South America

Uncorked Cooking Workshop | Santiago | Chile

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While traveling the world, one thing I have come to appreciate is the vast choice of spices that are available in different regions. Exploring those flavors is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. When researching cooking classes in Santiago before our trip, Uncorked stood out from the rest. I was a bit hesitant at first because of the cost for the package but in the end, it was well worth it!

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Our tour started in the market district of Santiago. Read more about our tour of Mercado Central here. From the markets, we took the train back to the kitchen. We were immediately impressed with the beautiful, spacious facilities. Since we were in Chile in the off-season, it was just the two of us in our class but this gorgeous kitchen could comfortably accomodate larger groups.

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Mercado Central | Santiago | Chile

Despite the major setback of being robbed in Valparaiso, we forged on with the rest of our trip. Up next on our itinerary was the Uncorked Cooking Workshop. As it was the off season in Chile, we had the whole tour to ourselves and after our previous day, it was just what we needed!

We began our tour by meeting Eliana outside of the Mercado Central and had a tour of the local, fresh seafood. Each vendor had their own stall and and tried to entice the passersby. The lovely gentleman in the hat below told us the folk tales surrounding the historic space as we browsed the fish in his stall. We walked through the restaurant area and continued across the bridge to the other market areas.

Because it was a down time in terms of holidays requiring flowers, the next space we visited was rather empty but featured beautiful floral arrangements nonetheless.

We continued wandering through each of the other market stalls and saw new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Every time I visit a new open air market, it amazes me how many varieties of tomatoes and potatoes and peppers there are all over the world. And oh, the color! I can never get enough.

We purchased a few fresh items and headed back to the kitchen for our cooking class, which should definitely have a spot on your itinerary in Santiago. More on that in the next post!

 

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Below: pumpkin tomatoes, dried seaweed (which is apparently a popular vegan protein substitute), black corn that is a staple of Peruvian cuisine and the coolest potatoes you've ever seen.

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Ouro Preto | Minas Gerais | Brazil

This time last year, Felipe and I were getting ready to say farewell to Brazil. But before we left, there was one festival that we knew we wouldn't have the chance to see again: Easter in Ouro Preto. Aside from being a well-preserved architectural gem, Ouro Preto is a historical hub for the mining roots of the Minas Gerais region. The rolling cobblestone hills topped with church spires are a sight to behold.

But for Easter, this charming town pulls out all of the stops. We arose early in the morning to hit the streets to see the tapetes de serragem, or sawdust carpets, that fill the streets Easter morning.

Some religious designs, some not, these colorful patterns fill the streets to mark the route of the Procissão da Ressurreição or Resurrection Procession. Following the throngs of locals and tourists, we took in the beauty of these temporary works of art on our way to the starting church.

Every year, the main churches in the city trade off being host to the starting position of the procession and dress up as different Biblical characters to illustrate different stories. When we arrived at the church, the participants were were preparing for the walk.

Punta Del Este | Uruguay

We drove to Punta Del Este without a plan and were greeted with deep blue skies, intriguing architecture, and empty beaches! If you have the time, there are a number of quaint coastal towns worth stopping at between Montevideo and Punta Del Este. We roughly followed this guide to a Uruguayan road trip and weren't disappointed. Even though many of the restaurants and shops were closed due to the winter season, we still enjoyed a leisurely day at the beach.

On a side note, did you know it´s illegal in the country of Uruguay for a restaurant to provide salt on the table except for at the patron's request? It was passed as a health initiave from the new president because supposedly, when you see the salt, you´re more likely to use it. We still asked for it at every meal.

Colonia Del Sacramento | Uruguay

Earlier in the semester, my mom called to tell me that she was going on a mission trip with Amazon Outreach. As we were talking, I put together the pieces and figured out that her trip was on the tail end of a long weekend here in Brazil which meant that we were able to coordinate a long weekend getaway to Brazil´s much smaller neighbor to the south, Uruguay!

We based ourselves in Montevideo and rented a car to roadtrip most of the length of the country. Our first day was spent in a small historical town called Colonia. While there wasn´t exactly a lot to do I very much enjoyed two things about the day: driving in zero traffic on an open highway and meandering the cobble stoned streets around old town. As a weekend escape from São Paulo, it was the perfect place!