Continuing the promotion of Peruvian cuisine and agro-export products in the European market, Peru made a successful appearance at the 16th 'Madrid Fusion' International Gastronomy Summit, which took place from January 22 to 24 in Madrid.
The Commission for the Promotion of Peruvian Exports and Tourism (PROMPERÚ) reported that the Peruvian representatives presented a varied program filled with flavor, a result fusing traditional recipes with cutting-edge gastronomic trends.
"The virtues of Peruvian cacao and the versatility of pisco caught the interest of professionals. The quality and fineness of our cacao is winning people over. Meanwhile, the first pisco-based cocktail making competition exceeded our expectations, showing the adaptability of our distilled grape spirit in the hands of top mixologists," the PROMPERÚ Communications and Country Image director, Isabella Falco, pointed out.
'First Pisco Cocktail competition'
The first edition of this competition received over a hundred applications and included an exceptional panel of experts including Javier Caballero, Liquid Experience director; Luis Inchaurrgaga, CEO of Fantastic Bar & House of Mixology; François Monti, writer and trainer; Juan Carlos Muñoz, President of the Madrid Barman Association and Vice President of the Spanish Barman Association, and George Restrepo, publicist, barman, photographer, cocktail trainer and creator of 'Coctelería Creativa'. In addition, the event asked the opinion of the special jury made up of recognized wine-making and viticulture industry specialists, such as María Isabel Mijares, Carlos Falcó and Sara Cucala.
They all highlighted the great difference between the entries presented, with each of the finalists giving their own unique interpretation. This allowed for an appreciation of the many facets of pisco, both for long and short drinks.
Santiago Vallejo Zapata, a Colombian mixologist based in Barcelona, won the competition with his 'Inti Sour' cocktail, a homage to the Inca culture and the Sun with a Quebranta Pisco base. "I wanted to make a refreshing cocktail, with flavors that I like and that come from Peru, but that are also adapted to get an original cocktail with flavor and personality, in which all the elements are in harmony, giving pisco center-stage," Vallejo told the panel.
Between January and November 2017, Peru exported over US$ 1.7 million worth of pisco to the European market, showing an increase of 8.7% compared to the same period in 2016.
'Cacao from Peru'
Karissa Becerra, chocolate specialist and author of Peruvian cookbook ‘Riquisisísimo', carried out workshops with a view to raising awareness of the qualities of Peruvian cacao in the European market. During the sessions, participants could find out about the production processes (fermentation and drying), as well as taste everything from the fruit to the nibs and chocolates with different percentages of cacao. "Participants have assessed the quality and fineness of our product, they were surprised to find out that six out of the ten genetic cacao varieties in the world originate in Peru," the specialist commented.
It should be noted that in the period from January to November 2017, Peru exported more than 43,000 tons of cacao (in the form of beans, pods, paste butter, fat, oil and powder, not including chocolate) worth over US$ 118 million.
Finally, there were Peruvian cookery classes that were led by Peruvian chefs who own restaurants in Spain: Mario Céspedes (Ronda 14), Roberto Sihuay (Ceviche 103), Luis Arévalo (Kena), Jhosef Arias (Piscomar and Callao 24), Juan Carlos Perret (Kero) and Nicky Ramos (The Market Perú).
In this way, Peru continues to take a chance on young talent who contribute to the international spread of Peruvian cuisine, consolidating a reputation earned six years in a row as winner of Best Culinary Destination in the World at the World Travel Awards.