The Food of Chile
Como en la mayoría de los países, las personas que se establecieron en Chile influyeron mucho en su cocina. Mucho antes de que los europeos vinieran a Chile, los pueblos nativos usaban el maíz en muchos de sus platos. The Spanish, and later the British, Germans, Arabs, and Italians, also brought their cooking knowledge. Today, everyday food in Chile is a mix of all of these influences. Chileans usually eat four meals a day, and like in the US, they start the day out with breakfast.
- Breakfast - is smaller in scale than the traditional pancakes and eggs seen in the United States. Chileans usually eat a light breakfast consisting of toast with very sweet tea or coffee with milk.
- Lunch - is one of the larger meals of the day in Chile. Traditional lunch foods include cazuela, a clear broth made with rice, potato, corn and meat. Pastel de choclo, a corn casserole made with meat, olives and vegetables, is a popular lunch summer dish. A side of pan amasado, a wood-stove baked bread readily found in the Chilean countryside, often comes with lunch.
- Dinner - Parrillada-style food, or any food cooked in a brick outdoor oven known as a “parilla,” is popular as a dinner choice throughout Chile and the southern cone of South America. Similar to the way Americans cook meat on a barbecue grill, Chileans cook chicken, sausages and lamb on a parrila. Seafood, also readily available throughout Chile, is served steamed, grilled or fried. Ceviche, a traditional spanish dish that requires seafood to be refrigerated overnight with a lemon marinade, is a Chilean favorite. So is “manchas a la parmesana,” clams with parmesan cheese, which offer a nod to Chile’s Italian influence. Those looking for fast food should try “El Completo,” a hot dog with the works – mayo, ketchup, guacamole and tomatoes.
- Snacks - The empanada is a common snack throughout Latin America, but Chileans eat their pastry shells filled with pino, a combination of stewed beef and onion, or filled with shellfish. A quick steak sandwich or ham & cheese sandwich also makes a great snack for many Chilean families.
The Culture of Chile
La explicación más aceptada del origen del nombre "Chile" es que se deriva de la palabra nativa Aymará chilli que significa "la tierra donde termina la tierra". Chile es considerado como una de las naciones más homogéneas de América Latina en términos étnicos y culturales. In contrast to many other Latin American nations, Chile has not experienced the emergence of strong regionalism or conflicting regional cultural identities. Since the late nineteenth century, both the northern and southern regions have been mainly populated by people coming from the central region, helping to strengthen the country's cultural homogeneity.
Notwithstanding the existence of a strong dominant national culture, some cultural regional traditions can be identified. In the northern provinces near Bolivia, Aymará Indians have been able to preserve many aspects of their Andean culture. In the southern region the Mapuche Indians are a large cultural group who strongly contributed to the formation of Chilean culture. On Chiloé Island also in the south, a distinct chilote culture emerged over the centuries from a relatively harmonious blending of Indian and Spanish backgrounds; this culture is characterized by rich traditions of music, dance, and mythological tales. Some two thousand miles off the coast of Chile lies the remote Eastern Island, which is inhabited by twenty-eight hundred native islanders who still keep alive many of their Polynesian cultural traditions.
Since the late nineteenth century, Chilean culture has also been nurtured by the arrival of a large group of immigrants, mainly Germans, British, French, Italians, Croatians, Palestinians, and Jews. Today they fill leading positions in academic and cultural circles as well as within the country's political leadership. Nevertheless, many Chileans are often not even aware of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds and they firmly embrace the dominant culture of mainstream society.
Labor Day (1 May) is a national holiday. Union leaders and government officials participate in worker gatherings that celebrate the importance of labor to the nation.
Día de las Glorias Navales (21 May) commemorates the 1879 naval battle of Iquique during the War of the Pacific, where Chile's national hero, Captain Arturo Prats, lost his life in naval combat against Peruvian vessels. In coastal cities, people commemorate Prats and his crew by boarding small boats covered with Chilean flags and throwing flowers into the sea.
The celebration of Chilean independence in 1810 takes place on 18 September. Chileans go into the streets to celebrate with folk dances and national dishes. This is the country's most important secular celebration. During this celebration, Chileans eat a large variety of traditional food. As a snack or the first course of a large meal, Chileans normally eat empanadas. This pastry of Spanish origin is stuffed with meat, cheese, or seafood, as well as onion, raisins, and olives. Another popular starter is humitas, which contains a paste of white corn, fried onions, and basil, wrapped in corn husks and cooked in boiling water. A classic second dish is pastel de choclo ( choclo is the Mapuche word for corn). It is a white corn and beef casserole topped with sugar and mostly cooked in traditional black ceramic dishes, handmade in the small town of Pomaire. Also on Independence Day, large parrilladas (barbecues) are organized across the country. Large quantities of wine, chicha (fermented apple brew), and pisco (grape brandy) accompany the celebrations.
Rafting y kayaking.Los muchos ríos y arroyos espumosos de Chile apoyan incomparables oportunidades de rafting. Los principales destinos del país, el poderoso Río Bío Bío y el Río Futaleufú, atraen a visitantes de todo el mundo. Rafting trips generally range in length from one to eight days and, with the Bío Bío, sometimes includes the option of climbing 3160m Volcán Callaquén. This trip is offered by Bio Bio Expenditions. The tour season runs from December - March. The length of the trip is 9 days and will cost you from $2900 plus $200 round trip flight. In addition to these challenging rivers, gentler alternatives exist on the Río Maipo close to Santiago, the Río Trancura near Pucón, and the Río Petrohue near Puerto Varas. The Maipo makes a good day-trip from Santiago, while excursions on the latter two are just half-day affairs and can usually be arranged on the spot, without advance reservations. In general, all rafting trips are extremely well organized, but you should always take great care in choosing your outfitter – this activity can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced guide. Chile’s white-water rapids also offer excellent kayaking, though this is less developed as an organized activity – your best bet is probably to contact one of the US-based outfitters that have camps on the Bío Bío and Futaleufú. Sea kayaking is becoming increasingly popular, generally in the calm, flat waters of Chile’s southern fjords, though people have been known to kayak around Cape Horn. It is important to note that the Chilean navy is very sensitive about any foreign vessels (even kayaks) cruising in their waters, and if you’re planning a trip through military waters, you’d be wise to inform the Chilean consulate or embassy in your country beforehand.
Lago Todos los Santos. Ubicado dentro del Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales, en la región de los lagos del sur de Chile, se encuentra el Lago Todos los Santos, o el Lago de Todos los Santos. A veces se conoce como Lago Esmeralda, que significa Lago Esmeralda, debido a su color verde esmeralda. It is one of the biggest attractions in the national park. The lake was formed by glacial and volcanic activities. It covers an area of about 69 square miles, and it has a maximum depth of about 1,105 feet. The lake flows into the Petrohué River and the Petrohué Waterfalls. Visitors come to Lake Todos los Santos for boating, kayaking, rafting, swimming, and fishing. You can also enjoy hiking near the lake and watching for native animals in the area. From the lake, you can also see Osorno Volcano, Puntiagudo Volcano, Tronador Volcano. The lake has two ports, Peulla and Petrohue, which are part of the Lakes Cross, connecting Puerto Varas to Argentina. The closest airport is Puerto Montt. Park entrance is 1200 Chilean pesos (US$2) for adults. Children ages 12 and under are free. Opening hours are 9am to 6pm in the summer and 9am to 5:30pm in the winter.