Traveling through Chile - Valdivia Chile


Our visit to Valdivia was a pleasant and relaxing one. We chose to visit Valdivia because my (Krista) sister, Lara, is studying there for six months; we picked up Lara a few days into our trip and she served as a great translator when my meager Spanish skills wouldn’t do. We enjoyed having her with us for the remainder of our trip.

Valdivia sits at the confluents of the Calle-Calle, Cau-Cau, and Valdivia rivers and sits only about 10 miles from the coast. Parts of the city are located on islands only accessible by one or two bridges.

 

The city is known for its beautiful riverside market filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, queso, and seafood; the sea lions make their way up the river and hang out at the market waiting for the fishermen to gut the day’s catch and for handouts from tourists. The city was colonized by Germany during some portion of the mid 1800’s and subsequently it has a distinct German influence. This influence has provided Valdivia with a plethora of good chocolate stores and German-style breweries and restaurants, all of which make the Wabrek-Johnston clan very happy.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at the Kuntsmann brewery where the upper-class locals dressed up very nicely for a dinner out. I enjoyed pork with a miel bier (honey beer) glaze accompanied by spƤtzle and Beau partook in a German/Chilean dish of steak a la pobre—steak and French fries covered by fried eggs. Another highlight of our time in Valdivia was a visit to Entrelagos—the most famous of the chocolate stores. We drooled over the display cases of chocolate as the aroma of chocolate and ice cream permeated the air. The Bavarian-clothed teenage girls working at Entrelagos would follow patrons around the store filling boxes of chocolates to the customer’s liking. We then treated our host family of a few days (and Lara’s for a semester) to ice cream and enjoyed it at a nearby park. Finding pistachio helado (ice cream) is very common and was very good every time we tried it. Other common flavors in Chile that aren’t so common in the States are dulce de leche, lemon, pineapple, almond, mango, coconut, and fig with walnuts. 


While in Valdivia, we stayed with our host family; there was Washington and Gloria living in the front house with some boarders. The back house inhabited by Mirian (Momo), Cholie, and Luis; Gloria’s sister, mother, and father, respectively. When Lara was gone the language barrier was great, but we managed to cook several meals without any problems. Mama Cholie, Gloria, and Momo taught me to make Cazuela, Chilean-style salmon (farmed by Gloria’s brother near Puerto Montt) and Pastel de Choclo. Lara continues to be pampered by her Chilean hosts and their home cooking. She has mentioned that the Chilean cuisine is light in protein, so she has taken to drinking more milk and eating a bit more cheese.