In the highlands of Chile, near the pacific ocean, you find a peculiar landscape dry in summer, and quite muddy in winter. These lands are home to sheep, goats, large farms and to some of the most remarkable cattle in South America.
These dry forests, home to trees with sounding names like Quillaja and other bushes and shrubs, grazing cattle finds a perfect place to stay outside all year round. The green grass of winter fades to a beige yellow in summer, but still edible. Being out in nature with the right amount of herbs, minerals and grass to feed on, these animals give a unique and nicely textured meat.
Santiago de Chile offers some really fine restaurants where you can try local beef with the right sip of a Chilean wine. Some of my favorites that have also been recommended by locals living there include Santabrasa (the “holy grill” – says everything!), Ox (same same) and Europeo.
In terms of wine, I always like to go for local specialties. In Chile this is without any doubt the “Carmenere” variety, a long forgotten French grape which has been exported to Chile centuries ago and has since been eradicated in Europe due to the vine pest. Dark ruby red, a bit fruity, rich in flavor and full-bodied, this is a wine I could drink every day. If this is the way wine was supposed to be in old France a few hundred years ago, I am happy and proud to be able to taste history just right now!