So that you remember it for all the right reasons and none of the wrong ones, we bring you the definitive guide to Mistura 2014.
What, who, and why
Mistura is a food festival that goes on every year around September. It started out pretty small – around 30,000 turned up when it started out (called Perú, Mucho Gusto) in 2008 and now, in its seventh edition, it’s huge: 350,000 came last year and around half a million are expected this year. It’s the biggest and most important gastronomy fair in all of Latin America, with chefs from around the world giving talks and live demonstrations, more than 200 restaurants from all over Peru serving up wonders, as well as pretty much every ingredient you can find in Peru (and there are a LOT of them) for sale in the Gran Mercado, so you can have a go at reproducing some of the dishes you tried at the fair. There are also live concerts, parades, and celebrities to spot. Not sure if it’s your thing? Look out for our ‘Should you go to Mistura’ checklist, coming out on Monday, Sept. 1.
The more than 200 participating restaurants, bars, and food carts are divided into 12 ‘worlds’ and three free areas. There are also very big names both on the Peruvian food scene and internationally. You can have celebrity chefs Flavio Solórzano, Gaston Acurio, and Virgilio Martinez personally cook for you in Gran Mercado’s kitchen – new this year – and listen the founder of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini talk about the importance of commitment to the local community and the environment.
Where and when
Mistura is taking place for the second year running at Magdalena’s Costa Verde September 5-14. The fair is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Worlds of Mistura, the Gran Mercado, and free areas are available all day. The Qaray talks are taking place the three first days of the festival, and forums, competitions, live cooking demonstrations, and lectures are taking place throughout the festival. For times of specific events, see our program.
Entrance costs S/. 15 Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (S/. 8 for children) and S/. 25 Thursday thru Sunday (S/. 10 for children). You can buy your ticket on Teleticket= or at gate #1 at Mistura.
Only full portions are available this year and cost S/. 13 each. You’ll have to change your money into ‘Mistura money’ to buy everything in the worlds and from the food carts, but the Gran Mercado and Bazaar only accept cash.
The Qaray talks have an additional cost of US$55 for one day or US$266 for a three-day pass.
Getting there and around
Mistura is big enough to get lost around! (Map: Eduardo Rivera/Peru this Week)
There are several ways to get to the fairgrounds:
The Metropolitan has an established route that takes you direct to Mistura for S/. 1 every day (including weekends) from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Metropolitan special Mistura route (Photo: Metropolitan/Facebok)
There’s be a parking lot with 1,200 spaces costing S/. 4 an hour (or fraction) for up to five hours and then a flat rate of S/. 20.
There were concerns about access, as the Municipality of Lima, in its wisdom, decided to close the highway leading to the Mistura grounds during the fair, but organizers promise that there will be access to the event.
Highlights and New this year
There are several newcomers to the seventh edition.
The Qaray talks will see big names and experts in their field talking about the big questions for the first three days of Mistura.
2. Biodiversity and Nutrition: This year’s theme is about making the most of Peru’s huge variety of ingredients. Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow Food movement, will be offering a series of lectures. There’ll also be the Vitrina de la Biodiversidad, Avenida de productos emblemáticos, and Galería de los Andenes provided by the Ministry of Environment to show us more about Peru’s
3. Gran Mercado’s kitchen: The Gran mercado is always a big deal, as it’s where you can find ingredients from far-flung parts of the country that aren’t normally sold in Lima: exotic fruits, vegetables, sauces, and marinades. This is the first year the Gran Mercado will have a kitchen with celebrity chefs cooking live with the products sold in the market. Big names in the culinary world will be cooking for you. It’s like having Mark Townsend cut your hair or Oprah giving you relationship advice.
4. Mistura fuera de Mistura: Several restaurants are offering a taste of Mistura for those who don’t want to or can’t go to the festival, but still want to try Mistura quality food. For the full list of participating restaurants, visit our guide.
5. Kids’ world: This year there’s going to be a special interactive educational area for children, where they’ll learn while playing.
Some tips and precautions
– Keep your eye on your valuables and your hand on your wallet
With around half a million people milling around in one area, there’s sure to be someone after your money and your expensive camera. Last year there were several thefts and, while the onsite security and tourist police will take down the details and look sympathetic, you know deep down that you’re never going to see your new Canon 500 again. There’s nothing quite like being pickpocketed to kill your fun at a festival.
– Give yourself the day
There’s a lot to see, eat, and do. To make sure that you make the most of your S/.15-25 ticket, get there nice and early. If you have the opportunity to go during the week, it will be a much calmer and less crowded experience. Peru this Week is, of course, not suggesting that you pull a sickie so that you can spend Wednesday at Mistura.
– Make the most of the free stuff!
Mistura can be an expensive experience, but once you’re in, there are a lot of fun, free activities. The concerts and all the talks (apart from Qaray), competitions, and live demonstrations are free to watch.
– Don’t fill up too fast
If you’re going to Mistura to check out the food (which, let’s face it, is the most important thing to do at Mistura), be aware that they’re not serving half portions this year. The best plan is to go in a group, all buy different things (go and stand in different lines at the same time to save time) so that you can have a taste of more things without ruining it by filling up too fast… or emptying your wallet too fast.