The visit to Atacama, the driest hot salt dessert, and snow and glacier covered Patagonia in Chile, was an amazing experience. Here are some of the food related notes from this trip, which I want to share with you. I will post one after another in series.
Atacama No. 1: Chanar and Algarrobo
Look for Chanar (Geoffroea decorticans) and Algarrobo (Prosopis chilensis) trees in San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro de Atacama is a charming dessert village, which was founded in oasis almost 11,000 years ago. The former tree bears nut-shaped fruit, and, the latter, bean-shaped one. Both fruits have mellow sweet flavor. They have been used by the natives for long years as a source of food for both humans and animals. Our excellent guide, Martin (Swiss native, moved to Atacama 20 years ago, married and settled down there), told me how the locals have been using it: Chanar is for syrup and jelly making, Algarrobo is fermented to make an alcoholic drink, and also, the ground powder for bread baking. Today you find these exotic, exciting flavors in sherbet at a local store. Do not miss to go to the BABALU HELADERIA in the village and try both flavors.