The country wants to help feed the region
The Peruvian Food Festival will take place September 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Although it proudly displays the culinary gems of the South American country, there is a bigger plan at play.
This plan aims to contribute to regional food security, said Ambassador David Màlaga during a tasting for the media and the festival’s partners, Hyatt and Copa Airlines. The tasting took place on September 5 at the Hyatt, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
Guests were treated to some of Peru’s best-known dishes, including varieties of its ceviche and its most popular dish, lomo saltado (stir-fried beef). Fish, Peruvian roast corn, Peruvian chilli limo, ginger, shrimp, chicken and crab were some of the ingredients for the four cold starters: ceviche clàsico perunao; Nikkei ceviche; hot ceviche from Camarones with Ajì Amarillo; salmon tiradito, leche de tigre al ajì Amarillo and causa limena, trio of causas.
The four main courses saw a mixture of sautéed beef, vegetables, corn, seafood, mushrooms and followed by a crispy crunchy meringue with lucuma mousse and chocolate sauce for dessert.
Much like Trinidad and Tobago, Peruvian cuisine is a multicultural mix.
The embassy brought Peruvian chef Maria Rosa Vasquez Chavez for the festival.
Chavez was trained at the Peruvian branch of Le Cordon Bleu and holds a Masters in Restaurant Management and Innovation from the Basque Culinary Center, Basque Country, Spain.
Chavez’s menu showed the blend of Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, African and indigenous influence in the country’s cuisine.
Guests were treated to a drink of Pisco – the Peruvian brandy made from its sometimes colorless or yellowish to amber-colored grape – before meals.
Although this is the Embassy’s first food festival at TT, she wants to make sure it won’t be the last.
Malaga said: “Peruvian cuisine is more than an answer to feeding our people. It is a social experience. It’s the sum of our entire history, 10,000 years of history, cooking and coming together to enjoy our meals.
The country has become a “success story” with its agricultural exports and believes it can help alleviate the growing problem of global food security.
The country profile on the World Food Program (WFP) website states: “Over the past decade, hunger and poverty have decreased significantly in Peru, thanks to steady economic growth, investments in infrastructure, education and health, and an expansion of social programs. ”
He added that food traditions and gastronomy play a crucial role in Peru’s national identity.
The country’s main food export is grapes, but it is also increasing its exports of paprika, avocado, blueberries and coffee.
Peru hopes to become one of the top ten food exporters in the world, Màlaga said.
This is what the country wants to offer TT in the face of growing food security issues.
The Russian-Ukrainian war and growing global supply problems demonstrated the need for more trade between the countries, he said.
He also said international airline Copa had two weekly flights to Peru and that “could be of paramount importance”.
“Copa can provide the best and most reliable service to TT for our fresh fruit and vegetable products.
“You can have fresh fruit from Peru in seven hours.”
Although there have been discussions between countries, there will be further discussions on how countries can collaborate.
“The Peruvian Embassy is trying to strengthen bilateral dialogue with the government and we are trying to promote mutual knowledge of our cultures as the best basis for friendship between our peoples,” Màlaga said.
Màlaga said he attended the Agricultural Investment Forum and Expo which recently ended August 19-21 and spoke with the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries , Kazim Hosein, about possible collaborations.
“We offer a serious and regular supply and we offer reasonable prices,” he added.
Peru also participated in the recently concluded Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) from August 25-27.
When asked if there was a need to create a food bloc, similar to the economic blocs formed in the past, Màlaga said that was the main instruction he received during his transfer here.
“We need to strengthen the political dialogue and we have done a lot.”
He said that during Peru’s Independence Day celebrations, discussions were held about possible plans between TT and the country.
“We are making progress little by little. We signed a cultural cooperation agreement on July 28 and we have two more agreements to come,” he said.
An official invitation has been sent to government officials to attend the festival on September 7.
The event is open to Hyatt guests as well as the public.