Travel to Chile: Pisco Adventures, Part II
On our third day in Chile, we headed over to Pisco Bou Borroeta. While not as large as Capel, they dominate the local region as I saw Bou Barroeta was the house pisco of choice at the restaurant we later went to for lunch.
First, they literally welcomed us into their home before starting the distillery tour. We sat down for tea and coffee with the most fabulous cheesecake. We later learned members of the family had a bakery in town that we could visit if we wanted more of the cheesecake (of course we went there afterward!).
No matter where we went, we saw the same type of still which Chileans call alembique (alembic). To me they were pot stills. The difference at various distilleries seemed to be how the fire was applied (direct heat or steam) to get the alcohol vapors to rise (distill). At Capel, it was steam and at Bou Barroeta, it was direct heat.
Bou Barroeta had a large beautiful aging room. The ceiling was painted with the story of pisco. You may miss it if you stare at all the barrels of pisco. What I found special about Bou Barroeta was it was the oldest aged pisco we had seen in days. They use a system similar to solera and so despite the age of 9 years or more on the label, it was probably much, much older.
Bou Barroeta does export but so far not to the US yet. I guess that means I have to go back to Chile! I had expressed to the distiller the evening before at dinner while I like cocktails and mixed drinks, I also really enjoy having spirits neat. This is a tribute to their work as well as really tasting what it’s like. So often the delicate pisco is lost to the fizzy soda.
For lunch, we went to Arriero. It’s a typical Chilean spot with large hearty plates and appetizers. We had razor clams with a creamy cheese sauce as well as this french fries dish covered with all sorts of goodies. I actually loved the tender chicken! There was also bread you could have with butter and pebre — don’t call the tomato-onion-cilantro mixture salsa. It’s pebre.
For the entrees, you can get it “a lo pobre” style which means it then gets topped with eggs and onions. These are stick-to-the-ribs type meals that you’ll need if you work in the fields and vineyards.
As mentioned, I saw pisco of choice is Bou Barroeta at Arriero so I had to have a pisco sour. Generally though, Chileans drink pisco with cola or tonic which are known as piscola and pistonic.
We left Atacamar and headed back to La Sirena. We checked into a modern hotel and had a rest before going to Bakulic for dinner. It’s a beachy restaurant so I wanted to try seafood. The restaurant and others near it were completely destroyed a few years ago during the bad rain season. It’s amazing to me how they managed to rebuild so quickly.
Kappa Pisco joined us for dinner and started a tasting of sorts. Since they have only one expression, we were given both the heads and tails along with the pisco. I tasted both though we had been advised not to try. We were given the heads and tails to smell only. But I gave both a shot. Ah yes, this stuff could blind you so better to stick to the heart! Which luckily is the bottled stuff.
Kappa is relatively new. It’s headed up by a Frenchman whose family has a background of brandy (cognac) making. He was working as a wine maker in Spain before heading off to Chile.
I first had Kappa several years ago when Pisco Chile brought along an assortment of piscos to try. I’m glad to continue my education.
We shared a round of appetizers including various salads and toasts.
I love my meat but I love seafood more. I was intrigued by the conger eel which is a local specialty. It’s served with barley which I later found out is used in both savory and sweet preparations. I tried a barley dessert the next day. The meal like all meals I had all week was very filling which is good because I fell into a restful sleep while listening to the waves outside.
… to be continued
** Thanks to Pisco Chile and New Legacy Wine and Spirits for the opportunity to learn about Chilean pisco.
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