Meet Boris: VBT’s Peru Leader

Born and raised in Cusco, Boris has been guiding travelers in and around his home country of Peru for seventeen years.  Boris’ fascination with Andean culture and love of Cusco’s food makes him an ideal candidate to lead travelers in an in-depth exploration of his homeland.  His keen interest in cultural interaction is contagious and any trip with Boris is likely to wind up at a local market where, he says, the essence of the Andean culture as well as customs dating back to the Incan period, are still preserved.

Boris has traveled to many different places in the world including the United States, Panama, Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela.  His interest in the environment and preference for warmer temperatures often lead him the rainforests of South America.  However, since joining the VBT team in 2005, Boris has excelled in leading guided explorations of Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley and he’s likely to continue for quite some time.  Why? “Because I love my job… I love to travel to remote Andean communities to learn about their lives, customs, traditions… and I enjoy teaching VBT travelers about Andean culture….”  Whether walking the Inca Trail or sampling Cusco specialties at a local market, you’re sure to catch a bit of Boris’ zeal and enthusiasm while exploring Peru.

Don’t take our word for it.  VBT traveler, Elizabeth N., had this to say about Boris: “Boris was great. He was a wealth of knowledge, full of lots of energy, a great guide! He made the trip very pleasant and always went out of his way to make sure we were enjoying ourselves.”

Truffle Gnocchi

The onset of fall prompts an abundance of harvest festivals throughout the world.  From California’s “Crush” (wine grape harvest) to Munich’s Oktoberfest, there is no shortage on ways to celebrate colder temperatures and the gathering of crops.  If you find yourself in Northern Italy this fall, however, you might notice that interest in leaf-peeping, olive pressing, and even wine-making pales in comparison to the excitement of Truffle Season.  Exclusive to Northern and central Italy the arrival of the prized white truffle means that the small delicacy dominates the dinner table, and we thought we’d join in with this great recipe for Truffle Gnocchi.  The recipe calls for black truffles, but to really get a taste for the season we recommend substituting with white truffles. Buon appetito!

Travels with a Gourmet

Gougeres

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs (approximately)
  • 2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustar
  • Cayenne

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine the water, butter, salt and sugar and heat until the butter is melted. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a firm ball and breaks away from the edges of the pan.
  2. Remove the dough from the pan and beat in the eggs, one by one. If the eggs are very large, you may not need 4, if they are small, you may need more. Use enough to make the pâte à choux firm, smooth and waxy.
  3. Add the cheese, mustard and a few grains of cayenne to the pâte à choux and blend thoroughly. For a stronger flavor, you might add a bit more cheese.
  4. Butter a baking sheet and drop the dough by spoonfuls, or force it through the plain tube of a pastry bag, making small round mounds on the sheets.
  5. Sprinkle with a little additional cheese and a little cayenne or a few dashes of Tabasco.
  6. Bake in a 375°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the gougères to dry out in the oven for ten minutes before removing them. Don’t open the oven door during cooling.
  7. Enjoy hot or cold!