Wednesday 27 June 2012

Sampling the local tipple

Yesterday I took a trip to Pisco Elqui in the Elqui Valley, which has been renamed in honour of the local tipple in Chile - Pisco.

Pisco Elqui
Pisco Elqui is a very cute village and I'd definitely like to return there once I'm back in this area after my time up north. I had a wander around the village and found out about the various things one can do as a tourist there, including hiring a bike to travel to Los Nichos, a nearby village which has the oldest pisco distillery in Chile. I also found out that there was an observatory visit scheduled for last night from Pisco Elqui, but since I didn't know in advance, I couldn't go - it would have been tricky for me to get back to Vicuña at midnight. But I shall keep it in mind and I think I'll make a point of staying a night or 2 in Pisco Elqui on my return.

After I'd had a wee wander, I stopped for some lunch - a delicious platter called 'El Pangue' (the name of one of the observatories I'll be visiting!) which had a mixture of pastes/dips, olives and goats cheese. It was possibly the healthiest meal I've had since getting to Chile and totally yummy!

After lunch I decided to do a tour of the Mistral distillery, in Spanish. I could have waited until 3:30pm for an English tour, but I'm trying to challenge myself to get more familiar with the local lingo and I do understand a lot already...just need to get more confidence with the speaking.

Anyway, as it turned out, I had the tour all to myself, and my guide was very good and spoke at a really nice pace so I think I understood about 95% of what she said. The Mistral distillery is a really pretty place, and has a museum with various historical artefacts which used to be used in the distillation process.

Old distillation equipment

Grounds of the Mistral Distillery
After the tour, I got to see a small exhibition of barrels an artist has converted into visual art:

And finally tried my first taste of Pisco... The guide gave me 2 different ones to try, both straight. The first one, reminded me of whisky and I wasn't mad keen on it. It was a bit harsh to drink straight for my liking. The second one was a lot smoother. Still possibly a bit too strong for me to enjoy straight, but it went down easier.

At the end of the tour I was able to go to the bar and get a free Pisco that I did like!!! I chatted to the barmaid for a while, who was born and raised in Pisco Elqui. I told her how I couldn't imagine a life without rain!! 

1 comment:

  1. oo I could just go a pisco sour! Yum. Looks like an amazing adventure. x