Sweets are everywhere in Lima. They are sold in food markets, fancy restaurants, out of carts on street corners and cardboard boxes at bus stops. Some are fried, some frozen and some freshly chopped before your eyes. Their names are evocative and poetic like the “Suspira a la Limeña” which is a mixture of meringue and manjar blanco caramel custard and translates as “the sigh of a woman from Lima,” or simply hilarious, which is the case of “champus,” a dessert I just had to try for the name alone.
El Señor de Milagros, or the Lord of Miracles, is a venerated image of Christ, apinted by an Angolan slave, which has been attributed to protecting the city of Lima from earthquakes for several centuries as well as curing worshippers of various ailments. During an earthquake in 1655 nearly the entire city of Lima was destroyed, but still standing was the image and the adobe wall it hung on in the Pachacamilla neighborhood. On select days every October, El Mes Morada (the purple month), the image is carried from its resting place in Las Nazarenas church around the center of Lima as tens of thousands of purple clad followers watch and pray. It’s the largest Catholic procession in the Americas and one of my favorite spectacles to occur in the city (outside of Mistura, of course).
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.