An important aspect of the Manso's cultural experience is its cuisine. The majority of our food comes from the riverside farms we encounter on our journey. The rest is hand chosen from the local market. Thus, our meals are all natural - no preservatives, no hormones, no pesticides. With chef Gabriela Stephens, at the helm of the kitchen, everyday involves an eclectic mix of sumptuous, traditional South American meals. With vegetarian versions as well, we are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Gabriela takes full advantage of the locally raised beef, lamb, chicken, and vegetables, combined with an array of seafood and shellfish. We are able to accommodate special diets, but must be informed prior to the trip.
The following is a sampling of some of the South American foods we provide on our tour:
Smoked Salmon: Harvested on the South coast of Chile, the Salmon is then smoked in local smokehouses.
Fresh Trout: For those who enjoy fly -fishing, the trout of the southern Andes are not stocked fish.
Miel de Ulmo and/or Avellano: Local farmers utilize indigenous trees to cultivate this honey on the Chilean side of the Andes.
Chancaca: Sweet molasses like a block of raw sugar.
Miel de palma: Similar to maple syrup and delicious on pancakes, miel de palma is made from the sap of palm trees that thrive in the desert of Northern Chile.
Dulce De Leche or Manjar: A popular, thick, caramel-colored sweet used in both Chile and Argentina in pastries and ice cream, dulce de leche, or as the Chileans call it manjar, is often eaten by itself.
Cazuela: A Chilean style stew usually in a clear broth with chunks of beef and vegetables and potatoes.
Pastel de Choclo: A Chilean potpie with meat, corn and other vegetables typically served in clay bowls.
Pastel de papas: A Chilean potpie with meat, vegetables and sauces topped with mashed potatoes and typically served in clay bowls.
Humitas: Much like the tamale of Mexico, humitas are ground corn with spices tightly packed in corn leaves and then boiled. (not in season until late January)
Filet, Bife de Chorizo and Blood Sausage: Argentine beef specialties. The flavor and texture of beef is affected significantly by an animal's diet and habitat. The best Argentine beef comes from cows whose diet is mainly pampa grass. This thick, vitamin-rich grass is unique to Argentina.
Asado: A traditional South American asado is a slow cooked barbequed lamb generally accompanied by potatoes, ensalada chilena (salad) and pan amasado (homemade bread).
Pollo al disco: A popular dish in both Argentina and Chile. A thick iron wok set onto burning coals both smokes and poaches chicken and vegetables in a spicy, yet savory sauce.
Chilean Seafood: Oysters, mussels and other shellfish thrive along the long lengthy coast of Chile.
Pisco Sour: Originally from Peru, pisco is a brandy or aguardiente distilled from white muscat grapes grown in Pisco, Peru and Elqui Valley, Chile. The word Pisco comes from Quechua though there is some discrepancy about the meaning. Pisco Sour consists of pisco, egg whites, small limes and powdered sugar.
Mate: Also called yerba mate, mate is a tealike beverage, popular in South America. It is brewed from the dried leaves and stemlets of a perennial tree, Ilex paraguarensis. Derived from the Quechua word 'matí', 'mate' names the gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) that is used for the drink. Mate is sipped through a metal straw, called a bombilla, and out of a small gourd or cup. Mate contains caffeine as well as vitamins and minerals and is usually brought out for social gatherings.
The basics of the custom: There is one person, called the servidor, who prepares the drink by packing the gourd 3/4 full with the tea. The servidor heats water which he pours into the gourd and passes it to one person in the circle. Once the person has sipped all the tea, he passes it back to the servidor. The servidor refills the gourd and passes it to the next person in the circle. If someone no longer wants mate, when he passes it back to the servidor and says, "gracias."
Vino: Chile is known for its red wine or vino. Most red wines come from the lower valleys of the Western Andes at the latitude of Santiago.