September is Mistura season in Peru, and though I was not able to attend the famed food festival this year, I was excited to read daily news updates about the happenings. If you don’t know what Mistura is all about, check out the trailer for the documentary Mistura: The Power of Food which recently screened at the SF Latino Film Festival.
The filmmaker tells that some people have been so inspired by the film that they immediately plan a trip to Peru just to taste the food. One person that I know wants to go to Mistura next year is my dear foodie friend and photographer, Melissa, who recently attended the screening in SF. This is part of a recent conversation we had about the film and Peruvian food, which is something we talk about and enjoy eating very often.
Nico: Tell me about the film you just saw, Mistura
Melissa: It is a wonderful short film that documents an annual Peruvian food festival named Mistura, considered the largest food festival in South America. It is evident from the documentary just how important food is to Peruvians.
Nico: Winning a prize at Mistura, has been compared to winning an Oscar in Hollywood. Was there a lot of competition between the Chefs?
Melissa: One of the main things that struck me while watching the movie was just how excited the Mistura participants are to share with and teach others. It is true that they are there to compete against each other in a food competition as individuals, yet the more important thing to the participants is the success of Peruvian cuisine as a whole.
Nico: You travelled to Peru last year. What was your impression of the food culture?
Melissa: The most notable quality I have observed is their pride in Peru and its cuisine. I have yet to meet a Peruvian who doesn’t beam when he/she hears the words “Lomo Saltado” or “Picarones”, and with good reason.
Nico: A recent food article in the Wall Street Journal has labeled Peruvian cuisine as the next big thing, what do you think?
Melissa: I agree! After all, it is a perfect and delicious “mezcla” (mix) of the country’s cultures and histories, resulting in the ultimate fusion of ingredients, and it deserves its recognition in the world.
Nico: What do you want to eat or drink when you return to Peru?
Melissa: After the Pisco Cocktail class you gave, I want to taste a Chilcano cocktail, with ingredients truly from there.
Nico: Maybe we can have a Chilcano cocktail in Peru together.
Melissa: That would be delightful.