iteration of the Flavour Food Festival in The Hague, showcasing traditional Peruvian cooking at his best.
Her Excellency, Ms. Marisol Agüero Colunga, Ambassador of Peru, opened the Festival on the first evening to welcome the fully reserved Leonardo Royal Hotel dining area. Even having been enlarged not once, but three times, the guests filled up the four days of the food festival to demonstrate that the epicurean power of the Peruvian flavours are well known in Europe. Diplomats, jurists, journalists, lovers of good food, all came to Leonardo Royal from 28 to 31 of October. As said by Ambassador Agüero Colunga, ‘It is not possible to condense in one single night all the different cuisines from Peru.’
Very diverse flavours and ingredients are native to the Andean mountains, the Amazon jungle and the coastal areas, influenced by 90 different microclimates and many rich and ancient cultures. Just as an example, more than 3,000 varieties of potato and 55 types of corn are grown in Peru. The event included an exhibition of fresh Peruvian agri-products brought to the Netherlands by Bud Holland, Dutch leader importer of fruits and vegetables.
With everybody fully enjoying the warmth of Peruvian hospitality, the night started with an exceptional ‘Pisco Sour’ cocktail which set the mood for the rest of the evening.
Pisco, the ‘flagship beverage of Peru,’ is a truly special beverage distilled from the pisqueras grapes, protected by the first Peruvian Denomination of Origin. Specially for the occasion, guests tasted three varieties of the pisco: Quebranta, Torontel and Acholado presented by expert Jan Jaap Nijemeisland.
And to show us why their nation has been repeatedly been voted a top culinary destination, the Peruvian Embassy brought Chef Lourdes Centy Pluvinage, owner of the famous restaurant ‘El Picaflor’ in Paris and the co- author of the recipe book: La cuisine du Pérou à Paris. Together with her, Mr. Sido de Brabander, head chef at the Leonardo Royal Hotel and leader of a large team of cooks made everything possible.
For starters Chef Lourdes served a ‘Causa’ of potato, tuna, and avocado; a ‘Papas a la Huancaina’ (potato with typical Peruvian spicy cheese sauce); and a cod ceviche from heaven, with crusty sweet potato, a corn duo and a quinoa salad.
It is no wonder that the first edition of the Food Festivals here, years ago, was also marked by Peruvian flavours. Some of the Peruvian dishes have even been included in the regular Menu of Leonardo Royal restaurant ever since, allowing them to be continued to be shared with guests from all over the world.
For the main course guests were lavishly spoiled with an exquisite ‘Chupe de Camarones’ (Shrimp soup with corn, pumpkin, potato, rice, beans and huacatay), ‘Arroz con Pato’ (Sticky rice with duck and coriander), the delicious Peruvian spicy chicken creamed in a yellow chili sauce ‘Aji de Gallina’ and ‘Quinoa Atamalada’(Spicy quinoa with feta cheese).
And to make sure we remained in heaven we were served a ‘Tartelette de Lucuma with red fruits,’ ‘Mazamorra Morada,’ and ‘Alfajores filled with dulce de leche’ for dessert.
Building on the offerings of previous festivals, Peruvian wines were also served, notably Sauvignon Blanc Intipalka and red Syrah Intipalka
The Peruvian Flavours dinner was a pleasure to enjoy with all the senses. We were touched by genuine warm hospitality and a world of new flavours, fragrances and textures. It was a truly successful festival and a night to remember!