It was really hard to imagine good food was going to be possible in the driest hot desert on earth but good food was all we could find! In fact, all the food we had in Chile was outstanding. Our guide told us, “Unlike the food grown in America, we do not use chemicals – it’s all natural and better tasting.” One of the most important local crops to Chileans is quinoa, a now super trendy global food once rejected by Americans. We found ourselves one afternoon dining in San Pedro, a tiny Atacama desert town, where we tried all the dishes with quinoa on the menu at La Estaka we could find, including a quinoa risotto!
Food is very important to me…it fills your soul in a way nothing else can and sometimes, it can be the best part of my day. I was quite nervous about what the quality of food would be like in South America especially considering I live in one of the food capitals of the world. I was so pleasantly surprised at what was placed before me. Every single meal we ate was better than the last and almost all the restaurants we dined at had menus that changed daily to reflect what fresh produce or seasonal item they received that day.
Also, writing this post has officially made me starving.
A simple quinoa risotto recipe I picked up on our Chile travels:
“Sauté a chopped onion with 250 grams of button mushrooms in halves and a crushed clove of garlic. Add a cup of chopped vegetables and a glass of white wine. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add a cup of quinoa. Mix gently, adding a cup of chicken stock gradually for the quinoa to cook. When the excess liquid has evaporated, add a spoonful of butter, another one of Parmisan cheese, chopped basil leaves and mix everything together. Serve with grilled sour tomatoes for a touch of color, flavor and contrast.”