At Lima’s food festival of Mistura, it was the bees that first attracted me to Postres Tradicionales Tina. The restaurant is headed by a group of Afro-Peruvian women who serve a long list of traditional Limeño sweets. For some reason, every bee within a mile of their stand at Mistura flocked to their trays of Mazamorra Morada, Arroz con Leche, Arroz Zambito, and especially their camotes glaseados (glazed sweet potatoes) and another chunky mixture I had never seen before. There are dozens of other vendors selling sweets at Mistura, but the bees didn’t go there. They only came to Postres Tradicionales Tina.
I asked about the strange mixture and I was told it was Ranfañote. This was my first encounter with the dish and I know my way around a criollo dessert table. Ranfañote is a mix of fried bread that is soaked in chancaca syrup or molasses, pecans, shredded coconut, crumbled queso fresco, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, vanilla, butter, and raisins that are drizzled in honey. It dates back to colonial times when sugar cane first arrived to Peru in the coastal plantations south of Lima, where there was an abundance of African workers whose influence on modern criollo food is undeniable. Ranfañote is often served with red wine.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.