Every April 15th, Chilean Cuisine Day is celebrated to commemorate our traditional flavours and gastronomic history. A culture that is also recognized to produce wines that have accompanied these dishes over time.
With the aim of recognizing the history and culinary heritage of our country, Chilean Cuisine Day has been celebrated by presidential decree since 2009. This date seeks to enhance the gastronomic identity of an extremely large country, which brings together several towns and through them, various cuisines that are characterized by unique ingredients, preparations and flavours that tell us about our roots.
To celebrate this special day, we invited the Head Sommelier of Concha y Toro, Massimo Leonori, to recommend some wine pairings with Chilean dishes that, for him, are infallible.
Reineta Ceviche with Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc
Although it is believed that the origin of Ceviche would be Peruvian, from the Moche culture, its repercussion within South American cuisines evolved into various versions that vary in the use of ingredients and techniques. In the case of Chilean cuisine, Ceviche is based on raw fish (typically Reineta) grated or diced, marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, seasoned with chopped onion, coriander, salt, pepper and sometimes cumin. Due to the recent Peruvian influence, it is common for it to include red onion, lime juice and even a piece of sweet potato.
“I really like Reineta Ceviche with Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc because it highlights the minerality of the wine. This wine also works very well with very fresh oysters or shellfish,” says Leonori.
Avocado Cardenal with Amelia Chardonnay
Avocado cultivation in Chile began in 1960, in the Quillota valleys, with the Hass avocado. From then on it became an icon at tea time and breakfast. Later it appeared in popular sandwiches such as “Italiano” or “Ave Palta” (chicken and avocado), and later became the protagonist in preparations such as “Avocado Cardenal”, which consists of half an avocado stuffed with shrimp seasoned with mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce.
“With Amelia Chardonnay I really like the Avocado Cardenal, but in its version stuffed with king crab. Here the Chardonnay works very well with the creaminess of the avocado. It’s the same with ingredients like cheese, in the Machas a la Parmigiana, for which Amelia Chardonnay goes very well”, adds Leonori.
Sweetcorn Cake with Marqués de Casa Concha Carmenere
The Sweetcorn Cake (or Pastel de Choclo) is another typical dish from the central zone of Chile, whose origin would have occurred in the Colonial era. The Spanish settlers were the ones who contributed the preparation of the “pino” (mince meat with sauteed onion), while the ground corn would have been the contribution of the Mapuche cooks.
“I think the Pastel de Choclo or an Empanada de Pino with Carmenère is a fantastic combination. Pine is a great match for Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere because it has soft tannins and its fruitiness that wraps the meat. Especially with the corn cake, which has that sweet note, it goes well with the Carmenère, which also has that medium-sweet attack”, concludes Leonori.