lunes, 20 de julio de 2015

In the land of pisco... Letters to the Editor

From Portugal
1.Hello, Good Morning,
I would like to know if Peruvian Pisco is exported to Portugal. I would also like to have contact information for Peruvian Pisco producers, in order to become a distributer in Portugal. I await your response. With my best wishes,
João Diegues

From Russia
2. Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Consul of the Embassay of my country, the Republic of Peru in the Russian Federation:
A documentary has been transmitted whose title translated to Spanish is “The Planet without prejudice: Chile: El Valle Elqui” which lasts 27:17 minutes. During the first 11:30 minutes the documentary mentions that Pisco is made in Chile. I think this constitutes a disrespect of the rights of our country, of our national dignity. Here is the link to the Youtube video.

I ask you to take up this issue as it is one that is of the highest priority for the cultural interests of our country. Sincerely
Wilder Gómez Ramos
Saint Petersburg
Telephone in Moscow : 937-38-92

Starting on April 24, 2012 the transmission of a documentary with the name “The Planet without prejudice: Chile: El Valle Elqui” began. The content of this movie during the first 13 to 14 minutes does not correspond to the true history of the true origins of the drink called Pisco, which is against world recognition that Pisco is the national heritage of Peru. The city of Pisco exists uniquely and only in the territory of Peru, and was founded before the colonial era. In regards to the establishment of the city there is information in different chronicles of Peru which were written by the colonizers, as well as different historical investigations that have been done until now. The Chilean writer Isabel Allende also recognizes that Pisco is Peruvian in her book “Mi País inventado”  (2003).
Today, as proof that Pisco is the national drink of Peru and originally from Peru, there is an official documentary titled “Les appellations d’origine, " which was produced by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in January 2006, after a long dispute with Chile.
Pisco is the national beverage of Peru, and is only from Peru!
If you need any documents that confirm the information above indicated, or the research, I would love to give them to you.
Taking into consideration what is written above, I urgently recommend that you check the veracity of the information about Pisco in the movie “The Planet without prejudice: Chile: El Valle Elqui“ as well as block the indicated transmission and the publicity regarding this production until the truth of the information has been verified. One should also close the presentation of these same documentaries in youtube.
I hope that you can help with the sincere presentation of this information in your channel, which has a great popularity with Russians.

Wilder Gómez Ramos
Saint Petersburg
Telephone in Moscow : 937-38-92

3. It is a pleasure to greet you. This present letter is written in order to request information about Pisco producers in Peru. I am about to start a business of selling decorative articles for companies made from Pisco. I am also interested in selling Granel Pisco, with all permissions necessary, for its commercialization and possible exportation.
Thank you for your time and quick response,
Roger M. Narro Ríos

4. Are there only 3 types of Pisco? Are the aromatic grape varieties only Quebranta, Mollar? In Green Must are the only varieties Italia, Quebranta, acholado? In regards to “acholado” there are infinite combinations.
We must begin by defending that Pisco must be promoted abroad, and it seems fine with me to state that there are only three types of Pisco, but we must do so with a consensus.Sincerely

5.- Hi, I am interested in purchasing pure Quebranta Pisco in order to commercialize it, after examining the liter/bottle. Please send a quote. Please only pure pisco.
Alexander Ventura

6.- I sell Quebranta Pisco in bulk. Very good quality. Produced in Flores Cañete.
Cordial Greetings,
Merlín Díaz

7.- I sell pure Quebranta Pisco in bulk. Very good quality from the city of Ica. Please email me. Cheers,

8.- I have decided to do my thesis research on vineyard tourism in Santa Cruz de Flores. Where can I find more information about this? At the municipality? Or with AVA? Please write as soon as possible. Have a great day,


9.-I am about to open a restaurant in the city of Chimbote and I would like to acquire liquor. I would appreciate any information. Thanks,

10.-I am interested in finding out how to import Peruvian Pisco? I am Peruvian and I live in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I believe that people who live here are recently becoming interested in Peruvian Pisco.
Drago Bosnacovich Ramis

11.-Good morning. I am very interested in courses about Pisco Tasting. Sincerely,
Gladys Torres Urday

12.- Hi
Carlos Pastorino, whom I met when I lived in Holland, recommended this website to me. Fantastic website. It has lots of information about Pisco, and is just what I was looking for. I will visit Peru in July 2012, and I need to take a course to increase my knowledge of Peruvian Pisco, such as things about its varieties, types, etc. Could you please let me know where I can take this course?
Cecilia Osborne

13.- I am a specialist in alcoholic beverages and I have seen your blog. It is very informative and interesting. I would like to subscribe to the electronic magazine and have constant information about Pisco.
Sincerely, Danko Miskulin

14.- Dear Sir,
My name is Jordana King, I am an American university student. Currently I am studying at Washington State University, in Washington State, on the west coast. I just returned to the US from Peru, where I studied for a semester (from July to December) at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola-Lima. I lived with a Peruvian family and I loved Peru and all Peruvian things: culture, music, cuisine, and especially Pisco.

