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Chile: what to see, where to go, what to try

The country, stretching for 4,300 km in a narrow ribbon, is protected in the east by the teeth of the Andes, in the west by the Pacific waves.

There are all climatic zones — from the alpine tundra to the subtropics.

There is no other country with such unique natural conditions.

Kitchen Chile It is based on local products such as quinoa and abalone, black congrio and sea acorns, chirimoya fruits, alcajotas and Turkish delight, as well as unusual seasonings with similar names: kochayuyo algae and kochiyuyo desert quinoa.

Metropolitan things

Travelers usually start exploring the country with a modern and energetic Santiago.

The lift will help you quickly climb Mount San Cristobal to see the best panorama of the city.

On the main square — Plaza de Armas — clouds of tourists, but not less here and local residents who play chess or just relax under the jacquarandas covered with azure-blue flowers.

Having walked around the city, spend the evening in the newly opened restaurant Mulato, who is led by young chef Christian Correa. His style — the so-called «kitchen market«.

Almost everything listed in the menu is sold near the restaurant.

Seasonal vegetables and berries, king crabs and clams, sea urchin caviar — all this is in the surrounding markets, including the Mercado Central, built back in 1868 and, in the opinion of gourmets, which is the real center of the city.

Thirsty discoveries need to get into a restaurant Borag — a real laboratory of high cuisine.

Each dish here maintains a strong connection with nature, although molecular technologies are also used: for example, snacks are served on fragments of local volcanic rocks, vegetables are decorated with flowers and branches, and ice cream is frozen with liquid nitrogen.

«A restaurant is not a business, but an opportunity to acquaint people with what nature gives us.“- says Rodolfo Guzman, the owner and chef of the restaurant. In the kitchen, he mostly uses endemic products. In the near future Rodolfo plans to create an Academy for the study and use of local ingredients.

In the meantime, the jewelry work of the chief and his numerous team can be observed through the glass wall that separatesthe lab«From the hall.

But in the capital you will not get a full impression of the beauty and tastes of the country.

We leave Santiago and go to the new discoveries.

What to bring?

  • Merken. Hot chili peppers, dried, smoked on the fire and ground with coriander seeds, cumin and salt. This amazing seasoning is prepared according to the ancient recipe of Mapuche Indians. It can be added everywhere — from soup and salad to meat and coffee.
  • Pisco Chilean brandy from Muscat grapes, which they drink, diluted with lime juice. Many Chileans love Piscola: pisco and Coca-Cola cocktail.
  • Pepper jamA harmonious combination of spicy and sweet.
  • Jewelry from lapis lazuli. Here are the richest deposits of lapis lazuli, it is considered the national stone of Chile, and it is much cheaper here than in other countries.
  • Poncho Mapuche.It is believed that Mapuche invented this garment. It is woven from natural wool and dyed with vegetable dyes. Warm fabric reliably protects from wind and cold, and at night (if spent the night in the mountains) will replace the blanket.
  • Moai Figurines depicting stone idols from Easter Island are sold at almost every step, anywhere in the country — from the capital to a mountain village, and come in all different sizes — from a key fob to a massive interior decoration.

Lake District

In the south of Santiago is the province of Araucania with volcanoes in snow caps, crystal clear lakes and valleys overgrown with lemon yellow forsythia bushes.

To truly enjoy the beauty of the Lake District, settle down on the banks of Lake Villierica at the hotel. Antumalal.

The design of the hotel is organically integrated into the surrounding landscape, the interior uses only natural materials: wood, natural textiles, and fur.

A lot of celebrities rested in Antumalal, even the Queen of Great Britain.

Everyone will find entertainment to suit their taste — from the spa to rafting, from fishing to horse riding.

But with any preferences, you just can not resist the fine cuisine of the restaurant Parque antumalal. The current owners of the hotel are the third generation of Czech émigrés, therefore the restaurant’s dishes combine European and Chilean traditions.

Many recipes were brought back in 1945 from Prague.

It turns out that the local pies empanadas and Chilean ceviche are perfectly combined with a lamb in barley sauce and apple strudel with homemade ginger ice cream.

People of earth

Araucania — The modern territory of residence of the Indian people Mapuche, whose representatives are often called Araucan.

The name of the people is translated as «people of the earth»: The now fashionable ideas of responsible and sustainable agriculture Mapuche have been known for a long time.

Wanting to preserve the culture of her people, Anita Epulef chose the path of cooking.

She created the restaurant Cucina Mapu Iyagi (that is, the «kitchen Mapuche») School of culinary traditions Mapuche. “I do not perceive it as a culinary school,” Anita stresses, “but as a school of life.”

Simple wooden tables, rows of pottery on the shelves, bunches of dried herbs and onions hanging from the walls complement the restaurant’s rustic style.

