Grown in Chile

by Francoise Villeneuve
Antoinette Bruno
May 2011

Biographies

Chef-instructor Anita Epulef
Cocina Mapu Iyagl Mapuche Cooking School - Curarrehue, Chile

Chef Gastón Acurio
La Mar – Santiago, Chile

Executive Chef Alexander Dioses
La Mar – Santiago, Chile

Chef Cristián Correa
Milcao – Santiago, Chile

Chef Maria Ignacia Jara
Restaurant Parque Antumalal at Hotel Antumalal – Pucon, Chile

Chef Rodolfo Guzman
Boragó - Santiago, Chile

Chef-Instructor Juan Pablo Mellado Arana
Culinary: Escuela Internacional de Artes Culinarias y Servicios - Santiago, Chile

Recipes

Cacho de Cabra Chili Recipe

Pil Pil Shrimp with Garlic, Cacho de Cabra Chilies, White Wine, and Cilantro
Chef Maria Ignacia Jara of Restaurant Parque Antumalal at Hotel Antumalal – Pucon, Chile

Maqui Berry Recipe

Violet Flower Ice Cream and Maqui Berry Nougat
Chef Rodolfo Guzman of Borago - Santiago, Chile

Photos

Harvest and Lunch with the Mapuche People at the Cocina Mapu Iyagl Cooking School - Curarrehue, Chile

Chef Alexander Dioses of La Mar - Santiago, Chile

Chef Cristian Correa and Mixologist Nicolas Perez Cortez of Milcao - Santiago, Chile

Chef Maria Ignacia Jara of Restaurant Parque Antumalal at Hotel Antumalal – Pucon, Chile

Chef Rodolfo Guzman of Borago - Santiago, Chile

We haven’t been to South America in some time, so when the opportunity to head to Chile came up, we jumped at the chance. While we were there we ate our way through fine dining restaurants like Boragó and explored the traditional roots of the Mapuche harvest and cuisine. And we were blown away by the bounty of ingredients (our Idaho-potato blinders safely on, we tasted dozens of different types of potatoes). The country is so long that it actually touches both ends of the climate spectrum (desert and mountains), so it’s not surprise that there’s so much variety in the ingredients. Here are some of the extraordinary ingredients that we tasted that make up Chile’s envy-inducing flora.

Albaricoque Sour Green Plums

Albaricoque Sour Green Plums

Albaricoque
WHERE: Pasteleria La Cocina de Elisa – Curarrehue, Chile
WHAT: These are small green or purple sour plums, about the size of a grape. Many chefs in Chile have not come across them. “Because of the length of Chile, there are a lot of endemic products that just few people have seen,” says Chef-Instructor Juan Pablo Mellado Arana of Culinary Chile cooking school in Santiago, Chile. “There is not a distribution network for those products.” We saw these preserved fruit in the Pasteleria La Cocina de Elisa bakery of the Mapuche people in Curarrehue, Chile. You can find something similar to these "Baby Peaches" at Camila Moreno B.’s New York store Puro-Chile on Centre Street, or online at www.puro-chile.com.

Albaricoque Sour Green Plums

Local Pine Nuts (Piñónes), Basil, Onions, and Oregano

Piñónes
WHERE: Cocina Mapu Iyagl Mapuche Cooking School – Curarrehue, Chile
WHAT: A plus-size pine nut. “The Piñón is a huge pine nut like those you can find in Morocco, but bigger, like a finger in some cases,” says Mellado. They can be ground and used as flour for baking, or prepared whole. We tasted them both in the form of Sopapilla (a sort of pita-like round bread made from pine nut flour), served with Pebre (Chilean Salsa). They were also cut up in a basil, onion, and oregano salad. These require a special certification to import, so they can be tricky to find in the United States. All the more reason to visit Chile and taste for yourself!

Tuna Tiradito with Passionfruit Emulsion, Mayonnaise, Tigers Milk, Green Onion, and Carica

Tuna Tiradito with Passionfruit Emulsion, Mayonnaise, Tigers Milk, Green Onion, and Carica

Carica
WHERE: La Mar – Santiago, Chile
WHAT: The carica is an exotic fruit from northern Chile. A member of the papaya family, it is sometimes called the golden papaya, but is smaller and yellower than the Central American papaya. And unlike the papaya you might be familiar with, carica cannot be eaten raw. “The way we eat it in Chile is very simple: boiled in simple syrup, cold with a little bit of cream on the top,” says Mellado. At Santiago restaurant La Mar, Chef Alexander Dioses incorporates carica into his spin on ceviche in a Tuna Tiradito with Passion Fruit Emulsion, Mayonnaise Stripes, Tiger’s Milk, Green Onion, and Carica. The fruit can be purchased from Tamaya Gourmet preserved in syrup, or as a spread from Puro-Chile.

Dried Cacho de Cabra Chilies ground to form Merquen Spice Blend

Dried Cacho de Cabra Chilies ground to form Merquen Spice Blend

Cacho de Cabra Chili
WHERE: Restaurant Parque Antumalal at Hotel Antumalal – Pucon, Chile
WHAT: Cacho de Cabra is a dried red chili similar to the Spanish Guindilla. The Mapuche people smoke Cacho de Cabra then mix it with coriander seeds, salt, and sometimes cumin to make the seasoning Merquen. It is one of the most popular seasonings in Chile, used to flavor everything from chocolate to potatoes. Chef Maria Ignacia Jara used it at Restaurant Parque Antumalal to impart Pil Pil Shrimp with Garlic, Cacho de Cabra Chilies, White Wine, and Cilantro with a paprika-like, mild and smoky heat. Because it’s dried you can easily find it in the United States.

Maqui berries

Maqui berries

Maqui berry:
WHERE: Boragó – Santiago, Chile
WHAT: Health nuts are hailing it as the next açai because of its antioxidants, but we’re more interested in its culinary prowess. Maqui berries have an intense and vibrant flavor. They share the cranberry’s appearance and a little of its tartness. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán paired a Maqui Berry Nougat with a floral delicate violet flower ice cream at Santiago restaurant Boragó. Several products with maqui berry are available in the United States, including preserves and juices, but the fresh fruit is not yet available here.