This past Friday our little crew of four headed over to the Lima’s Parque de la Exposicion to attend the second annual Mistura Gastronomic Food Festival. Now for someone whose objective, while volunteering with Perupedia, is to contribute about Peruvian cuisine this was a dream come true. In the few hours that we were there I was able to see just how rich, diverse and delicious Peruvian food really is. The festival included food from the three different regions of Peru; the mountains, the jungle and the coast. It also joined together dozens of street vendors known as Carretilla’s, 35 of Peru’s most reputable restaurants and chefs in the country. The dishes ranged from a typical traditional meal that could be found in a small jungle community to unique and refined desserts from one of Lima’s top restaurants. Even though there was an enormous range, event organizers chose to keep the event affordable and accessible to those in attendance by keeping dishes below 12 soles. That meant for some, trying dishes from some restaurants that ordinarily they would not be able to afford.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I find that the energy of Peruvians palpitating and things were no different here. In the last few years Peruvian cuisine has been recognized as one of the best in the world and the people of this country are rightfully proud. The attention that their food has garnered has made Peruvians fall in love all over again. They’ve always known that they have been eating delicious food but now that the rest of the world is catching on andthey are taking bigger and bolder strides to remain at the top. The festival was not only created to showcase the food and dishes of Peru but it was also created to acknowledge the fisherman behind the ceviche, the winemaker, the cattle herder and everyone else behind the scenes of the final product. The hosts of the festival, the Peruvian Gastronomic Society, are also hoping that the festival promotes local cuisine, strengthens national identity and makes Peru a top tourist destination.
The Mistura food festival encompassed everything I love about food. In actuality its not really even the food (well a little) but more of the evolution of food. What has always been an essential staple of life is becoming an art and a passion for Peruvians. People are stopping to think about what they’re eating, how it smells, the way that it’s presented, what it’s paired with. It’s less about, do I like this or not, or am I going to be full after this, but instead, appreciating where these products came from and the history of why and where this was created. Young men and women are not only becoming chefs to earn a living but they’re doing it because they have a passion to work with elements from nature to create a beautiful and inspired meal.
Back home chefs are becoming celebrities overnight and restaurants are beginning to have velvet ropes attached to them. The restaurant/food trend has long ago taken off and now has just become another way to turn a profit. Here the enthusiasm is building, it’s still a raw concept that food is more than just nourishment. As this art form grows, I am sure that not only will the goals of the Mistura Food Festival be met but the rest of the world will be asking for more of a taste of Peru.