Happy Thanksgiving everyone! On this day of gastronomic brilliance, I wanted to take the time to highlight some of our best foodie experiences in South America. Come travel with us to Santiago, Cusco and Buenos Aires as we explore vibrant markets, visit historic kitchens, try our hand at cultural dishes all while under the guidance of local, passionate chefs!
We head first to Santiago! The adventure starts driving downtown to La Vega, a renowned market famous with locals who crowd the stalls from dawn until early afternoon each day. After exploring the market maze and admiring the variety of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, spices and meats, we start buying ingredients for the menu to be prepared later with our chef-guide. Our menu will consist of an olive oil tasting (Chile is world renowned for its olive oils) and a dish such as ceviche to start with, followed by our choice of main course to be enjoyed with wine and a typical Chilean dessert with coffee.
We cross over the bridge to the other side of the Mapocho river and head to nearby Mercado Central, a fresh fish market with wonderful architecture, popular with locals and tourists alike. Here we really get a flavor of local life and see where the city center dwellers come to purchase their fish to make dishes such as machas a la parmesana (razor clams with parmesan) or Reineta a la manteca (Buttered pomfret). We select the final ingredients for our tasty Chilean meal before driving uptown to the chef’s house.
When we arrive we start to prepare our chosen meal in the chef’s specially-designed kitchen. While ingredients are simmering away we enjoy a tasty Chilean cocktail and talk with the chef about the ingredients, their provenance and their relationship to Chilean culture. We enjoy some delicious appetizers with our aperitif and then sit down to the main meal to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
Satisfied from our downtown exploration, the home-cooked food and good Chilean wine, we are driven back to our hotel to rest.
We continue heading north, to the Andean highlands and land in Cusco. Early in the morning, we depart from our Hotel to Cusco’s bustling San Pedro Market, where we receive a briefing from our Chef about local ingredients, and also have the opportunity to buy them, interacting with local producers and suppliers. Continue on to the Sacred Valley, to Pio Vazquez’s restaurant Huacatay, located in the town of Urubamba. Huacatay restaurant is a new Andean style kitchen where every dish is not only an experience for the senses, but also a refuge where aesthetics and atmosphere are part of the charm. Here, we learn in a dynamic and interactive way about the local gastronomy as well as cooking techniques and about organic products of the area. We will prepare an appetizer, main dish, and a dessert, all inspired by traditional Peruvian dishes, accompanied by a Pisco cocktail. In the evening, we return to Cusco.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Finally, we end back in the “Paris of the South”, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires, in recent years, has made a splash in the gastronomic world of closed door supper clubs. Tonight, we head off for the ultimate dinner! Received with a wine based cocktail and a Patagonian trout tartar, we learn how to create empanadas using the traditional “repulgue” technique and fill them with a choice of gourmet fillings. Then, we enjoy a typical argentine picada with grilled provoleta cheese, sliced chorizo sausage, and the always-amazing mollejas. Be ready to be blown away with a 250g tender loin that has been dried cured for 24hs. We learn the best parts of Argentine culture including our chef’s favorite local hand gestures. As a pre-dessert, be prepared to try queso y dulce. For dessert, we try our hand at crafting our own alfajores, Argentina’s national sweet, where cookies, dulce de leche, melted chocolate fondue and coconut shavings combine to delight the senses. Finally, we learn about the history and etiquette of mate, Argentina’s national pastime, and prepare it from scratch. Throughout dinner, we enjoy a wine pairing of three wines specially chosen by Zuccardi Winery, including a Torrontes from Salta, and a Blend and Malbec from Valle de Uco, Mendoza.
Want to enjoy the gastronomic delights of South America? Feel free to contact me.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and we look forward to hosting you on your next adventure!
Your Friendly South America Expert,