Before I left for Peru, I often joked that I hoped a family would adopt me so I could learn about the food and culture from a local’s perspective. Pizza may not be traditionally Peruvian, but the hospitality of the Candioti family was second to none.
Marbel and I work together at the same language institute, and the more I got to know her, the more I realised how much we had in common. She and I are both in our thirties, and she had studied at Cambridge University. We also share a mutual love for music, dance and food - I feel like she and I could become really good friends. We’ve even talked about meeting up in Bali, giving ourselves a year to get our “bikini” bodies ready. Marbel also knows all about Kiwi sarcasm.
We met outside my work on Sunday morning - the park in front of our work was pretty quiet. It turned out that most of the people were shopping just a street away. Marbel led me to where we could catch a colectivo, and I was blown away but the amount of humans sprawled on the street. I had never seen it this busy, the population had tripled overnight. Where do they all live? We managed to catch a colectivo after ten minutes in the sun and I was personally relieved to get away from the crowds.
Marbel’s parents and younger sister greeted us as we walked through the door. Her Dad had been cooking vegetables in the oven, so we quickly got to work to prepare the dough and toppings. Conversation flowed, and I felt so welcomed. Marbel explained that they grew most of the vegetables in their garden organically, and usually have plenty to share with the neighbours. There’s a mindful reconnection with the land, in what they eat and even in the way they prepare their food. That shift is something I resonate with.
As we waited for the pizza and blueberry muffins to cook in the adobe clay oven, we helped ourselves to the giant mound of potatoes (papas) and sweet potatoes (kamote). Marbel’s sister also brought out a pot of chicha morada - a traditional Peruvian drink. This is a typical weekend for their family - simple rustic cooking and spending time together.
Lunch ran until late afternoon, and as we waited for the others to meet us at the car, Marbel showed me around the other parts of the family garden. There were more potatoes, tomatoes, avocado trees and even a few peach trees. “Before, I didn’t like farming, but now that we grow our food,
I really like it.” From the earth to the table, the Candioti family are well on their way to living a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.
Who is RonnaEats? Ronna Grace Funtelar runs this independent foodie blog, with a philosophy to eat and write about food she can rave about. She won't ask for free meals or collaborate with reviewed eateries, so you can be assured the reviews are unbiased and all for the love of food. Whether it's a food truck, a hole in the wall eatery, street food, local hangout or fine dining, she wants to know where to head to for her next food adventure.