A Cultural and Culinary Exploration in Peru, including Lima and the Mistura food festival!

Like the Spanish word "mistura", which means mixture, this custom small group tour (maximum 12 participants) mixes cultures, cuisines, and geography.

Great for small private groups, Mistura is usually the second week in September - contact us to confirm dates.

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Previous participants on our Mistura tours had fabulous trips! A whole day was spent enjoying the well organized Mistura food festival and still not all was seen. All in the group had fun. We of course took full advantage of all the great food and drink, in addition to shopping among the amazing variety of national food products. Besides all the entertainment to be seen, we were impressed with the organization and management of the event. Even with no Spanish language skills, the expansive festival grounds were easy to navigate and buying products was easy. We appreciated that the grounds and facilities were kept so clean and all the polite people willing to help with directions or interpretations.

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This small group tour will still feature some of the best Lima offers. Escorted by a professional ‘foodie” we will have a full day at the world's largest food festival, called Mistura. You will learn for yourself why Lima is often considered the gastronomical capital of South America. For a nice video overview of Mistura and the foods of Peru, here is a link to a video on VIMEO, called Peruvian Cuisine - a Catalyst for Change.

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Also available in conjunction with the Peru Mistura Tour are trip extensions to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, to the Amazon, and to Paracas including the Nazca Lines. See below for a special post-trip ANDEAN INCA EXPLORATION of 7 Days & 6 Nights. (Our Peru tours may be taken separately or in conjunction with our other trips in Peru.)

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These unique tours were designed by anthropologist Charlie Strader, President of Explorations. His love and appreciation of Peru’s cultures and food diversity started with travels there in the 1980’s.

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Having traveled throughout Peru, he wanted to offer this special cultural tour with an appreciation and study of Peruvian foods that included the Mistura gastronomy fair in Lima.

The group size is limited to 12 participants. Expert guides will inform of the past and present cultures of Peru, their environment, history, art, and foods. You will experience why National Geographic named Peru the "next Foodie Frontier" in their
Best of the World for 2012. You will also receive a video of the acclaimed and moving documentary, Cooking Up Dreams.

Highlights and features of the tour include:
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* Mistura annual gastronomy festival and second largest food festival in the world guided by professional food guide
* Lima, the City of Kings
* Touring local market with professional food guide and cooking class with a Lima chef
* A gastronomic focus - from farm to fork - with visits to local markets, cooking demonstrations, and special meals
* Professional, resident guides throughout
* Small group size (maximum 10 participants) for a more in-depth and relaxed travel experience


potatoe plates

PERU MISTURA: 5 Days & 4 Nights, September

DAY 1, Saturday

Plaza Mayor Lima
Reception in Lima from international flights and transfer to the colonial-style Hotel Antigua, located in the upscale district of Miraflores, where we stay for four nights accommodations. ( Miraflores is known for its shopping areas (such as the Indian Market and Kennedy Park), hotels, restaurants, flower-filled parks, and beaches.

DAY 2, Sunday

In the morning, we have a group meeting and enjoy breakfast at the hotel which has wonderful fresh breads from a nearby bakery.

After breakfast, we depart to learn of Peru’s rich colonial heritage. Taking advantage of the lesser traffic on a Sunday, we travel downtown to explore Central Lima. We first head to the impressive Main Square, called the Plaza Mayor or Plaza De Armas, which is more beautiful than ever with the recent renovations. The large plaza is surrounded by such important buildings as the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s house, the Cathedral, and City Hall.

We can then witness services at the San Francisco Convent, arguably the greatest architectural complex of its kind in Latin America. We will explore its amazing network of underground galleries and catacombs that were a cemetery in colonial times. Then we walk through the most popular pedestrian boulevard in Lima, the Jiron de la Union, to the San Martin Square, which was inaugurated in 1921 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Peru. On the plaza San Martin is the historic (oldest in Lima) hotel, the Gran Bolivar, which is worth a look around.

For a pico sour demonstration and rest, we stop downtown at the popular and charming historic El Cordano Bar, founded by Italians and famous for its sandwiches, such as “Butifara”. We can then stroll the pedestrian boulevard of Paseo de los Escribanos, one of the most beautiful stretches of buildings in the area. Known as “The Writers’ Way”, because in the past, when much of the population was illiterate, locals came here to have their messages to loved ones and friends transcribed. With its signature yellow buildings, it’s a favorite among residents and visitors and has many eateries. We should also be able to snack on some of the commonly sold quail eggs from one of the street vendors.

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For lunch we can go to La Dama Juana. While it has a large buffet of delicious Peruvian Cuisine, it is best know for its entwining shows. The show features dancers performing regional dances which highlights the many cultures of Peru.

After lunch, we will go for a stroll through the artsy and bohemian Barranco neighborhood, full of grand mansions and historic buildings. We will also see and learn the story of the famous Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs, on the walking tour.

