Chilean foods are simple hearty dishes such as stews and thick soups. Seafood features strongly all along this long thin country with its close proximity to the Pacific coastal fishing towns. Fresh Cerviche is very popular, this is a raw fish dish marinated in citrus juices chopped up and served with onions, peppers and cilantro.
Barbecue pork and beef is served with rice, potatoes or corn. Corn in Spanish is choclo and features in pies and drinks. We originally thought Pastel de Choclo was a chocolate tart!
Lunch is the main meal of the day and many businesses close for 3 hours so that families can enjoy a long lunch together followed by a siesta.
We were glad to discover tea is drunk in the early evening, a tradition dating back to the late 1800’s bought to Chile by the British. Supermarkets had a wide selection of T Bags and we were able to restock our supply!
South America runs on empanadas, this cheap, tasty pastry snack is eaten at any time of the day. The Chilean version is a Pino empanada. This pastry turnover is more of a square or rectangle envelope shape with the edges folded in flat to keep the contents tucked inside. The Pino ‘nada’ is filled with chopped beef meat, fried onions, half a boiled egg and a black olive. The olive adds a salty corner taste just be careful not to swallow the stone!
Photo credit: http://www.chilean-wine.com
In South America there is a fierce battle to determine who makes the best Pisco – Chile or Peru?
So we thought we should test them out..
While in Chile we visited the nearby Aba Pisquera, a boutique Pisco producer and one of the oldest in the Elqui Valley. A nice Spanish-speaking guy gave us an impromptu tour, we learned about the wine making from the high concentration of sugar in the grapes, alcohol separation in ancient copper pots, storage of the distilled alcohol with ultra pure water in local wood barrels to the bottling and packaging final stages. Our guide gave us a few samples to try. I thought the 40% Pisco was similar to a whisky taste rather than a brandy in strength and flavour, our guide told us it should be sipped and never to add ice or soda!! I think my Dad would enjoy caressing a glass of Pisco. We liked the Mixed Pisco Sour drinks better!
This is a popular serving of barbecued grilled thin cut steak from the churrasqueira. In Argentina we had learnt the barbecue was called an asado.
Bistek a lo pobre is a massive plate of french fries onions, quick cook thin steak and a fried egg – cheap and filling.
The sandwich version is served in warm crusty bun with tomato, avocado and mayonnaise. Churrasco a lo pobre – is a delicious poor man’s steak sandwich, thin steak, french fries, caramelised onions topped off with a runny fried egg, my arteries are hardening as I write!
Although we didn’t eat a Completo in Chile, they seem to be really popular and there are stores selling them throughout the country. The fast food chain ‘Doggies’ should give you an idea of what a Completo actually is..it’s a large hotdog in a bun covered in chopped tomatoes, avocados and smothered with mayonnaise. On Easter Island they were called ‘As’ we still haven’t found out why though!
Photo credit: http://www.santiagochile.com
Next up Peruvian Cuisine