The experience starts with us driving downtown to La Vega, a working market that is the largest in Chile, where throngs of residents crowd the stalls from dawn until early afternoon each day. After exploring the market maze and admiring the variety of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, spices, and meats, we start picking out ingredients for the meal we will prepare later with our chef-guide. Our selection is unlimited, so we’re free to request anything we think looks tasty or weird and wonderful to add to our dishes. We could select Chilean olives, native fruit such as lúcuma, or vegetables such as potatoes found only on the island of Chiloe. Our guide - who is also a sommelier - will talk us through the selection of the best wine to accompany our choice.
We cross over the bridge to the other side of the Mapocho river and head to nearby Mercado Central, a fresh fish market with wonderful architecture, that is popular with locals and tourists alike. Here we select the final ingredients for our gourmet Chilean meal before driving to the chef's house.
Once we arrive, we start to prepare our chosen meal in the chef's kitchen. Perhaps we will choose albacore a la plancha (grilled swordfish) or pastel de jaiba (crab pie) - it all depends on the catch of the day and what is in season! While the pots are simmering away, we will enjoy a tasty Chilean cocktail and talk with the chef about the ingredients and their relationship with Chilean culture. We then enjoy some delicious appetizers with our aperitif before sitting down to the main meal to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
Satisfied with our downtown exploration, the home-cooked food, and exclusive Chilean wine, we are driven back to our hotel to rest.