Though they share many dishes, such as ceviche, and both lay claim to making the best pisco, Chileans and Peruvians typically take opposing approaches to their food.
Whereas Peru’s cuisine is normally complex and heavily spiced, like aji de gallina and causa a la limeña, many Chilean plates emphasise freshness, with strong and simple flavors – machas a la parmesana and caldillo de congrio.
But over the last few years, Chilean and Peruvian food festivals have been coming together to celebrate both the similarities and differences between the cuisines of the Andean neighbors. Last month the Espacio Food & Service 2012 in the Santiago invited Peruvian participants, and this September, Peru will return the favor in the Mistura Tacna 2012 festival.
Located just 22 miles (35 km) north of the Chilean border, Tacna is a gateway city between the two countries, and organizers hope the event – timed to coincide with Chile’s fiestas patrias holidays, which this year will run from September 14–19 – will draw 20,000 Chilean visitors.
But it’s not just Chilean tourists who will make the gastronomic pilgrimage north. The Chamber of Commerce of Iquique and of Arica – which is just 11 miles (18 km) south of Peru – have also been invited to participate in the event, along with Chilean food, wine and pisco experts and producers.
“We are going to demonstrate the best of Tacna, and also of other regions like Arequipa, of the Sierra, of the North and of the rainforest. The idea is to promote gastronomy, tourism and Peru,” said David Rendón Cohaíla, president of the regional chamber of tourism. “Also there will be talks headed by recognized chefs and specialists in wine and pisco and we’ll have the presence of Chilean exhibitions to bring international cuisine to the event.”
Mistura Tacna 2012 will run from September 14–16.