Maude’s Journey through Chile
In desire of an evening filled with discovery of Chilean food and culture, we were led to a quiet home in Santiago, operating as a kitchen workshop under the hand of Patricio Caceres Perez. It is Motemei Cocina Taller, a place known for its exciting gastronomical experiences. Chef Patricio welcomes his guests into this intimate space with a warm hug and a glass of wine. After, he takes each person on a unique and thrilling journey of Chilean cuisine. Chef Patricio, like many Chilean chefs, is interested in exposing guests to the food cultures of various regions throughout Chile. Incorporating indigenous ingredients and produce is an essential part of this kitchen and Chilean food culture as a whole. Expect to find exciting and fresh flavors from Chile taken from our strolls around farmer’s markets and inspired by restaurants such as Motemei and Borago.
Wine Director Andrey Tolmachyov joined the team to explore various wineries in Chile and to uncover the characteristics and wine culture of this beautiful and diverse terrain. Each winery seemed to focus on a similar technique, to produce harmony between the vines with the surrounding area. This practice of sustainability was present at every step including the growing, harvesting, and winemaking process for several establishments. Another interesting element of this region is that there were many French vines. Viña Errazuriz, a winery built in 1870, houses the first French grapes planted in the Aconcagua Valley. The valley contains granite soil and a sandy loam texture leading to the production of classic Bordeaux varieties. Their fresh, delicious wines are bursting with flavor and are among the world’s most noteworthy.
Vik is a beautiful and holistic getaway for wine lovers located on 11,000 acres of Chilean nature. It features a winery, restaurant, and retreat center covered in flowing gardens and intriguing sculptures. The winery itself is a state-of-the-art, highly sustainable, technological feat that captures elements of the environment fully immersing guests in the Vik experience. In this space, one of the most interesting portions of their sustainability processes is the reuse of barrels. Winemakers achieve this by scraping down the barrels to create a fresh slate. In addition to learning about these special practices, we were able to create our own red blend based on the wines we had tasted. We woke up feeling refreshed and full of knowledge from this unique experience.
Food and wine may have been the center of our attention, but we also got to experience Chilean art and artifacts. There are many spacious warehouses in Santiago that house eccentric items from the territory ranging from the 19th century to present day. It was easy to get lost wandering among a myriad of vendors who each had something to offer. Keep an eye out for furniture, art, and cutlery taken from these special spots.
Our friends we made along the way directed us to a restaurant called Tres Peces. Located in Valparaiso, this bustling restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and delicious seafood. As the plates came out, we couldn’t believe the variety of dishes based on one ingredient. Seaweed twisted into different forms before our eyes and eel came out on three separate plates, eel cheeks poached in garlic butter, soup, and fried eel tail. A staple of Chilean cuisine, expect to experience delicious seafood on our upcoming menu.
Finally, the team made their way to Buchon, a family-owned winery in the heart of the Colchagua Valley. Founded in 1887, the vineyards were built on ancient granite soil bringing minerality and depth to the wines. Originally, one of their most famous grapes, Pais, was brought to Chile to serve as wine for the Catholic church. Preserving the historic character of the valley, this grape is being used in their wines today. Buchon truly portrays the dedication Chile has to its environment, culture, and gastronomy.