Hola todos! Those of you following me from the East Coast of the United States (you know, all you wicked awesome New Englandahs, enjoying some clam chowda with Autocrat coffee milk while weathering another nor’easter) Chile has finally set their clocks back so our clocks have synchronized.
I had a very fun weekend considering I have an 8 page literary analysis due May 6th hanging over my head. Well, Friday was spent holed up in the library of the Universidad Diego Portales researching for said analysis so that wasn’t very fun. But Saturday and Sunday were pretty great!
On Saturday we had a trip to Viña Viu Manent in Colchagua, about two and a half hours from Santiago. As a vocabulary refresher, a viña is a vineyard. Yes, I know I’ve already posted about visiting a viña but I’m in Chile, therefore there is lots of excellent wine to be sampled!
Our visit included a tour in a horse drawn carriage of the grape fields and a tour of the distillery, where we got to try a red wine directly from the tap of an enormous steel tank. We were shown the machinery used to harvest, separate, and juice the grapes and our guide explained the new eco-friendly procedures the vineyard employs such as recycling the skins and stems of the grapes to use as fertilizer.
Next we were told we would have a chance to make our own wine! We broke into two teams and were given measuring cups, art supplies to make our brand label, and four wines to mix: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Chardonnay (also plenty of crackers and water!). Hilarity ensued while we pretended to know what we were talking about as we tasted and mixed the wines. My group invented the label Las 3 Montañas, and I will upload a picture after my friend sends it to me. Sadly we lost to the opposing team’s label Vio Austin. The prize for each winning team member was a bottle of regular Viu Manent wine as well as a bottle of Viu Austin; the vineyard people reproduced their mixture and also reprinted their label design which was really fun!
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT FOR THOSE OVER 21:
You can buy Viu Manent wine in Massachusetts from Bayside Wine and Spirits in Avon, Massachusetts! ¡Cómpralo y disfrutalo! (Buy it and enjoy!)
On Sunday, I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep from moving the clocks back an hour and at noon met up with a group from CAUC (Student organization of the Universidad Cátolica that helps foreign students socialize with chilean students). The event was a cooking workshop, where we had an excellent time eating sopaipillas and learning to make empanadas.
Sopaipillas are a kind of fried dough with pumpkin or squash in the dough. We had it with pebre, which is a kind of salsa made with tomato, onion, garlic, and herbs. They are traditionally made and eaten on rainy days, and are delicious!
Next we learned how to make empanadas, a sort of large dumpling wrapped in a pastry-like dough and fried or baked. Empanadas are a staple in the Chilean diet, and can be purchased on every street corner with a wide variety of fillings. We learned to make the most traditional empanada, pino, which is filled with beef, onions, raisins, black olives, and a hard boiled egg and baked.
If you want to make your own pino empanadas, they’re super fun and easy to make and I’ve linked to a recipe here.
Besides making and eating the food, I had an excellent time socializing and talking with the group. There were three Chilean students from CAUC, a woman from Spain studying for her doctorate in Chile, four students from France, and my gringüita friend and I. We talked about everything from the political systems in our various countries of origin, favorite foods, our living arrangements in Chile, and more. It was lots of fun and great multicultural experience!