interview with Manuel Villacorta

In the battle against empty calories, white sugar and enriched flour, so-called “power foods” are taking first place on more menus.  San Francisco-based registered dietician Manuel Villacorta summarized his favorites from his native Peru in his new book Peruvian Power Foods, highlighted by a new national marketing campaign for pichuberries.


“I define power foods as a food that is not just rich in vitamins and minerals, but also they have a set of phytochemicals and antioxidants that actually provide amazing health benefits.”

Center stage on his current U.S. publicity tour is the pichuberry.  Native to Peru (and wisely named after the landmark Machu Pichu), the berries are now grown primarily in Columbia, and are now being marketed in the United States.  (In Denver, some Safeway stores carry them.)

The berries are sold each in their own leafy pod, and have a sweet Kiwi-ish taste with a tart finish.  They look like cherry tomatoes.  Villacorta shared with the KUVO staff an amazing pichuberry – blueberry – strawberry smoothie, and a tasty pichuberry – avocado – quinoa salad (pictured).

Villacorta’s website is

Music on this feature is by Richie Zellon, “Dance of the Bromeliads Short #14,” from the CD The Nazca Lines and the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, “A Lima Llego el Tondero,” from the CD Cuidad de Los Reyes.

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