In honor of my good friend Christine who is moving to Chile today, I wanted to write a post about her soon-to-be home- and more specifically, my favorite souvenirs from Chile.
Chile is a country rich in mountains, seafood, backyard barbecues and really sweet people. I have been there seven times due to a boyfriend I had back a while ago.
The other day I wrote a post about my favorite souvenirs. I decided to write another post altogether for my Chilean souvenirs, as there are so many to include. Here is what you should buy in Chile. Trust me on this.
1. Lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a beautiful, azure stone that can only be found in Afghanistan and Chile. It's inexpensive in Chile so pick up some lapis lazuli jewelry at the Lapis Lazuli House in Santiago, where I bought this pendant.
Like I've mentioned in other posts, I have a huge obsession with pottery. Greda is a Chilean clay that works well for cooking, and like cast-iron retains flavor over time. Many traditional Chilean dishes, such as pastel de choclo, should only be cooked in greda.
While you can buy greda is Santiago, the prices are often higly marked-up. The best place to buy it is Pomaire, a tiny town about an hour and a half from the center of Santiago. The town has one dirt road and shops with stacks and stacks of pottery. The pottery is very breakable so be careful on the ride home!
Note: This pig-faced bowl is called a chanchito and it's good luck.
3. Ceramic animals
You will see these little ceramic animal figurines, including birds, frogs and elephants, all over Chile. I love this little blue horse… very Chilean and so cute!
4. Copper cookware
Chile is the world's largest producer and exporter of copper. (It's one of reasons Chile has the strongest economy in South America.) What does this mean for tourists like me and you? Inexpensive copper pots and pans! I bought this pan in Puerto Varas, Chile for only $40 USD.
Merquén is one of my favorite spices, and yields a smoky, spicy flavor. It is used a traditional Chilean dish called curanto, a meat, seafood and potato stew. It's hard to find in the U.S. (it seems to be the ONE spice the Spice House doesn't stock!) so it's a good idea to bring some back from Chile.
Chilean wine is good. Very, very good. I prefer Chile's Carmenere to Argentina's Malbec because it's much less tannic. While I don't know much about wine, I do know this- bring home some good Chilean wines like Casillero del Diabo or Concha y Toro and your friends will be happy.
Note: Chilean beer is also delicious due to a large influx of Germans after WWII (They were absolutely not Nazis, mind you). My favorites are Austral and Kuntzmann Miel.
7. Neruda paraphenalia
This is a box I bought at Isla Negra, one of the three homes of eccentric and brilliant Chilean poet and Nobel Prize Winner, Pablo Neruda. His symbol is the fish emblem on this box because he loved the sea more than anything else. His house in Isla Negra has a room exclusively designated for antique mermaid figureheads.
Me at Isla Negra after Delta PERMANENTLY lost my luggage. Please don't hate on my hot outfit.