|Chilean Cuisine… much more than wines!|
The variety in Chilean cuisine is a result of the contribution of six cuisines, splendidly well combined: native Indian, Spanish (including Arab and Jewish), French, German, English and Italian. This kaleidoscope of cultures is nurtured by an abundant repertory of native products from land and sea, which dazzled the Spanish palate. During the centuries when Chile was still a colony, the Spanish and Creole women, cooking with the Indians, produced local versions of their homeland recipes. Adopting and adapting the unknown, the newcomers discovered the virtues of potatoes, corn, pumpkins, chillies and beans.
Dishes with less meat and more vegetables are typical of Creole and rural Chilean cuisine - examples include humitas or boiled corn paste wrapped in corn husks; pastel de choclo (like a "pot pie" with layers of mashed or grated corn, meat, spices and raisins); locro, a meat dish with potatoes and vegetables; and charquican, made from vegetables and dried beef.
Anything and everything grows in Chile. Though seeking out local dishes and specialties is always part of the adventure, there are a few dishes that you'll come across nearly everywhere.
Empanadas are snack-sized turnovers filled with meat, cheese, or shellfish, and are a staple of daily life, not to be missed.
Asados (barbeques) and parilladas (mixed grill) are extremely popular and widely available.
Chile's seafood is unequalled in variety and quality. Mussels, clams and urchins, oysters and scallops, salmon... the list of fish and shellfish goes on and on, and a morning visit to a fish market anywhere in the country is an overwhelming sensory experience. Had any Patagonian toothfish lately? Chances are most people would say no. But call it by its common market name, Chilean sea bass, and the answer might be different. Chilean sea bass (Dissostichus eleginoides), a large, vaguely cod-shaped fish found in cold, deep waters of the southern hemisphere, has been one of the most phenomenally successful introductions of a fish into the North American market in our time. Try a Paila marina, a delectable shellfish stew available throughout the country.
Pastel de choclo
Wines and spirits
When it comes to spirits, did you know that Chileans produce more pisco than their Peruvian neighbors? This variety of grappa is served as an apéritif in every restaurant as a "pisco sour."
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