Merken is made from the Cacho de Cabra chile (translates to Goat Horn). The chile itself is extremely hot, though merken – which is mixed with salt and spices such as cumin and coriander – tends to vary in strength. Generally it’s mild. It’s more smoky and flavorful than spicy hot. The indigenous Mapuche people in the Araucanía Region of Chile use the all in one spice mix heartedly in soups and as a rub for meat. Merken is available for purchase in the United States at Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods Market.
Cookbook Author, Tour Leader, and Foodie Liz Caskey is a resident of Santiago, Chile, which felt the effects of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred this past Saturday February 27th. At the time of writing, more than 700 people have been reported killed in the quake and aftershocks have continued to frighten residents. The epicenter of the quake happened off the coast of Maule, not far from the city of Concepción, which has seen the most damage. Media reports in the United States keep referring to the devastation in Southern Chile (in my opinion Southern Chile starts south of Temuco) and give the impression of a total collapse of infrastructure. Here Caskey answers a few questions about what is actually going on:
My article on Pisco – which was the culmination of several years of research with the spirit in Peru, Chile, and the United States – appeard today in the food section of the Los Angeles Times (U.S. sipping pisco again – latimes.com). A major U.S. newspaper has yet to print… Read More →
Whenever I’m in Chile one of the first things I do, considering I’m usually tired after a long flight is to go to a diner or café and order a sandwich and a beer. As I described in this earlier post, Chile does sandwiches right. There are dozens of them and most involve grilled steak and avocado. Apart from some of the sandwiches show up on restaurant menus near the Chilean border in Peru or Argentina, I’ve never encountered a Chilean sandwich shop. Anywhere.
LAN Airline’s inflight Magazine IN, has a great article about a village in Southern Chile founded by Italian immigrants one hundred years ago that has kept its heritage alive. I’ve never heard about this town, so I was instantly fascinated by it and thinking about when I can work in… Read More →
The NYTimes explores the newly evolving dining scene in Valaparaiso, Chile. Writer Vanessa Gregory hits up Poblenou, Pasta e Vino,La Concepción, and a few others:
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The first time I really began to love Chilean sandwiches, and notice their mass appeal, was in the Southern Patagonian town – the very last on the continent – of Punta Arenas after a quarter of the earth flight from Quito, Ecuador. I was in airports for close to 15 hours and landed late in the evening, though it was still bright out as the sun didn’t set until early morning in that time of year.
In downtown Santiago, Chile there sits an always crowded market known as Mercado Central. On tours of downtown its a standard tourist stop, though it has yet to lose it’s authenticity as this photo reveals. Seafood is the draw, either from the overpriced eateries in the center where old school… Read More →
When most people think of anything culinary in Chile they think of wine, but there is much more to the culinary range of this country than just swilling Carmenere in the Maipo Valley. Chilean food on the most part is quite boring, when compared to that of Peru or Argentina, but there are a few areas/foods of interests that are beyond extraordinary.