Do you serve white or red wine with guinea pig? I’m uncertain. But if you travel through Peru you will find it not only in small local road-side stands but also in gourmet establishments in the heart of Lima. It has long been a staple protein of the Andes; in fact, it has a place in pre-Columbian Inca tradition. Cuy (‘koo-ee’), as guinea pigs are locally known, were once only reserved for nobility. Today they are raised by the locals and are common in rural Andean households as a sort of savings account. They are so easy and inexpensive to breed that when a family needs money they can simply sell a dozen or so for about $11 a piece. Traditionally they are served whole but most have discovered that tourists prefer if the unsightly head and paws are removed before serving.
When we were shooting our Holiday 2007 catalogue in Peru one of our team members heard "cuy" was a highly recommended local dish. She ordered it not knowing exactly what it was. She assumed it was some kind of special rice dish. Imagine her surprise when the plate below arrived!
She could not bring herself to try it and had to promptly leave the table but the rest of us could not pass up the opportunity. It was delicious! It tasted like a cross between rabbit and dark chicken meat. So if you have an adventurous spirit then I highly recommend this Andean delicacy and I think I can now also suggest with confidence either Pinot Gris or Chardonnay.
Read the entire story of Christmas in Mexico on PC's website
We have just returned from shooting the upcoming first ever SUMMER catalogue (due in your mailboxes early summer 2008!) in Oaxaca, Mexico, and we were struck with the sights and sounds of Mexican Christmas festivities.
Several weeks before Christmas, elaborately decorated market stalls or puestos are set up in the plazas of every town and city. Some people travel for days from remote areas to get to these markets. The puestos offer crafts of every conceivable kind and foods such as cheese, bananas, nuts, and cookies. Street vendors sell intricate ornaments to decorate homes for the Christmas season.
Although the custom of putting up a Christmas tree has become very popular, the real Mexican tradition consists of a Nativity scene…
It’s no secret that we have a deep affinity for all things Peru. So you can understand our delight when we discovered this great video on YouTube, created by Tourism Peru.
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(Right – a holiday gift knitted with strips of fabric)
There is just something special about handmade presents. Every year around this time, I’m inspired to knit scarves for holiday gifts. And every year, I barely have enough time to knit one scarf, let alone several…but this year I’ve discovered a simple, fun, and fast technique: knitting with strips of fabric instead of yarn. I “discovered” this technique on Thanksgiving when I was at my parents’ house without yarn or needles. I was yearning to knit. The urge was so strong that I sent my brother-in-law to Walmart for knitting needles (“the largest you can find” – he brought back size 17, about 1/2-inch in diameter). Mom provided some cotton blend fabric, and my 6-year-old nephew helped tear it into 3/4-inch strips. I tied each strip together at the ends and rolled it into a ball. After a couple false starts, I found that a simple rib stitch worked best for the material. In about 3 hours (maybe less because of snack breaks), I knitted a surprisingly soft, lofty, and warm scarf. Mom sent me home with more fabric and a request for a knitted vest.
One note about this technique: it takes a lot of fabric! Two yards roughly completes a 4-foot square area. It’s a great way to use up fabric that’s gathering dust, plus create treasured gifts…in time for the holidays.
If you love handmade gifts, you might like these unique natural fiber creations from Peruvian Connection:
Did you know that the characters of Rob and Laura Petrie (as portrayed by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore) on the classic TV series "The Dick Van Dyke Show" were modeled after President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie? The Laura Petrie character in particular wore Jackie-style clothing and hairdo! There’s no doubt that Jacqueline Kennedy influenced her times and the iconic look of the early 60’s still finds a following today.
Mimicked on runways to bridge-line retail markets, the mod cropped jacket has charmed a new generation this year. The alluring style is usually tailored from thick textured fabric with wide 3/4 sleeves, big buttons and feminine silhouette…nearly identical to the originals. The 3/4-sleeve length may cause concern in regards to it’s pracicality during winter months. However, the solution always presents itself in the form of dramatic long gloves, then and now.
Capture the spirit of Jacqueline Kennedy (or Laura Petrie) with these iconic styles: