Peruvian Harvest Feast
The Incas considered the fertile valley of the Urubamba River to be a sacred place. One legend claims that the sun refreshes itself at night in the chilly waters underneath the river. The lush grasslands of this high plateau support sheep and grain production, and the mountain backdrop provides the ideal setting for an authentic pachamanca, or Andean pit roast. Usually undertaken at harvest time, as a thank-you to Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth, a full-scale pachamanca, is a major endeavor that engages the entire community. For his visiting American guests, Chef Pio Vasquez of El Huacatay restaurant in the town of Urubamba has orchestrated a pachamanca out of season, on a friend's farm in the picturesque Sacred Valley.