Patagonia Magic

At the risk of sounding cliche, Patagonia is magic. Where else can you see skies this vast, glaciers this ancient, wildlife this stunning or a mountain vista so dripping in otherworldly power that it transfixes you and makes it impossible to look away?  Eyes just are not big enough to fully appreciate the spellbinding qualities of this isolated, wild spot hanging off the edge of the world at the bottom of Chile and Argentina.

 

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Photo: Cascada Expediciones

 

Just getting here to Torres del Paine National Park has been a mission. A three hour flight to Punta Arenas followed by a five hour transfer – while comfortable – takes dedication. Perhaps this is a good thing, as the park already sees traffic of some 250,000 people each year and trail erosion, habitat destruction, waste and water contamination have been some of the tourist residue affecting the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  

 

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Guanaco. Photo: Cascada Expediciones

 

Tourism in the area is a contentious topic, with local economies thriving (including that of Chile – Torres del Paine is the country’s number one attraction), but the reality is that park visitors have dramatically affected the park´s landscape.  Three devastating fires over the last thirteen years have destroyed 1/5th of its total area, an area that the critically endangered huemul (South Andean Deer), puma (mountain lion), guanaco (a type of camelid), skunk, along with 23 other mammals, 118 bird species (like the comical rhea), and a wealth of fauna types all call home.

 

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Black Faced Ibis. Photo: Cascada Expediciones.

 

The park itself is a fragile ecosystem, battered by 80km/h winds and 1000-3000 mm annual rainfall and freezing winter temperatures. There are four distinct areas: Patagonian Steppe, Pre-Andean Shrubland, Magellanic Deciduous Forest, and Andean Desert, as well as unique wetlands of the type found nowhere else in the world.

 

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Andean condor. Photo: Cascada Expediciones

 

The park´s most famous sight, the Paine motif, are granite towers formed from 13 million-year-old magma and glacial forces. The Cordillera del Paine mountains are sliced by valleys such as the Valley of Frances, and forests of lenga beech, pumilio and scrub.

 

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Torres del Paine valley. Photo: Cascada Expediciones

 

It was originally settled by the Kaweskar, a nomadic people who occupied all of Western Patagonia for 6000 years, who originally built dome-shaped movable houses that allowed the volatiles winds to slide off. Inside, they would gather around a central fire whose smoke would disperse through a hole in the roof. They had a rich language with different dialects and a strong preference for storytelling, and they lived in small family-based groups. They hunted deer, scrounged for eggs, and used canoes to hunt for sea lions and otters, among other things.  In 1959 NASA was interested in developing a way for their astronauts to survive if they crashed on a frozen planet, and made some studies on the Kaweskars ability to withstand Patagonia´s extreme cold. They discovered that the human body is able to withstand and adapt to various conditions, such as in the case of the Kaweskar. Unfortunately, there are only 5 Kaweskar left that still speak the language and follow the culture, living in the small fishing community of Puerto Eden.

 

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The Kaweskar.  Photo: Cascada Expediciones

 

While there are various trekking outlets and hotels (mostly owned by Kusanovic family), given the many issues that face the park it makes sense to opt for a business that has sustainability at its heart.  Enter EcoCamp Patagonia, an award-winning hotel/glamping hybrid situated in the Torres del Paine park itself Based on the original dwellings of the kaweskar, their domes were the first of their kind in the world, in 1991 setting off the wave of geodesic accommodation that can now be found worldwide.  The camp is also fully sustainable, attaining the fist ISO14001 certification in Chile (and the only in Patagonia) and follows this eco philosophy across every aspect of its function. It has composting toilets and a full recycling program (it sorts its waste all the way in Punta Arenas and sometimes in Puerto Montt), and sources 98% of its energy from solar and hydro sources (it is registered carbon neutral).  So-called ¨black water¨ from toilets are treated to become compost, while the ¨gray water is filtered and used again. Refrigerators are the Camp´s biggest energy sucker, and so to keep their environmental impact low they forbid the use of electrical appliances such as hairdryers and heaters. The domes were built on wooden platforms to make for easy dismantle and contain no concrete – even the walkways are raised.

