The Mistura Festival in Peru Was South America’s Biggest Food Festival
The Mistura Food Festival was Latin America’s biggest food festival. Held every September from 2008-2017 in Lima, this festival celebrated Peruvian cuisine.
This event was an international food festival, local food fair, artisan food fair, multicultural festival, livestock fair, and folk fair wrapped up in one colossal 10-day annual experience.
Embracing ideas from abroad has long been part of Peruvian culinary heritage. The Portuguese word “mistura” means “mixture” in English or mezcla in Spanish. The delicious cuisine Mistura served reflected the fusion of multicultural dishes.
Lima is the place to go for top-quality, unique fusion food. At the Mistura Festival, Peru shared its love of food with the world. Travelers and locals alike enjoyed sampling all the flavorful dishes.
To learn more about this spectacular Peruvian foodie event, check out this 5-minute video—and read the rest of this blog post!
History of Mistura Food Festival
According to LimaEasy, “Mistura was organized by Apega, the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy, with the aim to bring together small farmers, producers of local produce and products, food and drinks sellers, chefs, bakers, confectioners, viticulturists, restaurants, baristas, food enthusiasts, Limeños and visitors from all over the world all celebrating Peru’s rich biodiversity and amazing cuisine with the country’s and continent’s largest gastronomic folk festival.”
Since 2008, Mistura has celebrated the gastronomy of Peru. The inaugural Mistura Festival at the Parque de la exposicion (exposition park) in Lima’s city center attracted 30,000 attendees.
The following year, Mistura moved to the Costa Verde of Lima, which would become its traditional location, and almost doubled its visitors. In later years, the event drew up to 600,000 visitors!
The event moved to Rimac from the more central Costa Verde of Lima in 2017. That year, around 300,000 festival-goers flocked to the new venue.
The theme changed annually, and past themes ranged from Peru’s biodiversity and nutrition to regional cuisine to healthy eating. Sadly, the last Mistura festival was the one in 2017.
The Mistura Festival in Lima was more than a food festival. It was a celebration of Peru, its biodiversity, cuisine, culture, history, traditions, and joy for life. It offered the culinary essence of Peru to the world.
What’s So Special About Peruvian Cuisine?
“Peru is the only country in the whole world where food is the most important thing,” according to famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio. “You go to Brazil, it’s soccer. If you go to Colombia, it’s music. But in Peru, the most important source of pride is food.”
Several guest countries including Indonesia, Mexico, India, and Morocco were invited over the years to provide their cuisine alongside the Peruvian selections. At the Mistura Food Festival, critically acclaimed chefs, street food vendors, cafes, and restaurants rent space and offer up their culinary creations.
Peruvian cuisine is as varied as its geography, with typical dishes from the coast, the mountains, and the rainforest. Browse and sample the smorgasbord of food options.
Popular fusion options blend native ingredients with foreign flavors and cooking techniques. The festival also features panel discussions, cooking competitions, live music in the evenings, typical Peruvian dance performances, exhibitions, workshops, and much more.
The Mistura Festival showcased a wide variety of foods, such as:
- Peruvian potatoes
- picarones – Peruvian dripped donuts with a chancaca syrup
- tejas – chocolate truffles from the Peruvian desert
- ceviche – raw fish with lime (the national dish of Peru!)
- anticuchos – marinated cow heart kebabs on skewers
- causa – a layered potato/tuna casserole
- inchicapi – Amazonian stew with chicken and peanuts
Here are some more popular foods from the festival:
- rocoto relleno – Peruvian stuffed peppers
- tamales – savory cornmeal treat wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaves
- Chifa – Peruvian/Chinese fusion
- aji de gallina – shredded chicken in a creamy pepper sauce
- cuy – fried guinea pig
- papa a la huancaína – boiled potatoes smothered in a creamy yellow pepper sauce
- lomo saltado – beef, tomato, red onion and french fries in soy sauce
- chicha morada – a popular non-alcoholic refreshment made with Peruvian purple corn
- coffee and emoliente
The Great Market (El Gran Mercado)
The Mistura Festival’s central feature was a giant market where 300+ farmers from across Peru exhibited and sold their products. Attendees enjoyed tasting a few of the thousands of varieties of Peruvian potatoes and countless local and international specialties at food stalls run by celebrity chefs, street food vendors, and everyone in between.
Farmers harvested and sold a delightful variety of vegetables and fruits throughout the huge country. Chefs gave cooking demonstrations and professional bakers produced all sorts of savory and sweetbreads.
Sixteen regions of Peru cultivate varieties of cacao. The festival offered tasting samples and workshops on coffee and cacao production.
Peruvian fruits and veggies, juices, honey, oils, grains, cheeses, herbs, natural remedies, and other Peruvian products were on offer at the Great Market.
What’s more, people shared a wealth of knowledge and recipes using diverse local ingredients to prepare nutritious dishes.
Peruvian Cuisine and Gastronomy Day
Unfortunately, no future dates are currently set for the Mistura festival, which last occurred in 2017. However, on the second Sunday of every September, Peru observes the Día de la cocina y gastronomía Peruana (Peruvian cuisine and gastronomy day), which highlights the importance and value of Peruvian food.
From 2008-2017, Peruvian cuisine and gastronomy day coincided with the Mistura culinary festival. Nonetheless, visitors to Lima and elsewhere in Peru on Sunday, September 11, 2022 can expect multiple small food events at restaurants offering tasting menus on this special day.
A visit to this celebration of comida (food) is the perfect opportunity to explore tons of Peruvian delicacies in one place.
Learn The Language of Peru
South America is a gem for travelers with not only delicious cuisine but also beaches, mountains, jungle, campsites, towns, and cities. Being bilingual empowers you to travel more easily and communicate with the 121 million people in Latin America (and 53 million in the U.S.)!
Homeschool Spanish Academy helps you achieve fluency through live 1-on-1 instruction with friendly native-speaking teachers, flexible scheduling, and affordable payment options. Give it a try today! To get comfortable with conversational Spanish before your trip to Peru, sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
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