After arriving in Cusco, we drove directly to the El Albergue Ollantaytambo, roughly a two hour drive. It's a charming hotel located right by the train station, which was incredibly convenient when we visited Machu Picchu later on that week. The grounds at the hotel were so lovely,with flowers everywhere and what especially stood out was the delicious food experiences at the hotel. featuring food from the on-site organic farm.
There is a two-night minimum stay at the restaurant which includes a Pachamancha Lunch experience, a distillery and coffee roasting tour, and breakfasts. Also recommended is the off-site restaurant also owned by the hotel called Chuncho.
The lobby of the El Albergue Ollantaytambo.
The Hotel Room
The El Albergue Ollantaytambo was almost completely booked so we stayed in a room that wasn't normally open to the public.
Muña for altitude sickness. I did get a bit of a headache after the first night in Ollataytambo from the altitude.
I still dream about this delicious gooseberry jam.
All hotel guests can order off an organic breakfast menu with several delicious selections. There is also a selection of juices, coffees, fruits, and cereal/granolas at a small buffet bar for hotel guests also.
We tried the Tacu-Tacu, which featured a football shaped refried bean pancake, topped with fried eggs and sarza criolla (an aji and onion sauce)
Also, I super enjoyed the Saludables Tostadas Crocantes, which was toasted bread with the most delicious avocado, tomatoes, and cream cheeses.
The Pachamanca Lunch
We were super excited to try the pachamanca lunch. This is a pre-Incan way of cooking that is 8000 years old and is still a very popular way of cooking in Peru. This method of cooking allows for baking, grilling, and steaming, just like a convection oven.
There is a whole team assembled to put together our delicious pachamanca meal, which can be booked even if you are not a guest at the hotel. Chicken, pork, and lamb are included for the meats, seasonal vegetables, Andrean potatos, fresh salad, and chicha morada (Peruvian purple corn drink. The lunch is served three times daily at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm and the entire experience takes about 2-3 hours.
The meats are marinated with a chincho sauce. Chincho is a Peruvian herb that was cultivated by the Incas. It has a citrus scent and is related to the quinoa.
These rocks have been heated for a hour and are 600 degrees Celsius. The way this method of cooking works is that the heat from the rocks underneath and over the meat, sears it, trapping the juices and protects the humidity that keeps the meat incredibly tender.
After everything is assembled this wet cloth is placed on top to trap the flavor and add moisture. It's the insulation part of the oven. Basically the earth itself is used as a cooking pot.
The Organic Farm
The on-site organic farm was started in 2010 and much of the vegetables served at the hotel are grown on the farm. No agrochemicals or synthetic fertilizers are used at the farm and the farms tries to use sustainable and traditional techniques of farming, including rotating crops, using biological controllers, and plowing with oxen.
Ollantaytambo is a city of agriculture and much of the income in the area is earned from farming ever since the Pre-Incan times.
The Chuncho Restaurant
The Chuncho restaurant is located off-site, you can take a 50 cent, 5 minute tuk tuk ride to reach the restaurant. The menu features local ingredients and flavors and ingredients from the El Albergue farm.
We were treated to the nightly set menu at the restaurant.
The local corn tastes entirely different from any corn that we are used to in the States and the kernels are huge! They are served at the restaurants with two salsas and a rock salt that you can grind according to your tastes.
Next up was another round of appetizers
Wheat salad featuring lemon, red onion, barley, and tumbo ( a local Peruvian fruit - similar in taste to passion fruit) . It's topped with passion fruit salt and alpaca jerky.
I also loved that each course was paired with a cocktail! Neither of us were drinking alcohol so the restaurant was kind enough to make virgin version of their drinks.
I could have drank gallons of this first drink, which was Moscow mule inspired. It features 7 herbs from the farm, Rosemary syrup, lime juice, and a fennel flower.
The entire Pachamanca style spread at Chuncho.
Roasted pepper stuffed with mushroom and Quinoa pancakes.
Passion fruit salad and local corn.
Alpaca and Cuy jerky.
A beautiful spread of dessert
Cacao truffle with almonds.
Our stay at the El Albergue Ollataytambo was a lovely experience, we would recommend the hotel, especially as a stay right before you are heading out to Machu Picchu as it is conveniently located right next to the train station. If you are a foodie who is passionate about authentic local foods and sustainability, this is the hotel for you!
We were provided a complimentary stay at the El Albergue Ollataytambo by as always all opinions are our own.