Christmas Eve Dinner in Cusco

With its lights, decorations, and Santurantikuy Fair crowds, the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is a festive sight on Christmas Eve. This is the most popular night of the year for area restaurants, as travelers arrive seeking tasty modern renditions of the traditional holiday dinner...

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco is a festive sight near Christmas, as its lawn is spotted with nativity lights and a large nativity scene is set up near the center (figures designed by the famed Méndivil clan, a local family of sculptors). Families from throughout the surrounding province gather in Cusco during Christmas week, camping out in the streets and waiting in long lines to receive hot chocolate, panetón holiday bread, and a toy for the children. Some sell plants and mosses for use in nativity scenes.

On Christmas Eve, vendors crowd into every the Plaza de Armas for the Santuranticuy Fair. The name is Quechua for the buying of the saints. Since the years following Spanish conquest, artisans gathered here to sell nativity figures, especially that of the Niño Manuelito, the Andean version of the baby Jesus. Nowadays, all sorts of goods are sold, from woven and leather goods to jewelry and wood carvings.

This is the most popular night of the year for the restaurants surrounding Cusco’s main square, as travelers seek the traditional Christmas Eve dinner that they would be eating with their families, were they at home. Roast turkey is the traditional choice, and common accompaniments include sweet potato mash and apple sauce. Restaurants that offer a special dinner will usually have someone standing outside to offer a look at the set menu, as you won’t be able to order different meals. At Plus Restaurant, we offer a modern, fusion meal inspired by the traditional choices, such as stuffed turkey roulades with Peruvian gooseberry sauce. If you’re interested in sharing a holiday meal with us at Plus Restaurant, contact us for details or reserve through the website!

After dinner, Peruvians all over the country share panetón fruit cake and hot chocolate. As midnight approaches, hundreds of fireworks begin to explode throughout the city and its countryside in an improvised but impressive display.

With all this activity, you will be surprised by how quiet Cusco is on Christmas Day. Most people stay home with their families, while businesses and restaurants remain closed. Thus, if you’re hoping to mark the holiday season with a festive meal, do it the South American way and plan it for Christmas Eve.

Fecha de Publicación: 28/10/2014