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This South American country with beautiful vistas and sublime scenery has given us so much more than just food, drink and the perfect Christmas gifts. Here’s a selection of the great day to day things we can be grateful for – thanks Chile!
These crusty pastries filled with either minced meat, olives, raisins and a hard boiled egg, prawns and cheese and many other flavors, can be found absolutely everywhere. From street vendors on the corner to cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as every household!
…stay close to me! If you’re visiting Santiago, do not fear, you will never be far away from both the biggest, most popular vineyards like Concha Y Toro and the smaller boutique ones offering tastings of some of the finest Chilean wines – great news for wine lovers! Taste your way around the vines, savoring Pinot Noir, Syrah, Carménère, Merlot and many others.
Visit the Santa Lucia artisan market and you won’t be short of leather gifts. From traditional leather belts to wallets, backpacks and satchels, as well as less conventional wine holders, cooking aprons and coasters, it’s all here!
No, Chile didn’t invent the natural force of earthquakes, but they did name a drink after them as they happen so often. It’s partly a celebratory drink for surviving one – a concoction of wine, grenadine syrup and pineapple ice cream, sometimes spiked with fernet, rum or vodka. Watch out though, as you may think there is an earthquake after two of them, when you can’t feel your legs.
The beloved bread of the Chileans, so much so that ‘to be born with a marraqueta under your arm’ has the same meaning as the English phrase ‘to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth.’ Everywhere you go, you will find freshly baked marraquetas, and rightly so, Chileans love them, especially with a layer of palta (avocado) or dulce de leche!
You can argue whether this is really something Chile or Peru gave the world, but essentially, while one bickers about this, you could be enjoying a fresh pisco sour. If you are a pisco-holic, why not spend a weekend discovering the process and tasting the variations of the brandy in Pisco Elqui, near La Serena.
Those cold wintery nights are made all the more bearable with alpaca socks and jumpers, the soft fluff is extremely warm and a pleasant material to wear. When you visit the artisan markets there are always plenty of options, whether you’re looking for a cosy hat, a pair of fluffy socks, a jumper or a mat, it’s all available.
This is Chile’s national stone, the stone of wisdom, friendship, truth and integrity, and is considered in the Middle East to have magical powers! Used for cufflinks, earrings, necklaces and key rings, this token of love and friendship is the perfect gift for one of your loved ones.
Looking for something to jazz up your interior design? The indigenous Mapuche Indians that lived in the south of Chile learnt how to make good quality ponchos and clothing to keep them warm during the harsh winters. In addition, they also made quality rugs from a number of textures and patterns. This skill has been passed down from generation to generation, and you can still buy these treasures today.
This fried pastry is another Chilean favourite, thought to have been eaten since at least 1726. Once you’ve spent any time in the country you will then understand how important they are for Chileans, made with cooked ground pumpkin in their dough and served with either pebre or chancaca (a hot sweet syrup).
There are not many places you can spot a range of different breeds of penguins in the world, but Chile is one of them, as well as being the only place outside of Antarctica to have a colony of king penguins. Chiloé is also the only place in the world that you can spot both Magallanes and Humboldt penguins at the same time!