Compared with Mexican or even Brazilian, Peruvian food is one of the least explored in terms of cookbooks – at least in the English language. There is an increasing amount of excellent culinary literature being produced in Peru, though outside of the region readers are limited to just a few books. This list includes the best selling books for sale in both English and Spanish.
Books by Gastón Acurio(Spanish only)
Eden.pe (2012): A book that explores 21 of the most emblematic Peruvian ingredients. Written by Acurio, Ferrán Adrià, and culinary writer Ignacio Medina. Proceeds of the book will go to the Pachacutec Culinary School in Peru.
Cebiche Power (2011): Acurio’s detailed journey along the Peruvian coast that explores the nuances of making ceviche in each region. The book includes 40 ceviche recipes from some of Peru’s leading chefs.
500 Años de Fusion (2009): A Gourmand World Cookbook award winner, this vast collection of recipes (called 500 Years of Fusion in English) from Acurio’s numerous restaurants includes a poetic history of Peruvian ingredients and cooking styles. The recipes are on a separate, included DVD.
La Guia de Gastón (2009): A restaurant guide that lists many of Acurio’s favorite restaurants in Lima.
La Cocina de Gaston Acurio (2005): A 10-part series produced by the Lima newspaper El Comercio in 2005. Books were given away throughout the year to subscribers of the newspaper. This is the most complete collection of Acurio’s recipes.
Books From Peruvian Chefs/Restaurants(Spanish only)
Pescados Capitales (2010): A book of recipes and history from one of Lima’s best known cevicherias: Pescados Capitales.
Rafael (2012): Rafael Osterling, the executive chef of the restaurants Rafael and El Mercado, among others, released this excellent book of his Peruvian-Mediterranean-Southeast Asian inspired cuisine.
Frutas Amazonicas – Vanguard Peruvian Desserts (2009): Written by Astrid Gutsche, Acurio’s wife, with photos by photographer Walter Wust, this book explores high end sweets made with Amazonian fruits.
From the Kitchens of Aqua Expeditions (2011): An excellent book utilizing Malabar and Amaz chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s phenomenal recipes that are served aboard Aqua Expeditions’ two ultra luxury cruise ships in the Peruvian Amazon. (English & Spanish)
Books of Peruvian Recipes
The Art of Peruvian Cuisine (2003) & The Art of Peruvian Cuisine Volume 2 (2011) by Tony Custer. Published in Peru, donating all profits to charity, these two oversized volumes were translated from Spanish, though are rather difficult to buy in the United States. It’s primarily found in airport and tourist bookstores in Cuzco and Lima. The book shows photos of elegant plated national dishes on a white background.
The Food and Cooking of Peru: Traditions, Ingredients, Tastes and Techniques in 60 Classic Recipes (2010)by Flor Arcayo de Deliot: A glossy book – part of a series on international cuisines – with some of Peru’s most common recipes.
Peru, Mucho Gusto
(2006): Produced by Peru’s tourism board, PromPeru, this large, 300-page book is one of the most detailed compilations of Peruvian recipes and culinary history, though it was not a wide release and is difficult to find. (Spanish only)
Guides to Peruvian Food
Eat Smart in Peru : How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure by Joan Peterson (2006): A general guide to eating in the country with phrases, customs, and basic descriptions. It’s part of a series on world cuisines that includes
The Exotic Kitchens of Peruby Copeland Marks (2001): Peruvian recipes with some light background on the country.
SUMMUM: An annual restaurant guide that ranks the best restaurants in Lima.
Books on Peruvian Dishes and Ingredients
Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood (2010): While not specifically about Peruvian recipes, this book explores the Andean grain quinoa in hundreds of recipes.
The Great Ceviche Book by Douglas Rodriguez and Laura Zimmerman (2010): Douglas Rodriguez was one of the first chefs in New York to pay any attention at all. While short and lacking in recipes, the quality is generally better than most.
Ajies Peruanos (2009): Aji peppers are perhaps the most important ingredients in a Peruvian kitchen. Though not necessarily spicy, they are fragrant and essential for most Peruvian recipes. This book explores the many varieties and describes their significance to Peru’s Pre-Colombian cultures. (Spanish only)
Cebiches & Tiraditos (2006): Available only in Peru, this bilingual book explores the ingredients and recipes of coastal Peru.
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.