Today is Chile’s National Day and I have to say, these people really know how to celebrate! I think we should borrow a few of these traditions come July 4th.
My host “Mamá” and I went to her Son’s house for a huge BBQ (Keep in mind that the temperature has been in the 40s this week and I mean Fahrenheit!). Luckily it warmed up a bit today. I mean it wasn’t what I’d consider BBQ weather (it’s essentially March here), but eating outside was doable!
Step 1: Start up the Barbie
Step 2: Start Drinking
Once we got the fire going it was time to try something called Chicha. One very kind woman spent a good 5 minutes explaining to me, in thorough detail, how Chicha is made. Of course, I only understood about every third word, because she was speaking Spanish, but I did look it up later.
Chicha is traditionally made from fermented corn. The Chileans, however, use the term for other fermented fruit juices as well, and in this case, I’m pretty sure what we had was fermented grape juice. It was delicious! If I hadn’t understood, “fermentada”, I would not have guessed that it was alcoholic.
But we couldn’t stop there. There was also a round of beer and wine! By the time this progression had ended I was definitely ready to eat something.
Step 3: Eat till you drop
So after the drinking round was over, it was time for the eat-athon!
First we had empanadas (of course), followed by a round of corn, kale salad and lettuce salad. Next was the meat course: chicken, steak, sausages, sausages and more sausages. I gave in to the peer pressure to have some “choripan“, which is like a hot dog with “chorizo”, a type of spanish sausage, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat the “blood sausage”. I’m not a big fan of sausage to begin with, and this one just looked too much like it’s name. Maybe if I thought it was nutritious or wasn’t already eating a ton of other meats…
After the meat round, we had some delicious, grilled, stuffed peppers. The family warned me that they were, “picante”. (Spicy? Please! Turns out Chileans aren’t accustomed to as much spicy food as Central Americans are).
There was one new food that I just loved! Allow me to introduce you to the fried-egg-grilled-bellpepper (I didn’t learn the Chilean term).
I would have never thought to put these two foods together, but it was awesome! I’m definitely going to start making this regularly at home.
Step 4: Celebrate with Music
The last course of the meal was dessert, Mamá’s homemade apple pie and bunt cake, paired with coffee, tea and a few hours of guitar led sing-alongs.
This family is so talented! They didn’t just sing, they instantly broke into intricate 4, 5, and even 6 part harmonies and they ALL played guitar, so the guitar kept switching hands as a new member of the family would remember a song they wanted to play.
It was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday! I was so glad to be a part of it.
- ¡Felices Fiestas Patrias! (paulajhunt.wordpress.com)
- Chile: Happy Independence Day to a real success story in Latin America (babalublog.com)
- Observations of the Chilean Vida (paulatraversingchile.wordpress.com)