The menu of Anita depends on what was collected this morning. «Earth gives enough when it is in balance. Respect and eat what the earth gives you on this day, they say Mapuche, ”says Anita. — And Mapuche strictly observe seasonality.

For each season there is a set of 25 products.

It is necessary to eat everything — from the roots to the leaves«.

Mapuche meat is eaten only for holidays. Like potato bread, baked on the fire, pony cancan — it is served in the most solemn moments.

But fried sopaypilyas tortillas can be eaten at any time, with spicy olive oil, with salad, with syrup, and even without anything.

In the menu Mapuche many fresh vegetables, caviar from mushrooms, which are collected under the araucaria, a drink from mint.

For dessert — compote from leaf stalks of plant nakalka.

In the garden, its huge leaves, burdocks and especially inflorescences look awesome, but after boiling in the rosehip syrup, the petioles turn into a delicious delicacy.

Completion of lunch — mate.

The same portion of crushed leaves is brewed many times, passing calabash in a circle.

What to try?

  • Sea Urchin Caviar — It is served raw as a snack. During spring spawning, you will have to exclude a delicacy from the list — trapping hedgehogs at this time is prohibited.
  • Pink Shellfish Ceviche — a traditional snack.
  • Payori — A sauce of tomatoes, onions and herbs, served with bread as an aperitif.
  • Sopaypillas — Pancakes fried in vegetable oil with pumpkin or zucchini.
  • Cherimoya — fruit in a green peel, resembling a pear. Fresh juice from cherimoya can be drunk just like that or added to pisco cocktails.
  • Pisco ice cream — you need to eat it very quickly, otherwise it will melt.

Dinner under the stars

Moving from Santiago to the north, we are in the region Coquimbo. This is one of the most cloudless places in the world, for the year there are about 320 sunny days.

The largest observatories of the Southern Hemisphere were built here, and here, in a small village Pisco Elki, The official birthplace of the Pisco Chilean brandy, which is distilled from grape wine, is located.

In 2005, an unusual hotel appeared in the valley. Elqui domos. Each hotel room is a spacious spherical tent.

Inside, in the center of the room, on the podium there is a bed, above it is an unbuttoned dome.

In this secluded place you can sleep without fear with an open dome.

But first you need to have dinner.

The hotel’s restaurant will treat you to traditional Coquimbo dishes: delicate pumpkin cream soup, papaya cooked in syrup, an aromatic goat grilled goat, and, of course, real pisco, which is drunk as an aperitif, diluted with fruit juices.

One of the most popular cocktails is pisco sour, a local variation on the theme of whiskey sour: pisco, lemon juice, bitter and whipped egg white.

Legendary desert Atacama, the driest on the planet is also located in the north Chile. And even there have their own culinary traditions and local products.

Tender llama meat and tighter guanaco meat, quinoa and blue potatoes as a side dish.

As seasonings — the grass, which gives the desert: soft green grains of rico rico and kachuyuyo leaves, which replace salt.

Truth in wine

Two hours from Santiago — and you get into enological paradise.

Colchagua Valley — the main wine-growing region of the country.

One of the famous farms Viu manent, specializes in red wines: it can be seen, having traveled in a cart drawn by a pair of horses.

Here is a restaurant Pilar Rodrigues Food & Wine Studio. His chef, charming Pilar Rodriguez, is a real star in Chile.

Pilar also, of course, uses only local products (growing in a radius of 50 km), enriching Chilean recipes with French cuisine.

Her career began with the school Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. «I avoid methods that change the taste and appearance of products.“, Says Pilar about his kitchen.

In Pilar, you can try freshwater crayfish caught in the Limari river, steamed with aromatic herbs; farm lamb loin with cherry, onion and prune garnish; pisco ice cream «It is not known what attracts visitors more — our wines or the Pilar cuisine“- laughs the current owner of Viu Manent, José Miguel.

A great place to find truth in white wine is the valley Casablanca, household Casas del Bosque. The chief technologist of the economy, Grant Phelps, was born in New Zealand, worked in the vineyards of Australia, California, France, and now has moved to Chile. «The properties of grapes, he says, vary depending on the conditions in which it grows. In Casablanca, stony soils and cold climates are due to the influence of the cold Peru current.

For a long time it was believed that grapes could not be grown here at all.«.

Now they grow up nutmeg, Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay.

In such delicate matters as winemaking and gastronomy, you should never say «never«.

Where to go?

  • Art-quarter Bellavista in Santiago. Countless restaurants, boutiques and souvenir shops. Charter, you can comfortably settle on the roots of trees in any park.
  • Waterfalls on the lake Todos los Santos. A lake of emerald colored water is located in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
  • Valparaiso. Bohemian city on the Pacific coast, abbreviated «Valpo“Where the people of Santiago love to go on weekends.” The multi-colored houses are glued to steep mountain slopes, so a funicular is one of the most important types of urban transport.

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