From Chile with love

A love chain between places and people: we visited the pavilion of the South American country

18-08-2015
The Chilean Pavilion at Expo 2015 presents the gas

The Chilean Pavilion at Expo 2015 presents the gastronomic uniqueness of this Andean country

The “El Amor de Chile” pavilion is built as if it were a huge picnic basket containing the fruits of the South American country. The leitmotif of the exhibition is inspired by a poem by Raul Zurita and illustrates the gastronomic uniqueness of this nation, based on a chain of attentions connecting earth and men through products and dishes.

After a short video at the entrance with a couple of geography facts to give context, visitors walk up towards the first of three rooms, listening to the bursting of salt crystals from the Atacama desert. In the room of people, visitor face the protagonists, from wine producers to fishermen, working in Harry Potter inspired postcards. Then there’s the video showing breath-taking landscapes and their products in the shape of moving constellations. Finally in the third room there’s the “cube”, an interactive touch-screen which solves the people+products=gastronomic culture equation.

From theory to practice, people are invited to sit at the table in the restaurant on the ground floor. It is 48 m long and made with wood from Patagonia and here you can taste national specialties. The menu was created by national star Rodolfo Guzman (we recently wrote about him here), from Boragò in Santiago, the Chilean counterpart of Peruvian Acurio, while executive chef Tomàs Saldivia must handle the difficulties of sourcing locos or abalones in Italy, huge Oceanic molluscs to be served with sopaipillas, flour and pumpkin pancakes. The most popular dish, however, is empanadas, puff pastry pies filled with meat, eggs, and vegetables – 500 of these are wolfed each day.

A meal at the Chile Expo Milán 2015 pavilion: Abalone and Pastel de choclo

A meal at the Chile Expo Milán 2015 pavilion: Abalone and Pastel de choclo

The Chilean pavilion is rich of extraordinary numbers: each day 1,800 meals are served, second only to Uruguay in terms of volumes of food, while the consequent organic wastes are less than 5 kg, because what is left over from one preparation is then used for another one and so on. The dishes represent a culinary trip along 4,800 km, through smoky tastes and very long cooking procedures because the entire family life takes place around the hearth. Recipes are traditional but you wouldn’t tell their age as most of them have been passed on almost unchanged for over 500 years and curanto, a casserole dish with seafood, potatoes and pork, is apparently the most ancient recipe in the world.

Conferences, cooking demos, workshops and dance and music performances liven up the pavilion with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, promoting family agriculture and the valorisation of women, as women are the unquestionable protagonists of the hearth and the pavilion too: a total of 80, while men are 50.


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