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Peru: ‘Mistura’ Gastronomic Festival Kicks Off

Peruvians are very proud of their cuisine. When living abroad, they often say the thing they miss the most is the food. Mistura is a very successful gastronomic festival that has recently opened its fourth editon which will go from September 9-18, 2011.

As the event's web page explains [es]:

Es una fiesta donde los peruanos de los diversos sectores sociales, edades, género nos reunimos sin distingos sociales alrededor de nuestras ollas y fogones para celebrar nuestra tradición culinaria, sorprendernos ante nuestra creatividad, reafirmar nuestra identidad y celebrar nuestra diversidad cultural. En el Perú a lo largo de los siglos la comida ha estado asociada a las Fiesta. Es en ocasión de las fiestas patronales, Inti Raymi, San Juan, Cruz de Motupe, Señor Cautivo, navidad, semana santa y festejos familiares (matrimonios, cumpleaños, bautizos) que se han preparado los mejores potajes utilizando técnicas y recetas que nuestras guisanderas y cocineros han transmitido de generación en generación.

[Mistura] is a party where we Peruvians from all walks of life, age, gender get together without distinctions around our pots and burners to celebrate our culinary tradition, and to get surprised with our creativity, to reassert our identity and to celebrate our cultural diversity. For centuries, in Peru food has been associated to Festivities. On the ocasion of patron saint's days, Inti Raymi, San Juan, Cruz de Motupe, Captive Lord, Christmas, Easter and family celebrations (weddings, birthdays, baptisms) the best stews have been prepared using techniques and recipes our ‘guisanderas’ and cooks have passed on from generation to generation.

Tickets were sold out days before the inauguration. Photo taken by the author.

The blog Viajes y Turismo al día [es] mentions some of this year's novelties:

La Feria Gastronómica Internacional Mistura se caracteriza por su continua innovación, en esta IV edición empiezan a aparecer muchas novedades como por ejemplo el “anticucho de pota” y la “empanada de mamey”, también se destaca el elevado numero de turistas que han viajado exclusivamente para ser parte de este evento.

Mistura International Gastronomic Festival is characterized for its constant innovation. Many novelties are appearing in this IV edition, like the “giant squid anticucho” and “mamey pie”. The elevated number of tourists that have come all the way here to be part of the event is also notable.

Regarding visitors, Peru this week reports:

Pedro Cordova, Mistura operations manager, announced that an airline is developing a promotional campaign to bring visitors to Mistura from other parts of the country, like Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Cusco, Arequipa and Tarapoto.

This includes  “a complete package including air fare, transport and accommodation and free entry to the show on three dates,” he explained.

Cordova said that this year Mistura expects to receive 280 thousand to 300 thousand visitors and the massive purchase of 50,000 tickets at the presale stage reflects the enthusiasm of people to participate in the largest food fair in America.

Anticuchos. Image by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, Jen SFO-BCN on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Some weeks before the Mistura inauguration, filmmaker Patricia Pérez received an important award for her documentary “Mistura, the power of food”. The blog Report Peru shared the news [es]:

El premiado documental “Mistura, The Power of Food”, de la realizadora Patricia Pérez, recibió nuevos galardones en dos festivales internacionales realizados en Colorado y San Francisco, en Estados Unidos: [..] Film Festival of Colorado, en la categoría Best Short Documentary (Mejor Cortometraje), así como en el San Francisco United Film Festival, en la categoría Audience Award for Best Short Film (Premio del Público al Mejor Documental).

Filmmaker Patricia Pérez's awarded documentary “Mistura, The Power of Food”, obtained new prizes in two international festivals in Colorado and San Francisco, United States: […] Colorado Film Festival, in the Best Short Documentary category, as well as San Francisco United Film Festival, in the category Audience Award for Best Short Film.

The blogger from Perú… a wonderful country!!! [es] elaborates on the meaning of Mistura:

La riqueza de nuestra gastronomía se sustenta en la historia y en la confluencia de particulares estilos culinarios e insumos de las diferentes regiones del Perú. A esto se suma en los últimos 5 siglos el aporte de los sabores europeos, árabes, africanos, chinos, y japoneses. Los peruanos hemos decidido contarle al mundo lo orgullosos que nos sentimos de nuestra cocina. Pero, sobre todo, queremos compartir los valores que marcan nuestro camino: tolerancia, respeto, compromiso con el medio ambiente y responsabilidad social. Buscamos que la cocina no sea un fin, sino un medio y se convierta en un instrumento de desarrollo inclusivo, identidad cultural, desarrollo e integración social.

The richness of our gastronomy is based in the history and in the convergence of particular culinary styles and ingredients from different regions of Peru. Additionally, there are the five century-long contribution from European, Arab, Chinese and Japanese flavors. We Peruvians have decided to tell the world how proud we feel about our cuisine. But above all, we want to share the values marking our path: tolerance, respect, commitment with the environment and social responsability. We want the cuisine to be not an aim but a means and make it a tool for inclusive development, cultural identity and social integration.

But not everything about Mistura is positive. Global Voices contributor Juan Arellano posted an interesting compendium about the festival on his personal blog, in a post titled “Mistura, eat delicioulsy but watch out for your pocket” [es]:

A pesar de su éxito, o quizás por exceso de éxito, el evento ha tenido críticas por diversos motivos, desde el costo de las entradas, el espacio donde se realiza, los problemas colaterales que ocasiona por la gran afluencia de gente y otros.

In spite of its success, or maybe because of it, the event has received criticism due to a number of things, from the cost of tickets, the venue where it is carried out, collateral problems brought about because of the huge turn out and other [inconveniences].

Mistura is here, and most likely it is here for good.

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