My Paradise Peru

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Dining at the most Romantic South American resort, with Thomas Moons and Tula Casteneda.

I write from foodie Paradise.  And what a magnificent gigantic one.  From the frozen peaks of the Andes to the roaring Pacific ocean, the deepest jungles of the Amazon, sand dunes, ancient Inca civilizations, Machu Picchu and the bustling gastronomic capital of Lima. Each region produces a staggering wealth of produce, vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains…you name it. And this great geographic and cultural diversity has brought ingredients ranging from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex cuisine of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influence. For sure this vast country translates to paradise for us foodies. Ceviche with slivers of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered stews, velvety Amazonian chocolate. I explore the bounty of food markets, sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on the street corners  and (thanks to my co-chairperson of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Academy,   Diego Salazar) dine at the finest restaurants of Lima. But most excitingly, I check out Peru for Vegetarians (ably guided by Maria Jose, Sabrina Chaves, Elda Cantu) It’s a deliciously gourmet Vegetarian paradise too.


Lunching in the Sacred Valley with Chef Cesare Landau and Cesare Chiara

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph shot in the  globally awarded “Most Romantic resort of South America”. Im feasting not just on the superb Peruvian food but also on the stunning views. Dining on this luxurious rooftop with the glorious coastline of the Pacific ocean below,  is one of the many  memorable experiences that Belmond Miraflores Park serves up.  Helming it is the dynamic Thomas Moons with global experience and training as a chef too.  Lima born Tula Castaneda delights with her knowledge of  Peruvian cuisine. I lunch with them at their renowned  Tragaluz restaurant, chef Jean Paul Barbier’s quinoa tabouleh with  beetroot, mushrooms, watercress, makes a masterpiece out of potatoes with the Peruvian Yellow chilli,porcon mushrooms with truffle sauce and more. August Baert’s Tragaluz delights. Not only is the finest Peruvian chocolate used here, but their superb spa gives me a Chocolate massage too. This is definitely my idea of having my chocolate and eating it too.

In the Sacred valley ( an hour’s flight away from the bustling city of Lima) nature preens in all her magnificence. And it is here in the Belmond Rio Segredo,  that I lunch by the shimmering River Urubamba with the brilliant chef Cesar Landau. In the mellow sunshine of the Sacred valley, Chef Cesar’s creative cuisine with Peruvian ingredients delights, be it the tomato tree with water melon gazpacho, vegetarian ceviche with asparagus, mushroom and seaweed from the lake or the quinoa risotto.

I also get a superb Pisco tasting session from the knowledgable Cesar Chiara.

This award winning national drink is the purest brandy, and from the 8 grapes, two types of Piscos (aromatic and non aromatic)are made. I learn all about that famous  lemon, sugar and white of egg based cocktail Pisco sour. All this in the beautiful glassed in bar and restaurant overlooking the stunning gardens of the Rio Segredo. Close by the salt mines of Maras produce the delicious Maras salt from the ancient  times of the Incas. I can taste this vibrant salt in all my food and when it is used as a scrub in the Willka spa, it revitalizes me and Im ready to feast on Rio Segredo’s banquet again.


Veggie Peru on a plate: Quinoa and avocado in the sacred valley’s Rio Segredo.

Here’s Chef Cesar Landau’s recipe . A delicious creamy way to  cook  the healthy, protein rich, gluten free quinoa. You can add or omit the vegetables.


70 gr quinoa/40 gr mushrooms/20 gr zucchini

50 gr cream of milk/30 ml broth of vegetables/ 30 gr parmesan cheese/

2 gr chopped garlic/3 spears of asparagus/ 1  cherry tomato/

20 ml olive oil/5 ml truffle oil/Salt

Black pepper


Boil water with rosemary in a pan. When the water is boiling add the quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and let cool

In a frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and let cook till garlic turns golden. Then add the mushrooms, the zucchini and sauté. Then add the quinoa and the cream and let it reduce.

