Last Saturday was our long-awaited visit to Mistura, the Peruvian Food Festival. This is a relatively new festival (one cabbie told me it’s 3 years old), but it’s already made a major splash in Peru and Internationally. It’s best described as a State Fair minus everything but the food.
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting it to be very organized (we are in a third world country, after all). Shockingly, it was one of the best-run festivals I’ve ever attended. Each featured restaurant (from all over Peru) offered 2 dishes, each of which was available in a full or half portion at the same set price. It ended up being about $2.50 for a half portion, $5 for a full. Additionally, they didn’t take cash. You were required to put cash on a Mistura debit card that was then swiped at each booth and could be reloaded on site. Honestly, it was quite brilliant and very speedy too.
Where we goofed was choosing to go on the last Saturday of the 10 day event. It was completely sold out and the crowds showed it. Nick was melting down within 5 minutes of getting in the door, so I plied him with alcohol in the hopes of buying myself an hour to enjoy some food (note: my evil plan worked).
The lines for the really popular Peruvian dishes were close to an hour long, so we just picked any line that looked short because all the food seemed yummy to us. What we tried (from top to bottom): Anticucho (cow heart on a stick), Goat Ravioli with corn cake and salad and Jungle Ceviche. And of course we had a few Pisco and Maracuya Sours. Yes, the food was as good as it looks. Too bad we couldn’t get more of it.
So yeah, we goofed by going on a weekend. We’ll do it right next year and pick a time when we’ll avoid the crowds and get more than a taste of the food!
Here are a few more fun shots that capture the ambiance. Above: The random marching band that busted through the thick crowds. Below: The mobile beer pourer. Innovative, huh?