Chilean gastronomy

Chilean gastronomy is the result of the mixture between the indigenous tradition and the Spanish colonial contribution (also of the Italian, German and even French immigrant gastronomy). It leaves us some delicious flavors for our palates and “weones” stomachs. The products of these lands were already very varied, as can be seen among their vegetables (quinoa, potatoes, beans, corn), seafood, fish and algae (idyllic geographical situation created by the Humboldt current on the central and northern coasts) and terrestrial animals (flame, birds). But it took another step with what was brought from outside to become the Chilean Creole cuisine that it is today. In addition, avocado abounds in this country, something to love this gastronomy even more (Chile is the third world avocado producer after the United States and Mexico). As if this were not enough, some drinks are a real delicacy. Let's start with these!

Note: the videos shown in this post are in Spanish.

DRINKS

PISCO

A drink that also claims the Peruvians. Regardless of the origin (at least to me), the truth is that this drink, an aguardiente (brandy) of grapes, is very popular in both countries and each one uses different grape varieties to prepare it. When mixed with cola: piscola. Let the party begin!

WINE

Recognized all over the world, Chilean wine stands out for its flavors and its variety. Among the red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Merlot stand out; in relation to the white ones, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc deserve to be mentioned. But come on, don’t be picky: we, wine lovers like everything!

CHICHA

Alcoholic beverage made of fermented corn. It is found in many regions of the Andes.

MOTE CON HUESILLO

"You are more Chilean than the mote con huesillo" says a saying. A very Chilean drink, refreshing, no alcohol this time. You'd better watch the recipe:

STREET FOOD AND STARTERS

Although in Chile there are tasty and healthy dishes, as we are going to see, there are also plenty of tasty and less healthy dishes. That is to say, there is a lot of street food selling (sandwiches, hot dogs, salchipapas...). Anyway, not all the street food is going to clog your arteries: we will always have the corn! As a curious fact, Chile is the second consumer of bread worldwide after Germany (here we will not talk about sandwiches, though).

CHORRILLANA

This dish is served in restaurants, but I have included it here because it is an authentic calorie bomb that surely has everything you love: fried egg, French fries, lots of meat (beef, bacon, sausage), avocado, onion, cheese, tomato, olives, bread... Yum!

A chorrillana that my brother and I tasted in Chaitén.

COMPLETOS

Giant hot dogs, only at the level of the Brazilian "cachorros quentes". They may have everything you can imagine.

SOPAIPILLAS

One of the most popular and delicious products in the country. The greasier the better! Recipe here:

EMPANADAS

In particular, very typical from Chile is the empanada de pino: minced meat, boiled egg, onion, garlic, raisins. Fried or baked, your choice.

HUMITAS

As in other Latin American countries, this dish has hundreds (thousands) of years in the culture of the territory. Masses of corn (fresh, grated and crushed in the mortar) lightly seasoned, wrapped and cooked in the leaves (chala or panca) of an ear of corn.

MAIN AND TRADITIONAL DISHES

PASTEL DE CHOCLO (CORN PIE)

Pie made of ground meat, onion, olives, raisins and ground corn. We bake everything in the oven... and we have this marvel ready. Watch and learn!

POROTOS GRANADOS

A stew of beans made of along with corn, pumpkin, onion, basil, paprika and garlic. You can also add carrot, tomato or whatever you want to add. Have a look:

CURANTO

With origin in the magical Island of Chiloé, this recipe has a quite curious (and long) preparation. Many hands are required to wash stones, seafood and different varieties of potatoes (by the way, the potato is the star ingredient of almost all recipes on the island). The food is buried and steamed for hours... And so, as if by magic, we have this delicious chilota dish. You can not go to Chiloé and not try the curanto.

CEVICHE

It is part of the culinary of various Latin American countries with access to the Pacific Ocean, although each has a different way of preparing it. I tried it in Chile, Peru (considered as cultural heritage) and Ecuador, and they all were very different and good. The variety consumed in the south of Chile differs from the one preferred in the extreme north, similar to the one prepared in Peru, mixed with chili. The most common form consists of a fish of white meat (corvina, reineta) shredded or in very small pieces, accompanied with white onion in cubes, cilantro and macerated for hours in some acid, mainly lemon.

CHARQUICÁN

A recipe shared with the Peruvian, Bolivian and Argentine cuisines. It is a stew based on charqui (dehydrated meat covered with salt and dried in the sun, also known as cecina) and pumpkin. However, the characteristics of this dish differ considerably in each country, both in its ingredients and in its preparation. In fact, in Chile there are even charquicans based on algae (cochayuyo). Vegetarians interested in preparing this dish can replace the meat with this seaweed or egg. Here is a recipe of the Chilean charquicán:

LA(S) ONCE

Las once (it means eleven), is a kind of snack that is served in the middle of the afternoon. Like the British tea or French goûter. It is usually done between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, serving coffee or tea and bread (marraqueta) with eggs, ham, dulce de leche (more or less like caramel), butter, margarine, jam, avocado, pâté, cheese or tomato. Among other snacks, it is also common to take berlines, calzones rotos, Chilean sweets, cookies, ice cream, juice, kuchen, pancakes, picarones, roscas, sopaipillas... For the little ones a cup of milk, cereals, or any other common food of a breakfast. But Las Once is much more than a simple snack. For many families it is the most important family gathering of the day, and this meal has happened to replace dinner in many Chilean homes (sometimes called Once-Cena; eleven-dinner). This is due to the pace of modern life (especially in big cities), in which the extension of working hours has caused the last meal of the day to be an abundant “eleven” that replaces dinner. It reminds me of when my parents were lazy to cook at night, and they tricked us by saying "tonight snack-dinner!". Do not be fooled, Chilean kids, tell your parents make a real dinner for you!

On the other hand, the origin of the term is under debate. The two most plausible hypotheses are the following. 1) It is a literal translation of a meal taken at midmorning, known in English as elevenses ('onces'). 2) The word would come from the habit of the saltpeter workers at the end of the 19th century who had the snack along with a drink of aguardiente (brandy). Due to the existence of restrictions to drink alcohol, they named such meal the "once" (eleven) because the word aguardiente contains eleven letters.

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