Bring travel home: Chile

Introducing Bring travel home

One of the things that makes travel special is the chance to switch off and explore new cultures. And with more time on our hands than usual, we have the opportunity to do just that. So for this series, we’ll be curating things to watch, read, listen and eat to explore different cultures from the comfort of your own home.

🇨🇱 Chile

At 2,670 miles-long, Chile is famed for its extremes of environment from the glacier fields and fjords of the Andes to the parched Atacama Desert to the relentless Pacific that forms its huge coastline. Diversity is to be found across its culture as well. Not only born out of the rocky politics of the 20th century but also out of the fusion of indigenous and Spanish ways of life. So sit back, grab a pisco sour, and enjoy Chile from your sofa.


Watch

FILMS

Machuca (2004)

Directed by Chilean filmmaker Andrés Wood, this film earned a nomination for Best Iberoamerican Film in the 2005 Ariel Awards. Set in 1973 Santiago during Salvador Allende's socialist government until shortly after General Augusto Pinochet's military coup, it tells the story of friendship between the working-class, indigenous Pedro Machuca and the privileged, European Gonzalo Infante. As their friendship develops in the midst of revolution, class and political divide pulls each child back into their respective status quos: one of wealth and safety, the other of poverty and violence.

Watch the trailer and stream on Kanopy (with a library card).

The 33 (2015)

Disaster strikes in the summer of 2010 as a copper mine collapses in Copiapo, Chile, trapping 33 men underground. This retelling of the epic quest for survival is based on the incredible true story. With family, friends and the rest of the world watching, their rescue becomes a race against time and a true test of the human spirit.

Watch the trailer and stream on Amazon Prime.

DOCUMENTARIES

180 Degrees South (2010)

Conquerors of the Useless, or simply 180° South, is a 2010 documentary directed by Chris Malloy that covers the journey of Jeff Johnson as he travels from Ventura, California to Chilean Patagonia, retracing the 1968 trip that his heroes Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face) completed. Along the way, he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado - a recently active volcano and notoriously difficult climb. Jeff's life takes a turn when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it.

Watch the trailer and buy the DVD on Amazon. Sorry, we couldn't find a legal stream in the UK.


Read

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin (1977)

An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land. Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Chatwin is fueled by an unmistakable lust for life, adventure and a singular gift for storytelling. He treks through “the uttermost part of the earth” - that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome - in search of almost-forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. An instant classic upon publication in 1977, In Patagonia is a masterpiece that has cast a long shadow upon the literary world.

Get the book on Amazon.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982)

Allende was born in Peru to Chilean parents and was forced to flee to Venezuela for 17 years after the death of her close relation, the Chilean President, Salvador Allende in 1973. It was during her time in exile that she found the inspiration for her breakthrough novel. The result was an epic family saga that spans three generations and has been heralded as one of the most important novels of our time. House of the Spirits uses magical realism to tell the loosely-based-on-true-events history of an unnamed Latin American country through the story of the Trueba family. Her debut manages to be historical, relatable and magical.

Get the book on Amazon.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda (1924)

Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda is a Chilean national treasure who came to be known as the “People’s Poet”. Finding fame with his writing, he explored the sensuality of love and the insatiable beauty of existence and led a life charged with political and poetic fervour. In 1924, Neruda completed and published one of his most critically acclaimed and original works, the collection of love poems titled Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada but published in English translation as Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. This work quickly marked Neruda as an important Chilean poet and it remains one of the most celebrated and admired books of erotic poetry published in the last hundred years, with over a million copies sold worldwide.

Get the book on Amazon.


Listen

Nicolas Jaar

The Chilean American composer and electronic artist grew up between Santiago and New York City. Among his notable works are the albums Space Is Only Noise (2011), Pomegranates (2015) and Sirens (2016). Over time, Jaar’s music has become increasingly confrontational and politically charged. A factor, perhaps, of both his home countries being in states of violent unrest, albeit of different forms - riots and uprisings across Chile, a slow and ugly unravelling in the U.S.

Listen on Spotify.

Ricardo Villalobos

Ricardo Villalobos is a Chilean-born German electronic music producer and DJ. Ever the leftwing idealist, he still has faith in the dancefloor as a site for communal living. “The music manages to meld the classes together, as long as the dancefloor is bigger than the VIP area,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. He is well known for his work in the minimal techno and microhouse genres, and is one of the most significant figures in today's minimal techno scene.

Listen on Spotify.

Gondwana

Gondwana is all about the chilled vibes. The band, formed in 1987, has enjoyed widespread success across the United States and Jamaica. They are continuously evolving their style and are still an active and popular group with nine albums to their name.

Listen on Spotify.


Eat and drink

Chilean food is fairly simple but varied. Seafood, beef, fruit and vegetables all feature heavily. The cuisine stems from a combination of traditional Spanish cuisine, Chilean indigenous culture and local ingredients and is heavily influenced by Peruvian as well as German, Italian and French cuisines.

RECIPES

Ceviche

There are hundreds of versions of ceviche which can be found all over Latin America, especially in Chile and Peru. Locally in Chile, it is made with raw fish (often sea bass or pomfret), marinated and cooked with lemon juice before being served up with onions, garlic, smoked chili, coriander, cumin, salt, olive oil and red peppers.

Check out a recipe by Pilar Hernandez.

Empanadas

A favourite snack in Chile, these baked pies or, literally, "enbreadeds" are available pretty much everywhere. In Chile, the most traditional empanada filling is called pino, a mixture of minced meat, onions, raisins, black olives and hard-boiled eggs.

Check out a recipe by Sarah Ozimek.

Tres Leches Cake

A very traditional sweet treat of Chile is the tres leches cake. The three eponymous dairy products are evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream. Once baked, this very light sponge (made by whipping egg whites into the batter mix) is then soaked in sweet milk and topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

Check out a recipe by Pilar Hernandez.

DRINK

Pisco Sour

The pisco sour is of Peruvian origin, but typical of the cuisines of both Peru and Chile. The Chilean version uses Chilean pisco and pica lime, but excludes the bitters and egg white you would find in the Peruvian version. Other variants of the cocktail include those created with fruits like pineapple or plants such as coca leaves.

Check out this cocktail recipe by Gaby Dalkin.

DELIVERY

If you don't fancy rustling up the food yourself, why not order in? Here are some recommendations of great restaurants and eateries from our home, London, that are still delivering. Whilst some might not be technically “Chilean”, we have included them because Peruvian restaurants are among the most popular ethnic restaurants in Chile and there is a huge Peruvian influence in many of the most popular Chilean dishes.

Paladar, Elephant & Castle

Paladar’s main mission is to showcase the best of Latin American culture. Order traditional Chilean food such as grilled meats, a variety of side dishes and delicious Chilean wines.

Order from Paladar.

Andina, Piccadilly and Shoreditch

A solid Andean food experience through good food and delicious drinks.

Order from Andina.

Ceviche, Soho

Award winning and authentic Andean café-restaurant, serving generous, healthy and hearty dishes packed with flavour.

Order from Ceviche.


A special thanks to Camila Massu and Katy Gurney for all their help and guidance on this article. We hope you enjoyed being temporarily transported to Chile. Next up, we’re taking you to Vietnam. Send Ben an email along with your suggestions and we’ll give you a £10 Amazon voucher if it makes the cut.

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Team Pluto

Team Pluto

Written by the travel lovers at Pluto HQ