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Empanada and wine in Argentina

Culture of Chile

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Anything and everything grows in Chile, and eating well here means taking advantage of the tremendous range and outstanding quality of seafood and locally produced agricultural products. Though seeking out local dishes and specialties is always part of the adventure, there are a few dishes that you'll come across nearly everywhere.

Empanadas are snack-sized turnovers filled with meat, cheese, or shellfish, and are a staple of daily life, not to be missed. Fresh-baked bread, in a variety of styles, is available in local panaderias in even the smallest towns. A surprising variety of excellent sandwiches make for good, quick meals. Chile's seafood is unequaled in variety and quality. Mussels, clams, and urchins, oysters and scallops, salmon and sea bass…the list of fish and shellfish goes on and on, and a morning visit to fish markets anywhere in the country is an overwhelming sensory experience. Paila marina is a delectable shellfish stew available throughout the country. North American and European visitors will find the quality of red meat served here to far exceed that which they are accustomed to. Asados (barbeques) and parilladas (mixed grill) are extremely popular and widely available. Finally, even the most voracious sweet-tooth will be satisfied by locally made italian-style ice cream (helado) and deserts made with dulce de leche, also known as manjar. From north to south, Chilean cuisine is as varied and unexpected as the country's marvelous geography!


Religious festivities in Chile are frequent and fascinating events, with ritual processions and dances that demonstrate the synthesis of numerous traditions - popular and religious, Andean and Catholic - over the course of over four centuries.

The majority of these festivities are derived from the concept of patron saints. Catholic tradition assigns each day of the year its own patron saint, and each Catholic church is dedicated to one of these saints. Each church annually celebrates its saint's day, though forms of celebration vary by region and by church. In many parts of the country, Catholic traditions have been so thoroughly mixed with native traditions and popular manifestations that it is difficult to devise where one tradition leaves off and the other begins.

Semana Santa (Holy Week), which culminates on Easter Sunday, is celebrated throughout Chile.

Thanks to the Tourism Promotion Corporation of Chile : 202-530-4109

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