If you pay attention to food trends, you’ll know that in recent years, Peruvian food has been exploding in popularity throughout Latin America and the rest of the world. Peru itself has also become a favorite travel destination for food lovers and for three years’ running has been named the World’s Leading Culinary Destination by the World Travel Awards.
Whether you are already a fan or are intrigued by the popularity of this unique South American cuisine, your best opportunity to try it is this September at the food festival Mistura of Peru in Lima.
History of Mistura Peru
Mistura, or mixture in Portuguese, is the largest food festival in South America and one of the largest in the world.
In 2014, over 400,000 people attended during the ten-day run. Some 30,000 of those were foreign tourists.
With over 200 food and drink stands and a market with some 1,300 people selling fruits, vegetables, and other raw ingredients, this food festival is a feast for the eyes, the nose, and the palate.
The APEGA (Sociedad Peruana de Gastronomía – Peruvian Gastronomy Society) organizes the event.
The festival started in 2008 as Perú Mucho Gusto, and in its first year it was able to attract some 23,000 visitors. Since then, each year the festival has grown both in scope and in number of attendees.
In recent years, Mistura has incorporated themes such as sustainability, nutrition, and biodiversity, with the intent of showing the many facets of Peruvian food and agriculture.
Tips for Attending Mistura Peru
Mistura Perú is held each September, with the date announced in the spring. Since it’s in Lima, travel to and from is as simple as an international flight. But it definitely takes planning.
In order to see everything – as well as to have room to try a number of dishes – you may want to visit the festival more than once.
Try going during the week, as weekends tend to be very crowded. For most food purchases, you have to buy “Mistura money,” so be sure to leave time for the lines – they can get heavy around lunchtime when locals visit the festival.
If you are headed all the way to Peru, don’t just make time for Machu Picchu. You’ll also want to take the time to check out the fair’s schedule, as well as details of the Mundos (worlds), which are the different sections of the fair.
Past examples included Carretillas (pushcarts that sell street food), regional sections such as Del Sur (From the South), Andino (Andean) and Amazónico (Amazonian), and Dulces (Sweets).
What to Try at Mistura Peru
Food on offer runs the gamut: drinks like pisco, chilcano, and uvuchado; desserts including suspiro a la limeña, queso helado, and rafañote; and more exotic fare, such as cuy (guinea pig), anticuchos (beef heart), and frog milkshakes.
Beyond the opportunities to try Peruvian dishes, there are also activities at the festival like master classes, talks, cooking competitions, and even dance performances and concerts. So you will have lots to fill your time while you rest your stomach.
With some planning, a plane ticket, and an appetite, you’ll be on your way to one of the most unique culinary experiences on the planet.