Chile is becoming one of the Southern Hemisphere’s major food exporters and one of the best Latin American countries with which to do business because of its political and economic stability, according to Chile’s Trade Commission, ProChile. SmartBrief recently asked Chilean chef Matias Palomo for reasons American restaurant owners might want to consider adding Chilean flavor to their menu. An edited version of his response follows. ProChile presented a sampling of Chilean food and wine at the NRA Show 2011 at Booth 6829.
How would you characterize Chilean food?
Chilean food is interesting because of all of the different types of weather that the country gets — there are nine kinds of Mediterranean climate throughout the country. The diverse climate contributes to a great variety in our food products. Our chefs use fish from Easter Island, king crab from the south, guavas from the north and Chilean papaya or carica, to name a few. We have great olive oil and wine, 60 different kinds of mushrooms and very good cooks coming from all over the world to use our products.
How does Chile’s large coastline shape its cuisine?
We have 250 kinds of fish and 60 kinds of seafood. Not all of them are used in Chilean cuisine, but young chefs are doing research all of the time to bring all of these fishes to the table.
What types of restaurants are the best fit or could easily incorporate Chilean menu items?
Fine dining and pastry shops, because Chile has such great, unique products, such as carica, morrells and truffles. Of course, we continue creating products.
What types of Chilean wine would you recommend?
Chile has tremendous variety in its wine selection because of the diverse climate that I mentioned before, and we produce most types of wine. One selection that Chile is especially know for is our carmenere. We also make very good cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.