Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, stretching over 4,630 kilometres “top” to “bottom”, but only as wide as 430 kilometers at the thickest region east-west. Situated on the west side of Andes and right next to Pacific ocean as well as the presence of Atacama dessert allows Chile to have a remarkably wide range of climates and thus, a huge selection of agricultural resources as well.
According to my colleague who is from Peru, a neighboring country to Chile, it is also a prosperous and stable country, something that can’t be said for many South American nations. If not for the usually prohibitive airfare, I am sure it would be a fantastic place to visit, perhaps some day…
Kiwi fruit isn’t just from Australia and New Zealand
In the mean time, we got to attend the “Flavor of Chile” event held by the Embassy of Chile in Malaysia. It was a treat of gastronomical adventure at Westin Hotel, KL. This was actually a two day event that gives Malaysian businessmen a chance to discover Chile’s wide variety of high quality products, according to ProChile director Felix De Vicente.
South American food is something of a mystery to me, prior to this dinner, if you ask me anything food related from the region, I’d probably just say Argentinian steak (from Gaucho Grill), Chilean wine, and Chilean sea bass.
During the course of the event, I got to know more than I bargained.
There were video presentation in between every dish, with quality of production that makes most travel programmes look amateur. The clips introduces different places in Chile and what it has to offer, as well as plenty of airtime with Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock – a guy who looked more like a rockstar than a chef – explaining how the ingredient is grown/catch and his method of preparation.
And then the very dish is served. Brilliant.
Quinoa Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab
The first starter was Quinao Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab, paired with Sauvignon Blanc. This was the first time I had quinoa, a grain that is high in protein balance set of amino acids, and it was delicious. It has a crunchy texture, a bit sourish, and undoubtedly perfect with a couple slices of king crab and the wine.
Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder
Next was Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder. Eel? Chowder? This was not something that was expected, but perhaps it had something to do with our familiarity with unagi – a very narrow view of eel.
This eel was more like a cross between scallop & sea bass, subtle yet delicious, with the broth and other seafood in the bowl, it was a wholesome chowder for sure. We had Chilean Chardonnay to wash it down, which was of course, lovely.
Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley
The main dish was Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley. A generous slab of smoked salmon sitting on bed of barley, accompanied by a couple mussels.
This was another good dish, but the texture of barley that doesn’t come in a dessert or drink was a little too foreign for me. The dish was served with Vina Cono Sur Pinot Noir.
Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits, and the wine
The dessert was Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits. A sweet ending to the wonderful dinner. Due to my allergy to kiwi, this was the only dish I did not completely finish. The sorbet, made from pureed Chilean berries, were excellent.
The dessert wine Late Harvest, however, were a tad too sweet for my liking. It would probably be great if served at almost freezing temperature at a smaller dosage, but alas, this was an event with hundreds of peopld, one can’t be asking too much.
Chilean Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock & Haze
It was a lovely night punctuated by a visit of the famous chef to our table and did a autograph on Haze’s drawing of his dishes. The drawing later appeared on a Chilean newspaper too. 😀
So now, when will I be able to go there.