Friday, October 31, 2014

Wine tasting in Chile

On our recent trip to Chile, we managed to tear ourselves away from eating our way through the Markets for a day to go wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley.  I had no idea how to even start to research what was offered for tours, so before we left home I went straight to TripAdvisor and searched for wine tours.  There are an amazing amount of tour operators working out of Santiago!  One guy kept getting rave reviews, so I sent an email and just like that we were signed up with Chilean Wine Lovers tours.  Here's the link, in case you are inspired  -
True to the reviews, we had a wonderful, personalized tour of some very interesting and boutique-ish wineries.  The best part?  Lunch was a tasting menu devised by our guide Mauricio and the chef at one of the wineries.  The food was amazing at Viña Morandé, and the wine pairings perfect.

Besides tasting lovely wines, we learned a lot about the different wine regions, the different grape varietals and the growing organic movement.  We feel like we now have some clue about what to look for at the wine shops!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I'm Still Traveling, and Certainly Still Eating!

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I have last posted anything...  I must make up for that!  I was distracted by one of the most beautiful summers we have seen in Seattle in years.  My time was spent tending a small garden and sipping rose' on the patio.    
We did not however spend all the summer lolly-gagging around the house - there were some trips taken and some excellent food consumed.  I shall be sharing those experiences, as they are way more interesting then me talking about my tomatoes.
We decided to travel to South America as neither one of us had ever set foot on that continent.  Something new!  Something different!  It turned out to be something unexpected for sure.  We started out in Santiago, Chile, a place we really knew nothing about.  Our Airbnb apartment had an awesome view of the Andes, and we were lucky that the early springtime weather was clear for most of our stay so that we could actually see them.

We found Santiago to be quite a walkable city, and spent a lot of time just exploring different neighborhoods on foot.  The main market Mercado la Vega and the fish market Mercado Central were our favorite destinations.  We saw - and ate - seafood we had never seen or heard of before.  We chose Tio Willy's restaurant in the Central market, as it was just across from a fish stand that had something we wanted to try but didn't know what it was.  We brought the server out and pointed to the piure.  They looked at us like we were crazy, but said they would bring out a taste for us.  Apparently it is an acquired taste, as it is very briny and somewhat gritty.  We polished off the plate they brought out, to prove we were not wimps, and felt pretty proud of ourselves for trying what we later learned is a type of sea squirt.

Other than our seafood feasts in the market, we found ourselves really searching for "native" Chilean dishes to try.  Strangely, what we wound-up eating most often was billed as Peruvian cuisine.  We did finally find a place that specialized in traditional Chilean food at Galindo, and I found my new favorite soup - Caldillo de Congrio.  I probably won't be replicating that at home, as conger eel is just not an ingredient you see in your local US supermarket...

We also dined on some other Chilean favorites which I WOULD try at home - Santiago's version of a hot dog, called an Italian, and their version of poutine, with 3 different kinds of meat and onions grilled with egg.  Delicious!