Category Archives: Beverages

WINE TASTING AND PISCO SOURS IN CHILE

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Drinks in Chile with Nery, Executive Assistant

Nery with Pisco Sours

Nery ready to taste Pisco Sours

Chilean wine is one of the most exquisite in the world. During my visit in La Serena, we had a late dinner business meeting at one of the local restaurants where their specialty is steak and wine. The Coquimbo region is well known for the production of Pisco and table grapes.  So tasting wine seemed like a must-do that night. The local restaurant offered varieties of Chardonnay, Carbernet Franc, Carbernet Sauvignon and Merlot. That night, I tasted different Merlots and accompanied them with fresh Marraquetas (fresh bread), butter and mouthwatering short ribs.

Wine tasting in Chile

Wine tasting in Chile

Pisco Sour was another drink that we tasted the night before we left La Serena. This sweet-tart, cold, and refreshing national cocktail of Peru, is consumed in Chile as well. Made of pisco, lemon juice and sweetener, this sour formula makes every occasion more enjoyable.

Pisco Sours, Chile

Pisco sours, a popular Chile beverage

The meal we had that night at Mario’s Restaurant, a small, local place located a few steps from the beach, consisted of choritos (mussels) in green sauce, oysters, gambas (shrimp), machas (razor clams), scoop of flaked crab, locos (abalone), and rice. Wow! As I type this, my stomach is growling for this appetizing sea-food and my mind reminiscing a memorable night at La Serena.

Food and Wine, Chile

Fresh seafood paired with Chilean wine

Chilean Cafe

Chilean Coffee

We hiked up to the Cerro de la Virgen, just north of Santiago. The view offers vast panoramas of the entire Elqui Valley and the city of Santiago. However, it’s hot up there and a refreshing drink is always needed. So we tasted this traditional drink named Mote con Huesillo (husked wheat with peaches). Though its appearance may not be the best, it is sweet and refreshing. Just perfect for a Sunday afternoon at the mountain enjoying the nice view of the Chilean capital.

Mote en Chile

Refreshing traditional drink, Mote con Huesillo

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Argentina

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Argentina with Francesca, AIDE Abroad’s Executive Director

Facturas can be found on every street corner with tempting window sight of panaderia, a bakery

Facturas can be found on almost every street corner with tempting panaderia (bakery) windows displaying a vast selection

Before I studied abroad in Argentina, I anticipated consuming lots of steak and wine, two items for which the country is world renowned. I even knew about alfajores, a traditional dulce de leche sandwich cookie confection, but thought they were a bit sweet. I never imagined I would be torn between French and Argentine pastries!

It wasn’t long after I arrived, when my group made the 24-hour bus trip from Buenos Aires to San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, that I came to discover the medialuna. After being cramped in a bus for most of the previous day and overnight, we stopped for an early breakfast in the foothills of the Andes. Breakfast was simple: strong, steaming coffee served in metal pots, and heavenly half-moon shaped pastries known as “medialunas”. They were fresh, still warm, and light. I wondered, out loud, how many people eat.  One? It didn’t seem enough. Two? Was that too many? My Resident Director knew!  “Most people eat one,” he told me, “but “los gordos” eat two.”  Despite the warning, I soon ate two, and spent the rest of my time in Argentina sampling a wide range of medialunas and other facturas. Who knew a country so famous for its beef and wine could also compete with their divine pastries?

I have managed to find spots in the US that specialize in facturas argentinas. When lived in Miami, I frequented the Buenos Aires Bakery and Café, and here in Austin the Buenos Aires Café also offers a selection of facturas that can cure any cravings.

Factura Selection

Factura selection

Factura is the generic name given to a delicious collection of Argentinean sweet pastries. Some of these facturas are of European origin. Facturas come in different shapes and with a wide variety of fillings.

Facturas are generally eaten for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack between 17:00 and 20:00, but are not considered a dessert.

The most common factura is the medialuna, which literally translates as “half-moon”

The most common factura is the medialuna, which literally translates as “half-moon”