This year’s Mistura is dedicated to the Potato, el papa. The entrance to the festival’s Gran Mercado has a display labeling roughly 500 types of Peruvian potatoes. They are red, blue, white, yellow, black, purple, and even multicolored. If you walk further into the market you will find cooperatives of vendors, most of them in traditional garb from the region they live, and baskets and bags of the potatoes from their respective regions. The potatoes being sold from Puno are completely different from the potatoes being sold from Huancayo. The shapes are different, the colors are different, the sizes are different, and the flavors are different.
A Few Potato Highlights Found at Mistura:
Los Carritos de Papas: In Rimac, an impoverished area near the center of Lima, a fleet of roving potato shaped carts that serve portions of potatoes with Queso fresco, choclo, charqui, and egg have been a hit since they began appearing in 2009. This year they’ve come to Mistura.
Papa Rellena: Only one stand that I have found is serving the famous Peruvian snack of Papa Rellena: Doña Julia Papa Rellena. Click here for a recipe.
Causa: The layered dish of Papas Amarillas is one of the most common on the coats and it’s being served everywhere at Mistura. I had a free sample filled with anchovetas (fresh anchovies), but have seen causa being served with octopus, tuna, and a dozen other ingredients.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.