This post is also available in: Spanish
The Casco Antiguo has always been the epicenter of gastronomy in Panama City and this year it will become the background for ‘Menu Panama, Gastronomy and Musical Festival’ which will take place on Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2. Now in its fourth edition, it promises to be a food extravaganza from different parts of the world.
One of the organizers, Jorge Chanis Barahona, an industrial engineer by trade and gastronome by vocation, said that the idea of this event is for people to sample good food and good wine from different parts of the continent. Celebrated chefs from Colombia, Chile and Peru will serve traditional street dishes from their countries. Barahona said that “gastronomy embraces not only food, but also drinks, music and culture and Panama was recently designated by UNESCO as a Creative Gastronomy City”.
Barahona explained that the reason ‘Menu Panama’ changes locations every year is to attract people to different parts of the city which are probably unknown to them. “This year the festival slogan is: I eat culture, because the gastronomic art is the one practiced by more people in the country. The idea is to change the public’s perception of Casco Antiguo, which is more than a trendy place full of bars, but a site of incomparable cultural wealth”. The festival has the support of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), the Municipality of Panama and the National Heritage Office.
The National Heritage Office has given permission to Casco Antiguo restaurants to have tables and chairs on sidewalks, if they hire resident artistes for those two days, such as musicians, painters etc. to reenergize the areas. In addition, five musicians from prominent Panamanian bands will be playing at different points of the Old Quarter. Some of the restaurants participating in ‘Menu Panama’ are: Tio Navaja, Rana Dorada and Casco among others.
The National Barista Competition will take place winthin the framework of the festival. The winner will represent Panama in the World Championship which takes place in Holland. The tournament will be at the American Trade Hotel lobby.
The ladies of Fonda La Sexta, from the Cal y Canto Foundation will help the guest chefs with the cooking, among them Virgilio Martinez, from the Restaurante Central of Peru, who uses ingredients found in the jungle and mountains by his sister Malena Martinez. He will give a free seminar to student chefs in Panama.
This year, unlike in previous versions where the activity took place during the course of one day, it will last for two days in two places in Casco. One location is the “Compañia de Jesus”, which is situated in front of the “Arco Chato”. There the “Summer Wine Festival”, as part of ‘Menu Panama’, will take place. The five main wine distributors in the country will offer more than 75 different wines. The event will be from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $50 for sale at Panatickets.com., Felipe Motta and Novey Stores and include a crystal glass for your tasting experience.
The other location is the “Rincon de Clementina”, next to Las Clementinas Hotel at the beginning of Avenida B, where the “After Party” will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Tickets cost $30 for sale at Panatickets.com. The entrance price includes three appetizers prepared by international chefs, live music, sale of food, cocktails and beer bar. Among the guest musicians is the Carlos Agrazal Jazz Quartet.
For more information visit www.vivemenupanama.com