At the end check the salt and the parmesan cheese.Before serving, drizzle with  truffle oil.Grill the asparagus and served on  top.

Review: The Village Shop

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I cant stop smiling. Thrice as nice. That’s how I feel as I write this review. “The Village shop” (TVS) is a charming family run café (I have a big fat soft corner for family-runs and the home spun quality of their food).

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Review: Farzi Cafe

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We’re rejoicing! Is Fun getting Farzi-fied? Or Farzi getting fun-fied? Is Indian food getting a global makeover or is it the other way round? Whichever way you look at it Farzi, Zorawar Kalra’s high-energy Modern Indian bistro is magnetising a huge number of fans…Gurgaon, Dubai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

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Review: Sequel Bistro & Juice Bar

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Would you like to ‘Recharge’? Get an ‘Unbeatable Glow’? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ and are a believer in healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free high-quality organic food (cold pressed juices et al) then head to Mumbai’s first ever bistro solely dedicated to this.

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Luxury and Fitness Food

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In the iconic Cristallo with Health coach Claudia Mandaliti,Andrea Ronchetti, Gianluca Irrera, Chef Anna Marcato

Can a century of glamourous history and wellness go together? Can healthy food be in focus in an iconic hotel, where luxury and extravagance and La Dolce Vita reigned, supreme? Yes! It can, in Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf, studded in this picturesque Italian town of Cortina, the pearl of the Dolomites. This is where La Dolce Vita of the 60s and 70s took place, the 60s and 70s took place, the global jet set’s swinging parties, skiing, dancing and banqueting, spa-ing. These still continue, I feast on the beauty of the Alpine landscapes, on the sprawling suites of the glam regulars who stayed here (Frank Sinatra to Peter Sellers) as I do on Chef Fabrizio Albini’s luxurious food.

Then comes the surprise… the white hot focus on healthy food and lifestyle. Not only does the health coach Claudia Mandaliti take me cycling, swimming, but also oversees all the guests’ food. The dynamic chief Giampaolo Padula explains this brilliant concept. My learning continues…

Review: Bastian

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No two ways about it. We’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for this two month old seafood “Bastian”.

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Review: Gustoso

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When “Pizza Metro Pizza” rebranded itself as “Gustoso” we went with a great deal of apprehension and cynicism. And came away delighted. Having just returned from Napoli a few days before eating here I was happily surprised to find sunny Italy on my plate.

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Mountain Magic

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Mmm what a multi-dimensional feast for the senses: Michelin starred cuisine in the worlds most dramatic and dazzling Dolomite mountains in Italy bathed in brilliant summer sunshine and sparkled with wild flowers. I shot this photograph on our Sunday picnic in the mountains, where the brilliant Two Michelin starred and highly awarded Chef Norbert Niederkofler  cooked up a memorable feast. He is flanked by Hugo and Ursula Pizzinini who redefine the art of hospitality. In their family owned over seven decade old Rosalpina they make all guests feel like family.  Here comfort, luxury and high-tech meld together  in every exquisite detail. From the super-stylish  Zeno chalet within the hotel, the bio hamam, yoga studio to movie theatre. All this in their hotel in San Cassiano  a tiny village with a population of 700.

It is here that their  two Michelin starred restaurant (the only one in the region) St Hubertus has been magnetizing global gourmets. There is magic in Chef Norberts hands. “The best things are the simple things but at the same time also the hardest things to do” he says as he drives me to meet the producers from whom he directly sources milk, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables and more. “Cook the mountain” is his philosophy and local sourcing is the foundation.

As  also “simple, clear and clean” where he skillfully combines only a maximum of 3 or 4 Flavours. His brilliant beetroot gnocchi plump with the surprising horseradish cream, barley risotto with black garlic are some of the vegetarian dishes   that dazzle. I have many of his recipes and happy to share them with you. Please