Chile has been a really neat country to learn more about this past month. I ended up following mainly two streams of focus – politics and food.
Before this month I only knew a little bit about Chile’s place in Cold War, but it was fascinating to get deeper scope on Chile’s recent political history – The Chile Reader was indispensable. I learned more about Chile’s shift first towards socialism, then Pinochet’s coup and it’s ongoing influence on Chilean literature, and then the incredible plebiscite that democratically removed Pinochet. Chile’s modern politics are also interesting, particularly their recent leaps forward on LGBTQ rights (I strongly recommend A Fantastic Woman), and the strained relationship with Indigenous peoples that feels very familiar as a Canadian.
As for the cuisine – what a delight this month was! I had no exposure to Chilean food apart from wine before this month, but there’s so many great dishes. I got to try two Chilean restaurants on opposite sides of Canada – Vancouver’s Puro Chile and Montreal’s La Chilenita. As for dishes, I tried pebre, a completo (with jote), a chacarero sandwich, Chilean empanada and salad, spicy mashed potatoes with merquén, and po’e from Rapa Nui. It was fun to taste-test Chilean wine with my dad, as was learning two good pisco cocktails – the Chilean version of a pisco sour, and a pineapple-basil camahueto.
Chile is definitely on my list of places I’d like to visit – particularly the Atacama desert, with their stunning night skies and beautiful landscape (and giant hand!)