Local produce, traditional methods, distinctive flavors, and dishes that can take days to prepare are key elements of the cuisine in southern Peru’s Tacna region, embodying the principles of the three-decade-old Slow Food Movement. The signature dish, a stew called picante a la tacneña, which can require anywhere from six hours to five days to prepare, depending on the volume.
The stew combines chilies, tripe, cow’s foot, dried lamb or llama meat, and the Mariva potato, unique to Tacna. At “picanterias” or inside homes, the chilies are cooked over low heat until they become a sweet, hot, and intensely red concentrate that is then sauteed and mixed with the meats, which have been cooked separately for up to six hours.
Then come the potatoes, sliced and dropped into the stew to provide consistency, before the whole is heated to achieve the perfect combination of flavors. Picante a la tacneña is served with crunchy marraqueta bread and a locally made dry red wine. Tacna chef and gastronomy consultant Miguel Vega told EFE that the dish “brings together all Tacneños in its tradition.”