We introduced ourselves to our hosts, who led us to the place where this much awaited dish was about to be cooked. Like during a ritual, we gathered round the hole and listened intently.
OriginallyMapuche , both in southern Chile and Argentina, the ingredients are cooked underground for several hours. A hole is dug and big hot stones are placed at the bottom. Assorted seafood (blue mussels, razor clams, sea urchins, picorocos, a local type of barnacle, crabs, oysters and other shellfish) is placed directly on the stones. Then the spiced meat is added (chicken, pork, beef and smoked meat). Next comes a layer of vegetables, potatoes, chapaleles and milcaos, pancakes and dumplings made of potato and wheat flour, covered by giant rhubarb leaves. The food is steamed due to the heat radiated by the stones.
We waited until it was time to uncover the food. The cooks removed the chunks of earth and then the giant rhubarb leaves. An enticing smell rose from the pit as the seafood, meat and vegetables were prepared to be served and our host invited us to take our places at the table.
It was served with pebre, chopped onion, spicy red peppers, parsley, coriander, salt and water as is the Chilean style. The plates were handed out in the same ceremonious manner as the cooking, showing respect for this traditional dish of the Chilote people.
As is customary, we lingered at the table after lunch, and during our chat we learned about other gastronomic specialties as well as their stone and wooden crafts. We thanked these friendly, kindhearted folk for introducing us to this dish.
Before returning to Ancud we took some time to relax on the nearby beach. Our trip back mimicked the slow pace of the curanto in the hole, which we were happy to have tasted.
Half-day, in order to match the uncovering of the curanto.Difficulty
ExtrasPrint this outing
Useful DataHow to get there
From Ancud, go towards Lechagua (the Pacific Ocean) for 14 km. Turn left towards Pumillahue and Puñihuil beach. Just before Pumillahue there is a road to Mar Brava beach (21 km from Ancud).Opening hours
Usually at lunchtime. Arrangements and booking in advance with the locals.Bear in mind
It is advisable to fill the petrol tank in Ancud.