Paths of Excellence

Paths of Excellence

The Moche territory – Peru

Flavors and dishes form the ancient Moche Culture

The Moche territory is located in the Northern Coast of Peru, in the regions of La Libertad and Lambayeque. The territory is a very dry desert. Its population and productive activities are concentrated in the fertile valleys, which are blessed with water that originates from high up in the Andean peaks. Since the pre-Hispanic era this area has been the economic and administrative centre of all the North of Peru.The Northern Coast has one of the highest levels of development in Peru, even if living conditions are precarious in large extensions of rural areas where the livelihood strategies are dedicated to agriculture, fishing and other traditional activities.

Moreover, in the past years the territory has experienced a valorisation of its natural and cultural assets, constituting the today so called Moche Route, mainly characterized by: the discovery, restoration and exhibition of extraordinary world renowned archaeological complexes and museums; the relation with Peruvian’s gastronomic boom as the northern cuisine is amongst the most important of the country, not only for its variety (products of the cost derived from the mountains and jungles) but also for the inclusion of ancestral knowledge (mochinas, african, chinese); conservation initiatives of the highly biodiverse dry equatorial forests, also known as the green desert, with the Chaparrí Reserve as an exceptional example; the beach and sands attractions, mainly related to the favourable characteristics for aquatic sports such as surfing and kite surfing. This valorisation has been possible due to the active involvement of public actors, intermediate and large entrepreneurs; NGOs and foundations; local stakeholders (small-scale producers, chefs, cooks, artisans, archaeologists, and mystics among others).

The Moche Route is a demonstration of the advancements that the strategies of valorisation of cultural identity (CI) have accomplished.The museums of the Northern Coast are a result of the confluence of three main types of actions: the work of archaeologists who work in the area that generate sensibility about the preservation of pre-Hispanic heritage; the efforts of authorities to promote the northern coast as a touristic destination; the search for development agendas that will lead to new strategies to reduce poverty.

The Moche products – Peru

The Loche


Loche is an emblematic ingredient of the cuisine from Lambayeque and required since ancient times, the loche imposes a peculiar flavor that distinguishes dishes such as goat, rice with duck or sweated fish, from similar dishes prepared in neighboring regions. The loche (Cucurbita moschata) is a creeper and climber plant that was cultivated some 6000 years ago on the North Coast. One of the outstanding features of the authentic loche is the absence of seeds in the fruits and the use of traditional cultivation methods (vegetative propagation by cuttings, little irrigation water), despite the high demand of the product. It is estimated that today in Lambayeque between 120 and 150 hectares of Loche are planted in small plots of marginal areas, conducted by small farmers. There are several qualities of loche including different flavors and scents depending on the territory it is grown in. The region has embarked on a crusade to reassess and promote this flagship product. In August 2008 was created the Regional Association of Producers of  Loche of Lambayeque, that integrates Pacora, Sican, Pomac and Illimo associations. Excerpts from the book “The Kingdom of Loche”, by Mariano Valderrama (on publication)

The Moche Ají (Chili)


Definitely if there is a characteristic ingredient of the current peruvian cuisine, yesterday, now and forever, it is the ají. You can find a vast variety of ají, including the ones of the neighbor regions of Cajamarca, Amazonas and La Libertad but the preferred are from the area of Reque and Monsefú from the Moche territory of Lambayeque. It is very difficult to categorize the types of ají because the same cherry ají plant, characteristic of Lambayeque, has fruits of various shapes and colors, not to mention the differences between different plants on the same plot. The flavor and picante of ají vary according to soil characteristics and factors such as temperature and amount of water. Since decades ago, ají known as a “talon hawk” is commonly used for the preparation of ceviche. Its picante and unique scent are unsurpassed. The paring ají is also a popular ají of mild picante, with long but thin dimensions and still grows wild. The “Chisco mouth” the superhot “monkey pinguita” of Amazonian origin, the “heart of dove”, variety of cherry ají, the lime ají. There are different qualities of green ají that are used depending on the dish or the use: pickled ají for tamales; ají de causa, yellow ají to be grinded. Excerpts from the book “The Kingdom of Loche”, by Mariano Valderrama, Vice president and founder of the Peruvian Association of Gastronomy – APEGA (on publication)

The Peruvian Duck


The peruvian duck has nothing to envy to the most elevated. Its Hispanic roots, its proximity to the Mochica or Vicús nobility and the fineness of its flesh compete with the lineage and history of the great families of web-footed such as Mallard or Pekingese. The zoomorphic ceramic from the Vicus, Viru and Salinar cultures of the Formative Period (2000 to 200 B.C.) demonstrates the presence of these birds in ancient Peru. Also in the archaeological excavations of Sipan and Sican in Lambayeque ceramics and works of gold were found, as were the famous gold and turquoise earrings of the Sipan Lord, with its ​​figure.  The lambayecan creole duck is home-raised on the puddle, and fed on stubble and corn. It has a special smell and taste, more consistent than the industrially raised ducks. So entrenched is the presence of this generous and succulent bird that it appears in legends of love and marriages. The Lambayeque ladies recount with pride and without fuss that former brides cooked rice with a sacrificed duck solely to ensure that the groom asked once and for all the bride’s hand. The ritual consisted on hiding the bird’s heart between the wet green rice for the groom, when trying the first bite of the heart he would be enchanted with a strong dose of passion and unbridled love for the cook. After that, it was just a matter of reserving the church for the wedding. Excerpts from the book “The Kingdom of Loche”, by Mariano Valderrama, Vice president and founder of the Peruvian Association of Gastronomy – APEGA (on publication)

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