Peru named South America's best destination for foodies
The country has been named South America's Leading Culinary Destination for 2012 at the World Travel Awards
Fried guinea pig, tripe stew and cured alpaca meat - if these sound like your idea of tasty dishes you'll be pleased to hear that the country where all three originate, Peru, has just been named South America's Leading Culinary Destination for 2012.
The honour was bestowed upon the country at this year's World Travel Awards, with Peru beating competition from the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and a host of other South American nations.
And if you're put off by the idea of eating guinea pig or any of the other items listed above, don't worry, Peru offers an incredibly varied cuisine ranging from the weird and wonderful to internationally renowned dishes, meaning it's likely that anyone visiting the country on trips to South America will find something to enjoy.
Peruvian food is influenced by a wide range of different culinary cultures as a result of immigration to the country, with elements of Spanish, Chinese, Italian, West African and Japanese all present, making for a unique mix of flavours.
Different cuisines are also prevalent in different parts of the country, based on what ingredients are locally available, with plenty of seafood near the coast and in jungle regions close to rivers, but meat more popular in the Andes and central areas.
One of Peru's most famous dishes is ceviche - typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chili peppers.
Peruvian food is even enjoying growing status as a popular cuisine internationally, with many new restaurants opening up in cities across Europe and the US.
"The flavours of Peruvian food are very unique, it has a lot of variety and influences, and it's sophisticated," Gabriel Gonzalez, owner of London restaurant Lima told the Guardian earlier this year.
"Its healthy qualities are very much in line with today's eating habits and - last but not least - it's delicious."