From 27th to 30th November 2018, the entire Madre de Dios-Tambopata region of Peru celebrated the 2018 edition of Momento Selva.
Momento Selva is an annual event, organised by world renown Chef, Virgilio Martínez, and dedicated to sustainability of local communities, culinary tradition, and the environment; bringing together chefs, academics, artisans and craftworkers, farmers and entrepreneurs for a series of educational workshops. Those attending developed their knowledge about the riches that can be gleaned from different cultures and the surrounding natural resources, as well as enhancing their understanding of traditional Peruvian artistry and skill.
This year, the Momento Selva programme was hosted at Inkaterra Guides Field Station. The Guides Field Station was originally designed as a research facility for Inkaterra Asociación (ITA), Inkaterra’s NGO, and as a location to train Inkaterra’s renowned Explorer Guides. In 2017, the Guides Field Station opened its doors to eco-conscious travellers, families, researchers and academics, volunteers and students from around the world, who are able to participate in various conservation projects alongside ITA whilst receiving food and accommodation at the property.
The Guides Field Station’s dedication to the continuance of biodiversity and researching the delicate ecosystems of the surrounding jungle environment made it the perfect location to host this momentous event.
Over the course of the three days, 70 guests including artists, scientists, and chefs gathered together to dine, share experiences, and explore the wonders of the Madre de Dios-Tambopata area of the Amazon Rainforest, which is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the world.
A range of experiences and excursions featured on the Momento itinerary in order to fully immerse participants in the nature that surrounds Inkaterrra Guides Field Station. This included an expedition to Lake Sandoval for an encounter with some of the exotic and playful inhabitants of the area, including Howler Monkeys, Giant River Otters, native birds, and many others.
The group also gained a unique perspective of the Amazon Rainforest with a walk through the lush greenery at the canopy layer along the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway. The walkway connects eight platforms and seven hanging bridges suspended 100 feet above the rainforest floor, offering the chance to witness creatures dwelling at the tops of trees, such as sloths and certain birds.
Jan Brack and Manuel Acurio led a tour around Inkaterra Asociación’s bio-orchard, demonstrating to guests how it is possible to produce a rich food supply in a sustainable fashion within the rainforest. The food produces was showcased and enjoyed during an authentic Amazonian barbeque prepared by Inkaterra’s Corporate Executive Chef, Rafael Casin.
Renowned Argentine chef, Narda Lepes, also contributed to this ‘culin-education’ as he spoke about the role of the restaurant in maintaining the unique ecosystems in the Amazon, noting that though one kitchen may not make a big impact, the combined impact of many restaurants on the environment is certainly notable. Lepes opened debate on the controversial Monsanto law present in Argentina, and how important the role of a high-profile chef is in order to make positive changes within the industry.
Other guests speakers included environmental photographer Nicholas Villaume, Harvard PhD graduate Yolanda Huang, Neurosurgeon Atom Sarkar, Peruvian language specialist Roberto Zariquiey and ethnobotanist Camilo Diaz.
The three days of Momento Selva were a success for all involved, and a great time to reflect on the Amazon and its many offerings; a moment to marvel at nature’s very own miracles.