Perú, Mucho Gusto – Primera Feria Internacional de Lima

September 27th, 2008

Lima’s top chefs unite through the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy and Peru’s tourism and exports promotions agency PromPeru to bring the world the First International Fair of Lima, a gastronomic fair of epic proportions.

Peruvian food was all but unknown to the world a decade ago, but this has begun to change in recent years. In 2004 an article appeared in The Economist. “Peru can lay claim to one of the world’s dozen or so great cuisines”. Peruvians, apparently oblivious until now that they were regularly eating one of these great cuisines began to realise that they had yet another world wonder to market. Later, in 2006 at the Madrid Fusion Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy, widely regarded as the most important such meeting of industry experts in the world, PromPerú – the Government funded tourism and exportation promoter – turned up to show off Peruvian cuisine. It took top chefs’, gastronomy critics’ and journalists’ breath away, and Lima in particular was declared the “Gastronomic Capital of the Americas”.

Held in the Cuartel San Martín in Lima’s Miraflores district, the event began yesterday with the inauguration by President Alan Garcia and the tourism and trade minister Mercedes Araoz, accompanied by chef Gastón Acurio and others from Lima’s community of chefs.

All the greats were here, from the talented chefs of Lima’s more fancy restaurants such as James Berckemeyer, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and Adolfo Perret, to local restaurateurs of exceptional ability like Sonia Bahamonde and husband Fredy Guardia who are owners of the Sonia cevichería, and loveable Teresa Izquierdo, an expert in all that is comida criolla and queen of her restaurant El Rincón Que No Conoces. Also attending is everyone’s favourite sushi master Toshiro Kinishi,

Fredy Guardia squeezing lemons

Fredy Guardia squeezing lemons

dessert-making Sandra Plevisani, ceviche scientist Javier Wong, Blanca Chávez of Arequipan restaurant El Rocoto and countless others I haven’t yet been blessed with the knowledge of.

Best of all, Lima’s best restaurants, including many of those owned by the celebrities listed above, turned up with stands where their delicious delicacies are served at or below cost. Each dish, whether it be some amazonian juane or cecina con tacacho from El Aguajal, some rocoto relleno from El Rocoto, some noodles from Chifa Wa Lok, some seco del chavelo or ceviche de concha negras from Piuran restaurant La Paisana, choritos or ceviche from the back of Fredy’s famous boat or from Javier Wong’s talented hands – nothing I ordered cost more than 10 soles.

Gastón Acurio enjoys a Pisco Sour

Gastón Acurio enjoys a Pisco Sour

Santiago Quierolo offered turkey sandwiches and pisco sours while nearby El Chinito sold his famous chicharrón. La Gran Fruta, Lima’s fruit juice sensation was also there – as was the Tia Grima, a Miraflores street vender who sells what might be the best anticuchos in Lima, just maybe beating Tio Mario and El Bolivariano, though when everything tastes so good it’s hard to tell.

In a huge tented area, producers from across the country had stands set up. Fresh vegetables from Pachacamac, and different potatoes from Pasco, Huánuco, Apurímac, Cajamarca where brought down from the Andes by the growers. Also present were the Aymara chuño-makers.

The event finishes on Sunday 28th of September. It seems to have been such as huge success – and attended by internationals chefs such as Albert Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli, Sumito Estévez of, and Xabi Gutiérrez of the Arzak restaurant – that it’s sure to be a popular annual event.


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