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Inspired By Mistura, Culture Xplores' Jim Kane Shares Five Festive Food Experiences In Peru

A specialist in actively engaged cultural travel, Jim Kane of Culture Xplorers ( was captivated on a trip to Lima last fall by the vibrant atmosphere of Mistura, Latin America's largest food festival.

Held each September along Lima's coast, this year's celebration Sept. 5-14 anticipates close to a half million visitors over the 10-day gastronomic extravaganza.

Kane, an expert at uncovering authentic dining and people experiences for his guests, shared this about his experience. "While superstar chefs like Gaston Acurio, Virgilio Martinez, Alex Atala and René Redzepi grab the headlines, what impressed me most was the festive, warm family atmosphere that pervades the fairgrounds. Thousands of Peruvians from all walks of life come to celebrate their country's impressive culinary larder, to listen to music, bond, laugh and connect around the table and over good food."

In honor of food's key role in life's many celebrations, Kane has come up with five festive Peruvian food experiences, including Mistura, which he hopes everyone may some day experience:

#5 Roasted Pork & Anticuchos at the Virgen del Carmen Celebration

For three days each July, Paucartambo becomes the staging ground for an energy-charged, heart-felt homage to the town's beloved Mamacha Carmen (the Virgen of Carmen). Integral to the festivities are some of the traditional foods served, including slow-roasted pork shared in homes and 'anticuchos de corazón' (marinated, grilled beef hearts served on a stick) eaten in the streets.

#4 Ceviche Dock-to-Dish Adventure

While it's a given that you should try one of Lima's excellent cevicherías, it's recommended to begin by taking a short ride along the coast on a fisherman's skiff where you'll see the city from the water and hear about the rich bounty of the cold Humboldt current which runs up Peru's coast. After retuning to land to marvel at the freshly caught seafood at the Chorillos market, Kane suggests that visitors make their way to one of Barranco's or Miraflores' renowned ceviche dens.

"But don't sit down to just yet; instead, ask the chef to demonstrate how ceviche is prepared. Then pair your ceviche lunch with a crisp Peruvian white wine to experience a whole new world of flavor with the context and tasty stories behind it," Kane recommends.

#3 Andean Lakeside Pachamanca

A pachamanca is a banquet dating to pre-Inca times that is prepared underground using hot stones.  This festive meal often accompanies weddings or other important celebrations and includes a panoply of regional foods meant to be shared amongst many. Kane's favorite spot for a pachamanca is along the shores of one of the magical lakes in the Sacred Valley, ideally after a kayak session and definitely in the company of good friends.

#2 Farmers Market Picnic in Reducto Park

After perusing the mouthwatering organic fare at Lima's longest-running weekly farmer's market, visitors can then spread blankets at Parque Reducto and enjoy freshly purchased foods. Here they mingle with Limeño families, couples and friends enjoying one of Lima's most relaxing green spaces. Children enjoy the vintage train and live music rendered by retired musicians on Saturday mornings.

#1 Mistura Melting Pot

This tribute concludes where it began, with the massive, magical Mistura Festival. Visitors are advised to go early in order to immerse themselves, along with thousands of Limeños and visitors, in a gustatory salute to Peru's gastronomic abundance. Appropriately enough, this year's theme will focus on biodiversity and nutrition.

For more information on Culture Xplorers' programs in Peru, see:

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