food rituals to take part in Patagonia

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Having a mate

The first sip is strong and bitter. Facing extremely cold temperatures, gauchos heat the water – without boiling it – and prepare their mate to start their workday. The infusion usually has its own language and code, which are passed down from generation to generation – offering a sweetened mate, for instance, is a sign of ulterior motives.

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Trying the seafood

Fish, shellfish and crustaceans – including the centolla (the famous king crab) – are part of the menu in coastal areas. Salmon, conger, sea bass, hake and trout appear in several recipes, mainly in smoked form.

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Gathering around a bonfire

Preparing a lamb al palo, slowly roasted for five or six hours, is practically an invitation for some kind of celebration. A good bottle of wine – produced in Patagonia, where the highlight is the Pinot Noir –, the omnipresent potatoes, fried pies and an accordion are usually the best accompaniments.

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Cooking in a pit

To prepare the dish curanto al hoyo, meat cuts, shellfish, cold cuts and vegetables are placed over hot rocks in a pit. Then, everything is covered with nalca (an edible plant native to Chile and Argentina) leaves for the cooking process.

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Picking berries

Picking berries in the summer is a classic activity. Blackberries, raspberries and other fruits are used to produce ice creams, juices, desserts and even liqueurs – like the one made with box-leaved barberry, a dark ball that is a powerful antioxidant and a symbol of Patagonia. And it holds a secret: people who try it always go back to the south of the world.

 

LATAM has flights to many destinations in Argentine Patagonia, including Bariloche, Calafate, Ri´o Gallegos and Ushuaia. In Chilean Patagonia, LATAM has flights to Puerto Montt, Balmaceda, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.