A Delicious Combination of Dishes in Chile
Welcome to Chile! This chili pepper shaped country is located on the west side of South America and is over 4,600 kilometres (2,700 miles) long.
It was originally inhabited by Native Americans, and the Spanish arrived in the 16th century and colonized the country. Chile became a republic under the Spanish Monarchy in September, 1810, and then won its independence on February 12, 1818 (check out more history here). The primary cultural influences in Chile include neighboring countries, the Spanish, Germans, French, and English.
Geographically, Chile is a bit of a wonder. Northern Chile is home to the driest desert on earth. Further down south, the land is covered in forest and abundant grazing land. The deep south has harsher conditions and the coast is made up of stunning fjords, islands, and spectacular waterways. It spans such an incredible distance from north to south, and according to the Köppen system, there are at least seven major climatic subtypes.
What does that mean? It means that ingredients produced in Chile vary widely, due to the extreme changes in landscape and climate.
Of course, seafood (tuna, salmon, cod, sole, shellfish, and squid) is abundant along the coast, while inland beef, llama, poultry, pork, lamb, and rabbit are more common (although, seafood is often available inland as well, as the country is so narrow). The fruits and vegetables that grow in Chile are impressive: fruits vary from temperate (apples and pears, stone fruits and grapes) to tropical (lemons and limes, oranges and avocadoes), and root vegetables, corn, squash, and tomatoes dominate the vegetable crops.
As in much of Latin America, tortillas are included in many meals, but I think it’s safe to say that bread is even more popular – especially in the form of hallulla and marraqueta. Here’s a short list of common dishes in Chile: asado (traditional barbeque), cazuela (meat or poultry based soup), empanadas (dough filled with beef and baked or filled with seafood and fried), sopa de ostras (oyster soup), humitas (ground corn, onions, eggs and spices wrapped in a corn husk and boiled or baked), sopaipillas (fried pastry traditionally eaten with mustard, ketchup, butter, or a tomato and herb sauce, eaten on rainy days), quinoa risotto, pastel de choclo (ground corn and basil), pan de Pascua (Chilean cake eaten during Christmas), Murta con membrillo (a dessert made with berries from the Ugni molinae shrub and quince), and pan amasado (traditional Chilean bread). It’s tough to provide a good list of typical dishes, as there’s such a huge culinary variety there.
There are many different Chilean beverages, but their wine is the most notable. Wine has been made in Chile since the 16th century, when grapes were brought over from Spain. Despite the Spanish influence, Chilean wine is most similar to French wine, and the country now is one of the world’s largest producers.
Have you ever been to Chile? If so, what was your favourite dish? Be sure to check back next Wednesday when I share an authentic Chilean recipe!Add a comment