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Chile and its flavors in Santiago and the Elqui Valley

To write about Chile is to capture a set of emotions by remembering its landscapes, its people and its flavors.

I have had the opportunity to travel this country from end to end and each trip allows me to be even more amazed by its gastronomic diversity, the contrast of its landscapes and the friendliness of its people.

The tour I will tell you about today is part of my experience in the Elqui Valley and its capital, Santiago.

The journey begins in Bogota with an overnight flight to Santiago with LAN Airlines.

Some people think that the experience begins upon arrival at the destination. For me it all starts with the in-flight experience, the flavors on board and the warmth of the staff in the air.

Starting the descent to Santiago is one of the best memories I can have in my mind. The sun begins to rise and the orange contrast of the sun with the snowy mountain range makes me want to be suspended in time with these images. Unfortunately, time is short and landed.

It’s early! The day in the capital begins and nothing better than with a marraqueta fresh from the oven, a hallulla and a dobladita accompanied by a good tea. Chileans are influenced by German and English cuisine. It is for this reason that tea is always present in Chilean homes.

After breakfast I start touring the city with a very good-humored Santiaguino, as Chilean men are known to be. He begins to tell me about his city, as we walk through the center, main neighborhoods, churches and viewpoints.

We arrived at the central market of Santiago and it is for me one of the best visits I can have in the day. I can’t hide my joy every time I can come in and get a closer look at the local flavors and preparations.

I encounter a variety of fish and shellfish that I have never heard of before, such as locos and picoroco, to name a few. We continue walking and I let myself be tempted by cherries and grapes. They are large, juicy and very sweet.

Life in Santiago is full of flavors from all Chilean regions and a wide variety of international cuisines thanks to the strong movement of foreigners every day. It is a city that enchants and enchants those who have the privilege of knowing it.

My time in Santiago passes quickly and I have to continue my journey to the Elqui Valley.

Once again a LAN flight takes me to La Serena to begin to enjoy the contrast of arid landscapes with turquoise blue lagoons and a unique sky. The Elqui Valley is catalogued as the clearest sky in the world and is the point of harvest and production of the national drink; pisco!

The climate contrasts during the day and night in this region allow the grapes used for pisco to give a final result of very good quality. From the hand of CAPEL, Chile’s leading brand in the production of pisco, I know everything about the drink and leave behind the endless question: is pisco Peruvian or Chilean?

Do you know whose it is? The grape. Once you know all about the grapes, the harvest, the production and the diversification they make of it along with the history of the beverage, you will understand perfectly well that there is no reason to ask that question.

I offer a wide variety of pure piscos and cocktails with local products such as charqui and salmon. A good pisco is not only tasted in a piscola or a pisco sour. A good pure pisco accompanied by a chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa is a perfect fusion in the mouth.

We went back to the Elqui Valley for lunch and I came across a very interesting proposal: solar cooking. This area has high daytime temperatures that allow the use of solar energy for cooking local foods. Some sopaipillas with pebre are the beginning of the local flavors to continue with a crab cake, a classic of Chilean gastronomy.

The night is not long in coming and the magic of a very starry sky accompanied by a specialist in astronomy allows me to have a unique experience. One of those experiences in life that is worth having, remembering and repeating, God willing.

Touring Chile is a task to be done conscientiously, calmly and with the 5 active senses.

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