After a rest at the hotel, for those who would like we can arrange reservations and transportation to the upscale
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant, located in Miraflores overlooking the Pre-Inca archaeological Pucllana ruins. (Costs are not included.) Currently the Pucllana Archeological Zone spreads over 15 hectares and is divided into two well-defined sections. One is of pyramidal structure, 23 meters high. The charming restaurant is was a large old house. The high ceilings and low lights give it a special touch. They also have a dining area and bar on a lovely terrace. The view of the ruins is just breathtaking and their desserts are extraordinary.

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(Note: Unless noted otherwise, dinners are not included to allow you the freedom of choice regarding what to eat and where. The local guide will assist with any desired dinner reservations, or you can choose to eat at the hotel, or nearby restaurants, such as in Kennedy Park along the Calle de Pizza, or seaside at the nearby Larcomar Mall. Famous Lima restaurants include: La Rosa Nautica, Punta Sal, Astrid y Gaston, Panchita, Rafael, Costanera 700, Malabor, Mangos, AmaZ and Caplina among others which can provide unforgettable dining experiences.)

DAY 3, Monday

lima market fruit
Today we learn about the foods and pre-Columbian cultures of Peru along with a special market tour and private cooking class with professional chef.

The early morning is free to enjoy a nice breakfast at the hotel, relax, explore Miraflores, or shop in the nearby "Indian Market". A few blocks from the hotel and one block from the roundabout in Kennedy Park many artisan shops sell nearly everything that Peruvian craftsmanship has to offer. It is a 10 block walk or about $3 to taxi. You can buy souvenirs, artisan handicrafts, jewelry, silverware, alpaca clothing, T-Shirts, pottery, paintings, wooden pieces, and much more from all over Peru. It is a place you can shop 'til you drop and most shops stay open until about 9pm!

Late morning, we meet "professional foodie", Arturo Rojas. An experienced food guide, it is hard to stump him with questions. Here is a nice article in which Arturo is mentioned: Final Peru Dispatch: My Lima food orgy. | C-Monster

We then have a tour to the Mercado Surquillo in Miraflores or the Magdalena local market. The market provides a great place for an introduction to the great diversity of foods in Peru. The local market contains a wide variety of well-stocked breads, fruits, cheeses, fish, meats, potatoes, dried beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, flowers and many of the natural products from all over the country of Peru, including many of the pre-Columbian food items of Peru. Our foodie guide, Arturo will explain the unknowns - how they taste, and are prepared. Of course, you may want to sample for yourself. It is normal to see women from the countryside wearing the colorful dress of their regions selling local products. The market includes an incredible range of produce, meats, fish, and seafood. The restaurant stalls are a great place to view some of the many types of common dishes including many types of causa and fresh ceviche. This combination of marinated fresh seafood is one of Peru’s most famous dishes.

After the market tour, for lunch we have a special private cooking class at Urban Kitchen! It is somewhat of a new concept in Lima, started by Ignacio Barrios. Barrios, age 31, recently returned to his native Lima after four and half years spent in Europe studying at Le Cordon Bleu in London. He also worked in fine dining restaurants, at London’s Wild Honey and Astrid y Gastón in Madrid. Once he returned to his native Lima, he had ”three or four ideas” in his head about the gastronomy-related business he wanted to create. After a year of developing the project and working with his original career in marketing, Urban Kitchen opened its doors in January of 2014. Click here for their Facebook Page.

In the later afternoon, we visit one of Lima’s outstanding museums, the Larco Herrera Archeological Museum to learn of the ancient cultures of Peru and have lunch (independently, so you have control over your museum viewing time). The museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th century pre-Colombian pyramid. Its galleries provide a thorough overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Colombian history. The museum has the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian art, including Moche, Nazca, Chimú, Inca artifacts, the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru, and its famous erotic art ceramics.
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The museum also provides a beautiful setting for a fine meal of traditional and Novo Peruvian cuisine in its Cafe del Museo. The gourmet restaurant is rated one of the best in Lima, directed by one of Peru's most prestigious chef, Gastón Acurio. With indoor and outdoor patio seating, it has a wonderful atmosphere, located in the terrace and garden alongside the Pre-Columbian pyramid and vice royal mansion that hosts the Larco Collection. Its interior, designed by architect Jordi Puig is planned to make you feel that you are having a meal in the terrace of an old chateau.(Dinner is independent, so you have control over your museum viewing time, or you can wait to have dinner after returning to the hotel in the late afternoon/evening.)

DAY 4 Tuesday, (B/L)
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Today along with a professional guide and foodie Arturo Rojas, we enjoy one of the world’s biggest gastronomical events and the largest food fair in the world - Mistura! In 2011, Mistura broke the Turin Italian Cuisine Expo then attendance world-record of 275,000 people with a paid attendance of 405,000. For 2015, the 10-day festival has returned to a former location at the Parque de la Exposición (Exposition Park) in historic downtown Lima. Complete with a Byzantine Pavilion, the sprawling park has a great location next to the palatial Museum of Art of Lima. Over 25,000 international tourists, mostly from the United States, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, are expected to attend.

