After weeks of hearing “don’t eat ceviche in Cusco, wait until Lima,” John finally got to have his first taste of delicious Peruvian ceviche. It came from the winner of Best Ceviche at Mistura 2011 – and from what I heard, it was good.
We first heard about the food festival Mistura from Erick, the chef who taught our cooking class in Cusco. He told us that people fly in from all over the world to attend this festival, and that he and his new wife were going to Lima for their honeymoon to enjoy Mistura for a week. Any food event that draws a chef for his honeymoon sounded worth trying. So we went on Saturday, the second to last day of the festival.
The event is mostly like a giant “Taste Of” fest, with several booths that each serve generous portions of two different dishes. The festival also included a giant market, a Pisco and coffee lounge, a chocolate bazaar, and a giant kitchen where chefs were baking fresh bread all day long. Many of the “rustic restaurant” booths featured meat cooking over large open flames, or being smoked in enormous barrels. The lines for those booths looked to be 30-45 minutes long, so we stuck to the shorter lines at the more modern booths – we were hungry, after all.
In addition to the ceviche, we sampled yucca mashed with garlic and vegetables, traditional corn cake with salad, and the winner of Best Lomo Saltado at Mistura 2011. Everything was really quite tasty. I’m sure we could have sampled more interesting dishes if we could tell what they were – it’s hard to know what you’re getting when you don’t know all the fancy foodie vocab words in Spanish.
The lines were massive at this event, and the crowds were huge. Just as at any taste event, there was a confusing means of payment – you had to buy a card at one place, top it up at another, and the denominations were odd. After a bit we were just put off by the large shoving crowds and we decided to leave. But I’m glad we went. It was a unique way to sample some yummy local fare from some of the best restaurants in Peru, and gave us our first slice of life here in Lima.