Besos de Novia Potatoes
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Besos de Novia are small in size and have an elongated, cylindrical shape. The skin ranges in color from light to dark brown and is covered in semi-rough patches, shallow eyes, and dark brown spots. Underneath the thin skin, the flesh is firm, dense, and floury. The flesh also has a unique, bright pink-red marbling that occurs throughout the center of the tuber in a circular pattern. When cooked, Besos de Novia potatoes develop a fluffy, dry consistency with a mild, earthy flavor.
Besos de Novia potatoes are available year-round.
Besos de Novia potatoes, botanically a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, are a native variety of tuber from Peru. When translated, the name Besos de Novia means kisses from a loved one such as a girlfriend, fiancée, or bride and some believe the name originated from the pink, kiss-like design in the potato’s flesh. Besos de Novia potatoes are grown in the Andes mountains in Peru and are predominately cultivated with an organic certification to create natural, healthy tubers. This certification also contributes to the variety’s ability to be exported around the world, and the potatoes are currently being exported as far as Dubai for Peruvian Michelin starred restaurants. On a local level, Besos de Novia potatoes are favored in Peru for their unique flesh coloring and versatility in common culinary applications.
Besos de Novia potatoes are a good source of iron and antioxidants, and also contain some vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Besos de Novia potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, mashing, baking, and frying. When boiled, the tubers expand and slightly burst from their skins, creating a fluffy consistency, often served with sauces as a creamy side dish. Besos de Novia potatoes are also popularly sliced and baked into potato chips to showcase their unique flesh coloring. In Peru, the tubers are used in pachamanca, which is a traditional dish of meat and vegetables cooked in the ground with hot rocks and in puca picante, which is a dish prepared with potatoes, chiles, pork, and rice. Besos de Novia potatoes pair well with peanuts, corn, beans, meats such as pork, poultry, and beef, hardboiled eggs, chiles, tomatoes, creamy cheeses, and rice. The tubers will keep 3-5 weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Besos de Novia potatoes are mainly cultivated in Ayacucho, Peru, which is a region known for its agriculture, pottery, and leather goods. In Ayacucho, there are ancient terraces known as andenes that were built by the Wari empire dating back to ancient times before the Inca empire. These terraces were the primary source of cultivation for potatoes as the segmented sections protected the land from erosion and enabled appropriate irrigation methods. Varieties such as the Besos de Novia are still being cultivated on these terraces today and are used in many of Ayacucho’s popular dishes such as the cuy chactado or flattened guinea pig. This dish incorporates potatoes with fried guinea pig, salad, and ground corn.
Besos de Novia potatoes are native to the Andes mountains in Peru and have been cultivated since ancient times. Though the exact history of this variety is mostly unknown, today the tubers are grown in Peru and are sold through local markets and exported to select countries in Europe and Asia.