Binnington's South American Adventure travel blog

Hotel Orly breakfast room


Hotel Orly courtyard


Mercado Central


La Vega

Flowers at La Vega

Monster corn

Cooking class kitchen


Beautiful spices



stir, stir, stir

Flaming the shrimp

Shrimp on avocado

Bean stew

Italian meringue dessert

We took an Uber to Mercado Central this morning where we met Gerardo, our guide and chef for today. This market is 150 years old, now housing mainly fish of every variety. Salmon here is very expensive as it is all farmed. According to Gerardo, its production is strictly controlled and it is safer than wild. Chilean sea bass is about the cheapest fish they have, so there are certainly some differences between our countries.

Then we walked to La Vega, which is a much bigger market with fruits, vegetables and flowers. The market is open from 4 AM until 5 PM. Most working people shop on Sunday because they can't get there during the week. It was absolute pandemonium. We were even warned by the Uber driver to watch our cellphones. As a result I didn't take many pictures. The produce was beautiful. The most amazing thing was the corn which is at least 3 times the size we see at home.

Once Gerardo had bought everything on his list we went to the kitchen of the business he works for where we had a cooking class. They take up to 12 people, but we were lucky to be the only ones attending. A private class for a group class price.

We had such an enjoyable time helping prepare the food and an even better time eating it and drinking the wine that accompanied each course. Here is what we ate.

1. Sopaipillas with pebre, accompanied by a pisco sour. A pumpkin based fried dough with Chilean salsa and a cocktail based on a liquor distilled from grapes.

2. Palta cardenal al pil pil. Shrimp cooked with smoked chili, wine and garlic served on a lettuce avocado base.

3. Porotos granados, a delicious stew with beans, corn and pumpkin.

4. Turron de vino con crumble de nueces. Italian meringue topped with wine syrup and walnuts.

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