Currently I am in a class titled “History and Culture of Latin America” in order to learn more Spanish and more things about Latin American countries. Therefore, I need to write about a Latin American issue. I would like to write about Peruvian Pisco: its history, the name, tourism, and how it is served in bars and modern discotecas in Lima, etc. Would you be so kind as to send me a copy of your magazine “Pisco” for my project? It would be great if I could write with Peruvian sources and with real paper instead of articles from the website. I am a student and I will graduate in May. I would like to work in international public relations, and one day in South America. It would be wonderful if you could send me a copy of your magazine--any version, but I would prefer it in Spanish (it is obvious that I need to practice more Spanish), and a copy that has a lot of information about the distillation process, as well as the warm broth, fermentation and modern use. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. I’ll await your response. Sincerely,
Jordana A. King

15.- Dear Sir,
I would like to thank you in advance for taking time to read this. I am interested in exporting Peruvian Pisco to the United States. We are an established Peruvian-American company in exports. Imports would be a new area for us. We need information on bulk prices, delivery, payment types, production, label and presentation, quality and the coordination of some samples of 550 to 750cc.
Thank you again for your attention.

Alejandro Barraza
General Manager
Nexo's Trading USA Corp.

16.- I am a dessert chef at the Hotel Bolivar. I make a Pisco Sour Mousse just for tourists. This is my recipe, but if you would like, I can make it for you to try. Thanks,

17.- Good Afternoon, I am very interested in finding out how you can help me export Pisco. I have a Pisco brand registered in Indecopi and all the necessary documents. Please contact me for more information. Thanks.
Sincerely, Rafael Guillen Montalvo

18.- Good morning  Sir.  I would like to thank you for allowing the publication of this letter so that I can market my Pisco. I have pure Quebranta Pisco and I would like to know all the steps I must take to be able to commercialize and export it, or in some way, be able to sell my product. Thanks so much, Sincerely

19.-I think that this website is a great initiative. We are producers and exporters of Pisco Don Cesar in Tacna, and anyone who is interested, can contact us via email in order to begin negotiations.

20.- I think it is wonderful that there are groups of people who want to promote and develop our Peruvian Pisco. My family has some grape fields and I would like to be able to commercialize Pisco. The question is, where do I begin to start the process? I would appreciate some help.
Thanks, Víctor Usurin

*Due to issues of space, the magazine Pisco reserves the right to edit and/or reduce the emails or letters we receive. Please keep messages as short as possible, and include your complete name, National Identity number (DNI, or passport if the case), and a phone number for reference.

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

lunes, 6 de julio de 2015

In the land of Pisco... An american in Lima

The Heart Is a Muscle / El corazón es un musculo

By Barbara R. Drake

I used to think that France was the most food-obsessed nation on earth. Then I moved to Peru.

Life halts twice a day in France for the gastronomic liturgies of le déjeuner and le dîner. Afterward, the French people refold their napkins and return to the all-consuming business of being French: i.e., being frighteningly exact about money, arguing about philosophy and literature, and dressing better than everyone else except the Italians.

Here in Peru, however, food consciousness — preparing, eating, talking, thinking about food — goes on 24/7. Peruvians discuss food with a singular intensity and concentration — and I mean all Peruvians, all the time. I sometimes believe that you could wake a Peruvian from a dead sleep, and in less than ten seconds he’d be up to a serious food conversation.

I’ve seen Peruvian businessmen standing on line for a table at Punto Azul, in Miraflores, engaged in a forty-minute dispute over whether Ecuador’s ceviche is the real thing. (As a point of comparison: Can you imagine two U.S. executives on a business lunch talking about steak for more than two minutes?) I’ve braved an hour-long car ride to a burial in the Lima desert where the mourners spoke exclusively of where to eat after the service. (The deceased was a beloved tía, by the way.) I’ve been lectured at by an elderly fruit salesman on Av. Benavides as to why Peru’s mangoes are the best in the world, a topic that is apparently worthy of a master’s thesis.

And then there is El Piloto.

