September is a month of celebration in Chile. Big events take place over two days of national holidays on the 18th and 19th. The reason of course is independence from Spain. You all knew that though right? It became official (sort of) back on the 18th September 1810 when the first governing body was put in place. Sadly the next 10 years and a bit, saw a period of warfare and violence until peace returned in 1826. That’s the very brief Dave history lesson done with. Now onto what I know more about, booze and food.
Chicha & Terremotto
There are two drinks of choice during the festivities, First up we have chicha. A lightly alcoholic beverage made from wine grapes, usually Pais. What makes this different from what we all know as Chilean wines is that it is still fermenting. The next day is not that comfortable, trust me.
If you don’t fancy getting on it on chicha then you have an alternative. Terremotto – the earthquake. The base of this is Pipeno which is an off dry white wine (you can use any white wine though). Add a slug of Pisco, a scoop of pineapple ice cream and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and serve in a litre glass. I know that you will all be rushing out after reading this to get all you need to recreate this and wow your friends with your new found, Chilean inspired, cocktail skills. This delicious drink is named so brilliantly due to the way it makes your legs shake after drinking a few, like you are in and earthquake!
Chilean Food over this period of celebration doesn’t really deviate from the normal day to day fare but there is definitely more focus placed on empanada’s, filled with meat, onions, boiled egg, olives and peppers. These can only be described as the Chilean equivalent of our Cornish pasty. The Chileans I know don’t like this but it is true. Barbecued meat on a stick is also very popular. Super simple, very tasty and loads of different marinades to work with.
If there’s one thing I can conclude about this time in Chile, it’s that this is a time for spending time with family and friends. Free time to enjoy live music and a festival atmosphere that grips the whole country and force your way through one more glass of chicha and another pasty!