Dissatisfied with their career paths (Astrid was studying medicine in Germany, and Gaston was studying law in Peru), this unlikely couple ditched their studies and met in cooking school in Paris (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, we won’t get any ideas!). Love blossomed, and Gaston was able to convince his new German love to return to his homeland, Peru, to “create a restaurant, a family, a life, and a love story.” What they’ve created is a food empire, complete with dozens of restaurants, cookbooks displayed in the window of every bookstore, cooking shows on t.v., and names that have become synonomous with excellent food. Their approach is to experiment with local Peruvian ingredients, but their inspiration is their Parisian training and traditional dishes from Gaston’s homeland of Peru.

As foodies in-the-making, we made it our mission to try every one of their restaurants (we came close!).  At Tanta, their casaul restaurant chain where the colors are playfully bright, we enjoyed fresh fruit pisco cocktails. At Panchita’s we loved the variety of homemade bread served hot out of the clay oven and the succulent anticuchos (more on this traditional Peruvian meat in a later post). La Mar, their cevicheria, was phenomenal (https://carolinaanddan.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/ceviche/). Last, but definitely not least, we visited their most famous restaurant Astrid y Gaston for Dan’s birthday dinner. This restaurant – named a top 50 restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino in 2011 – though the least dramatic in setting, was the most decadent in food.

We were faced with a difficult challenge that night: a 12+ course meal (they added in bread, an amuse-bouche, and an extra dessert – those tricksters!) over 3 hours. We came, we saw, we conquered!

Menu Degustacion: 12 pasos, servidos para toda la mesa, 3 horas de duración

(1) Cebiche del amor
Ostra, concha, erizo, almeja, calamar, choro, langostino, todo crudo. Leche de tigre con tres ajíes y esencias pura pasión.

(2) Encebichado del pueblo
Pesca de chalana, pulpo y caracol, calamar crocante, jugo chalaco, patacon de camote y choclo.

(3) Pulpo al cilindro
Marinado en anticucho, burbujas de botija, crema de papa amarilla.

(4) Cuy pekines
Crepes de maíz morado, hoisin de rocoto, encurtidos de chifa.

(5) Erizos para el alma
Primero unos fideítos negros con erizos, yemas, esencia de cangrejo reventado y parmesano del mar, luego un shot de erizos encebichados.

(6) Foie de pato libre y las ocas bajo la tierra
Tortellis de foie de patos criados libremente en la selva. Capuccino de ocas. Ensaladita de mamey grillado y yacon.

(7) Paiche orgullo amazonico confitado
Con crutones de pan de papa, papitas aplastadas y salchicha de huacho enmigada con huevitos estrellados. Una sopita de espinaca silvestre andina.

(8) Un atún bien bonito
Sus lomitos rosados forrados de especias del mundo. Espuma de coco, salsa de tamarindo y huacatay. Un delicado juane con sabor a chifa.

(9) Se seco el chupe y se volvio a mojar
Un arroz que absorve la esencia del chupe. Camarones, langostinos, conchas y calamares de anzuelo. Una esencia de todos sus vegetales y arverjitas que lo vuelve a mojar.

(10) Guerrera carrillera
Jugosa carrillera de ternera estofada 20 horas. Reducción de huatia antigua de siete hierbas. Primas de las papas y sus hierbas de cocción en croquetas, cremas y crujientes.

(11) La tapioca de Camu Camu
Con suave mousse de chocolate de leche, sopa helada de coco, espuma de canela y sorbete de camu camu con naranja confitada

(12) Esfera de chocolate
Con compota de frambuesa, helado de lúcuma y espuma de creme brulee

Menu taken from: http://www.astridygaston.com/web/cartacategoria.php?pidscw=2&pidpsp=21&pidpag=3650

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