Among my husband’s relatives in Lima is a younger cousin whose husband flies commercial jets for LAN airlines. I’m not an expert on pilot personality types, but the ten or so professional pilots I’ve met over the years have tended to be even-tempered men with excellent eyesight who talk about their kids, their cars, sports and the weather. 

That’s true of the pilots I’ve known in Peru as well, but mention the words pasta or lúcuma to them, and their inner Peruvian foodie explodes to the surface.

Particularly El Piloto, a compact man with a resonant voice who embodies the English word gusto.

Two months ago at a Sunday family almuerzo (lunch), El Piloto became determined that I should be in 100 percent agreement with him that Peru has the best Italian food on the planet. I tried to argue that the best Italian food is in Italy — I know, I’ve tasted it — but El Piloto pooh-poohed that banal idea.

“¡La comida italiana en Perú es la mas rica del mundo!” he thundered at me across la mesa. (My disagreeing seemed to invigorate him.)

“¡Por qué las verduras peruanas son mas frescas!” he went on, turning to his brother-in-law (a former pilot, it turns out, but one more subdued than El Piloto).
Yes, yes, the two Peruvian pilots concurred. The vegetables in Peru smell better, taste better. The ground is fertile, the farmers know how to work the land, la tierra is sacred here….

Actually, I agree that much of Peru’s produce is exceptional. What kept me from chiming in that afternoon was my inability to match the enormity of my relatives’ enthusiasm for the topic. Not to mention the prodigiousness of their conversational stamina.

I left the table, poured myself a generous glass of red wine, wandered into a library where the kids were playing video games, watched Mario beat Luigi twice in a race, took a siesta on the couch and came back to the dining table nearly an hour later. The pilots were still at it:
“¡Pero la pasta en Perú es buenasa!”

I ran into El Piloto again a month later at a birthday party for his eight-year-old son. He was aflame with the news that Gastón Acurio had opened a new anticucho restaurant at Av. Dos de Mayo, in Miraflores.

“Imagine this,” he told me in Spanish. “An anticucho platter for two. For only 18 soles!” (Americans: divide by 2.5 and you get the approximate cost in U.S. dollars – around $7. Europeans: one Peruvian sol = approx. 0.3 euros.)

“What’s wrong?” he asked, when he saw that I wasn’t leaping up and down with excitement over Restaurante Panchita. “Don’t you like anticuchos?”

I confessed that I don’t eat skewered cow’s heart.
“But it is delicious, more than steak!” He furrowed his brow. “You haven’t even tried it, have you?”

“No,” I admitted. “I don’t want to eat the heart of any animal.”

“You have to get over that,” he pressed. “Look, you eat steak, right? That’s a muscle. Well…el corazón es un músculo también.”

El Piloto made a fist and opened and closed it rapidly, like a heart beating.

“¡El corazón es un músculo!” he repeated, pumping his thick hand at me.

“Right? Isn’t it true?” he nudged my husband. “So why not eat it?”

I kept looking at El Piloto’s fist throbbing like a crazy músculo. A strange idea occurred to me.

“I’m going to have a t-shirt made for you in Gamarra,” I told him. “ ‘El corazón es un músculo.’ Right across the chest. It’s a good message.”

“Si, El corazón es un músculo: Cuídalo [Take care of it],” added El Piloto’s wife. “And add a picture of this guy’s hand. With blinking lights!”

The heart is a muscle. This is what Peruvians are teaching me.

Well, perhaps it’s okay for other people to eat this muscle. For now, I prefer just to exercise mine — metaphorically.

By developing compassion for those who are less fortunate (for the millions of impoverished Peruvians who can’t afford to eat at a place like Panchita’s, for instance), by learning to wait patiently in line at the supermarket or bank (something Limeños do far better than North Americans do), and by appreciating the values of a people-centered society where it’s customary every day to have a relaxed, sit-down meal with friends, family or co-workers, the key ingredient being company.

Few things in in our daily life are so important that we can’t pause to share time and good food with others. This former New Yorker’s heart is learning how to do just that.

An earlier version of this essay was originally published online at An American in Lima ( ), on March 8, 2009.

Barbara R. Drake is a writer and teacher who moved from the United States to Peru five years ago with her husband, a native Limeño. Her articles and essays have appeared Huffington Post, Miami Herald,, Caribbean Travel & Life and the Village Voice, among other outlets; since 2008 she has blogged about life as an expat and on social issues in Peru in her award-winning blog An American in Lima. Barbara currently teaches English in the translation and interpretation program at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC), in Lima.

Pisco bilingual magazine