A few days ago I showed you some of the faces of the Mistura 2013 festival in Lima – today I think you should see some of the food! I was a big fan of Peruvian food before the trip but I have now progressed to devotee.
Before I get going, I want to say a big thank you to Jeffrey Merrihue and Justin Mellot of Chowzter. These guys helped organise the whole weekend and introduced me to a whole bunch of brilliant people and delicious food. Muito obrigrado amigos!
This will be a bit of a photo-fest and fair warning – some of these shots may make you feel hungry, others not so much (especially if you’re fond of guinea pigs…). Those of you who are squeamish may want to pass on the final video in the post…
OK, let’s get started!
[This is a lightbox gallery - just click the image to see them full-screen - but don't forget to watch the 2 videos at the end!]
The view from the plane as we flew over the mountains. Moments later we descended through the cloud towards Lima.
I couldn’t really work Lima as a city out. It wasn’t as beautiful as Rio (but then where is?) and it had terrible traffic, but I suspect if you had the money to live in one of the nicer neighbourhoods, it could be a very nice place to live.
The night before we all hit Mistura, there was the little matter of the deciding the Chowzter Best Fast Feasts in Latin America! The event was held here at Lar Mar Cebicheria. More of this event (and the results) coming soon!
Feeling a little worse for wear after the Chowzter event the night before, on Saturday morning we made our way to Mistura . I very proudly wore my Eat Rio Press Pass!
This was no elitist event – this was food of the people, by the people and for the people! The event was staged over a huge area and catered for tens of thousands of hungry visitors
Maybe not the ultimate hangover cure, but not a bad substiute – these are anticuchos: grilled skewers of beef heart. Might not sound great, but tasted amazing. (See video at bottom of post)
This is how the Huanca people of Huancayo region of central Peru cook their pork – roasted with a blend of aromatic herbs.
Moving on from the meaty treats, we found a long line of people. What were they queueing for? Ceviche!
Prepared by Mr Freddy and his team, this was not just any ceviche – this was Sonia’s ceviche, held to be some of the best in Lima.
The end result. Ceviche is one of the foods in the world that makes me happiest: fresh, acidic, sweet, spicy. A dish and a tradition to be proud of.
Regular readers will know how much I enjoyed this – an awesome selection of beautiful Aji (chili, pimenta). I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to take seeds across borders, but let’s just say that some peppers resembling these may have found their way into my baggage and may be growing in my window-boxes soon…
One of my favourite sections of the whole festival was El Gran Mercado, a place where farmers and producers from all over Peru came together. The sheer variety of potatoes was just amazing.
I’m not sure if the colours have come out perfectly here. These things were shockingly blue. They also tasted delicious – creamy and earthy.
It wasn’t just the potatoes that were colourful.
Sal Rosada – a beautiful block of rose coloured salt that you can cook on? Who could see something like that and resist buying it? (not me…)
This purple corn is made into a drink called chicha morada
Brazilians will know this as Mandioca. Or Macaxeira. Or Aipim. In Peru (and many other South and Central American countries) they call it Yuca. I had no idea that a single plant gave off so many big side roots like this.
Gorgeous cacau fruit that goes on to because gorgeous chocolate.
The next day, we visited a small food market, Mercado Surquillo. The sheer range and quality of produce was impressive.
Have you ever seen anything like this before? These were tiny yet perfectly ripe avocados. They were so small there was no stone.
Guinea pig owners look away. In Peru these are known as Cuy and judging by the lines for the Cuy stands, it is a very popular dish. I have to say I didn’t find it spectacular.
The Mercado Surquillo is a great place to go with a camera. And an appetite!
At the airport on the way home with some of my Chowzter buddies (I’m not in the shot!).
Rio airports take note – this was the standard of food served in Lima airport – some kick-ass ceviche (that innocuous looking slice of red chilli was ridiculously hot – I ate a tiny morsel and was left fighting back the tears for 20 minutes. Still, it was worth it…).
So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of my Mistura experience. For those of you getting fed up of all this Peru talk, I’ll only be mentioning it once more and that will be to tell you how Rio faired in the Latin American Fast Feast Awards. Then it will be back to business as usual.
I’ll leave you with a couple of videos I took. The first is of the Anticuchos (grilled beef heart skewers remember) and the second… what can I say about the second? These ‘creatures’ are found on a certain type of fruit tree in the Amazon and apparently they’re delicious…