To cross Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is not only a uniquely extraordinary experience due to the beauty of the road and landscape, but also means entering into a world of flavours, aromas and excitement thanks to the specialities of the Chilean and Argentinian cuisine, and the exceptional local wines.
Both Chile and Argentina offer a rich variety of fresh fish and meat of exceptional quality. Argentian beef and lamb, of the finest choice, are known and appreciated throughout the world for their quality and flavour, but tasting them during the journey, right up to the moment of leaving, our clients will be able to experiment with the particular methods of local cooking. These include the curanto, that is, the traditional Mapuche cuisine, where meat and fish are buried in a trench filled with burning charcoal, and the cordero al palo, spit-roast lamb, which consists of ‘crucifying’ the lamb on a special device to roast it, at a very precise slant, on the embers in such a way that the meat cooks perfectly in 5/6 hours and remains tender, tasty and free of fat: on our tour we taste the cordero al palo in a historical estancia belonging to Tehuelche guachos.
As well as meat, the other great actor on the stage of Patagonian cooking is fish: from the seafood, the fruits of the sea, exquisite and plentiful thanks to the 5000 kilometres of Chilean ocean coastline, to the freshest fresh-water and salted fish, including salmon and the Patagonian trout, widespread also in Argentina, all in addition to langoustines, squid and centolla, the delicious king crab of Ushuaia, which our clients can savour facing the bay of the ‘end of the world’.
Another speciality which we often enjoy, also while crossing the steppe, is guanaco prosciutto: this most popular and widespread animal even lends itself to this exquisite dish.
For anyone who passes New Year’s Eve with us on the Carretera Austral, we stop for the night right on the Chilean ocean fiords, on the Carretera Austral, in one of the little typical restaurants, situated backing onto the jetty and run by a family of fisher folk, who provide cod caught that day accompanied by the best local wines.
At this point some words must be said about South American wines: Chilean wines are both famous throughout the world and notoriously expensive, and in addition Chile is known for growing the vine Carménère, of French origin, but which spread in the Andes regions after it had disappeared from France due to phylloxera. The Argentinian red wines, ideal for accompanying the flavoursome dishes of local meat, are appreciated by connoisseurs of every country, but the white wines are equally excellent and accompany our dinner of fresh fish at Bariloche, and the centolla, king crab, at Ushuaia.