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We have a full day at the festival on a Tuesday to avoid the large weekend crowds. Since we will still be joining a large number of food aficionados, we will arrive in the morning when the gates open and before the lines start at the popular booths. In addition to transportation and entrance fee, we will supply $25 worth of food tickets to get you started. Arturo can help teach us about the incredible diversity of foods, products, ingredients, and cuisines.
After touring with our guide, we will have free time and coordinate / assist with transfers back to the hotel or assist with departures at time of your choosing. To assist in logistics for independent explorations of the sprawling festival, we will provide cell phones for use and regularly meet at a specified location.

Food, and the people that make it, are respected at all levels of society in Peru. During the Mistura food festival, Peruvians from various social, age, and gender distinctions gather around pots and cookers to celebrate Peru’s traditional cuisine, marvel at the creativity, reaffirm their identity and celebrate cultural diversity. Click here for short video about Mistura and the power of food.

Food has long been associated with Fiesta. The Mistura food fair brings together the various actors in the chain cuisine of Peru: farmers, producers of pisco, cooks, bakers, food sellers, confectionery, huariques, restaurants, cooking schools, and commercial companies. In Mistura a special tribute is paid to mother earth, or Pachacama. The richness of Peruvian cuisine is based on history and at the confluence of particular styles culinary and inputs from different regions of Peru - hence the name mistura, which means mixture. To this regional diversity is added 5 centuries of contributions of European tastes, Arabs, Africans, Chinese, and Japanese.

The organizers, Apega, is again planning to for an incredible number of foodies. For example, at the 2011 Mistura: More than half a million loaves of bread were sold.
The area of sweets and dessert carts sold more than 230 thousand portions. More than 40 thousand portions were sold in the area of regional cuisine. More than 20 thousand portions sold in the classic cuisine section. In the booths of Javi, Makatong and La Cilindada Pedrito more than 4,000 portions were sold daily. The rustic kitchen section sold more than 95,000 portions. More than 8 tons of fruit were sold - most requested: Orange, Chirimoya, Avocados, Pitajaya and Poro Poro. (We can also attest there was tons of fun!)

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The Mistura food festival attracts internationally acclaimed chefs such as Ferran Adria of El Bulli, Alex Atala of D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Dan Barber of Blue Hill in New York, Massimo Bottura of Italy’s La Osteria Francescana, Rene Redezipi of Copenhagen’s Noma, Quique Dacosta of Spain’s Quique Dacosta Restaurant. Many famous Peruvian chefs will be there, such as Gaston Acurio, Rafael Piqueras, Rafael Osterling, Virgilio Martinez, Javier Wong, Giacomo Bocchio, Mitsuharu Tsumura, Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, Victor Gutierrez, Luis Arevalo, Astrid Gutsche, Jaime Pesaque, Toshiro Konishi, Cyrus Watanabe, and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (many will have food booths for a taste of their internationally renowned creations).

Scattered throughout the grounds are food stands from several hundred restaurants, hailing from all over Peru and serving specialty dishes. The restaurants are a combination of well-known and higher end places in Lima to simpler regional huariques. Special areas are dedicated to bread, pisco, chocolate, coffee, and Nikkei food. There is also a marketplace with specialty products, demonstration and lecture stages, live entertainment and parades. It’s like a Peruvian food Disney World! While there are plenty of free samples, food and drinks from the stands is bought with tickets, which can be purchased in separate stands throughout the park.
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In the Great Market area, about 300 suppliers were present from such areas as Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Apurimac, Huancayo, Oxapampa, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Piura, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Ancash, Moquegua, Arequipa and Tacna. Many sold their entire production in the early days. Tarwi, cañihua, quinoa, salt maras, custard, coffee, Hot Chili, soft leaf stalk, cocona jams, native potatoes, etc., were just some of the products for sample and sell.
In addition to transportation and entrance fee for the Mistura Festival, we will supply $25 worth of food tickets to get you started on your food and drink discoveries.

DAY 5, Wednesday (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, you may choose among the options of: 
1. Transferring to the airport for international flights out.
2. Extend your stay in Lima to experience another day at Mistura, or other explorations in Lima.
3. Continue traveling in Peru for a custom Andean Inca Exploration to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, or trip extensions for the Nazca Lines & Paracas, Like Titikaka, or other.

All airport / hotel transfers and group transportation as listed 
All lodging, including hotel taxes, as listed or similar
Tours as described including entrance fees, and tickets for Mistura Festival
Meals as listed (B=Breakfast / L=Lunch / D=Dinner)

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You may click here for photos from our previous Peru Mistura tours.
Here are some nice videos of the Mistura Food Festival (on the share link, you can go to URL and see full size)

1st Day

Mistura 2010
2nd Day

Mistura 2010

3th day

Mistura 2010

4th day

Mistura 2010

5th day

Mistura 2010

Last Day

Mistura 2010

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