 

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EcoCamp Patagonia. Photo: EcoCamp Patagonia

 

There are 33 domes, the cheapest being the Standard which makes for the deepest immersion into the park´s nature. These rooms have no electricity and rely entirely on the patterns of the sun for light (bring a torch if you plan on some night-time reading!), created with the intention to keep the guest as in-tune with nature as possible.  The Superior domes are larger and have heating, while the Suites are créme de la créme, perfect for relaxing after a long trek.

 

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EcoCamp also promotes inclusive travel.  Photo: Cascada Expediciones.

 

In terms of outdoor activities, Torres del Paine is one of the most beautiful spots in the world to interact with nature. From EcoCamp you can track wild horses or pumas, take a photography tour, trek the famous ´W´ or ´O´ circuit, or go for longer, more intense programmes that include sea kayaking, mountain climbing; they also promote all-inclusive travel, with special assistance for blind or wheelchair-bound guests.

 

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Puma. Photo: Cascada Expediciones

These are the kind of trips that happen once in a lifetime. That´s why you should do it right, go for sustainability and quality over price, and see it from the perspective not of a tourist, but as a human being, an Earth animal going back to its roots away from the trappings of wifi, social media and work stresses.

The Nitty Gritty

For more about composting toilets, read this.

For more about EcoCamp, visit here.

To watch a video about EcoCamp have a look here.

To see some of the amazing tours in Patagonia, take a look at this.

Did you like this post? Go on – give it a ´like´ and take a look at some of these other posts that might tickle your fancy:

Hotel and wine at Winebox Valparaiso;

Roadtrip to see the Flowering Desert and Bahia Inglesa;

Ghostown of Sewell;

World famous Alpaca Farm;

 

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Rayuela, Christ & BBQ

I have surprised Manuel. His eyes don´t really believe me, his mouth forming a perfectly round O, followed by an exhalation of confused air.

The question had been a simple one, and my answer was nothing unusual, just a simple ¨no, I do not miss my home country because I feel at home here in Chile.¨ That is completely true – I love living here – but it always seems to catch the Chileans I meet off guard.

¨What about your family? ¨They always inevitably ask, followed by an exclamation of ¨But New Zealand is paradise! ¨.  But nothing I say ever convinces them, so I just change the subject quickly.

The day is a Saturday and I am in the small community of Calpún, four hours south of Santiago and an hour from the nearest city, Curicó.  Calpún is a blink-and-you´ll-miss-it sort of place, a scattering of houses that line a winding road in a tumble of colors.   Chickens squabble on the roadside and dash from passing cars, their clucking joining the whirring of tractors and scraping of shovels.  The wind blows fiercely east from the sea and causes wind dials to spin all morning and night in a cacophony of creaks and moans.  The afternoon – which it is right now – is made of summer sun and gentle breezes and, combined with the smell of the barbecue coals, makes for a moment of pure bliss.

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Calpun birds eye view

I have come to Calpún because it is the home of my partner´s family. Manuel´s son, David, was baptized today in the small church that dominates the village skyline.  Despite the countryside setting, we are all dolled up in our dresses and high heels, the men in suits and the children in bow ties and ribbons.  Chile is a predominately Catholic country, thanks to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1541, and baptisms are still a big deal.  Family from all across Chile have come today, arms piled high with presents wrapped up in blue paper. The ceremony itself is short and sweet; David barely makes a sound and his parents have been wearing smiles that light up the room (or at least rival the camera flashes).

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We are now in the house of Manuel´s brother, Tio Lucho.  ´Lucho´ is a common nickname for Luis, and part of a naming tendency that envelopes the whole country.  Fernando becomes ´Nano´, Francisco -´Pancho´, Felipe – ´Pipe´ … They join a whole host of diminutives that call attention to characteristics, such as ´Negra´ (black) and Flaco (skinny).

Lucho´s house is large with thin walls and naked of any furnishings alluding to grandeur, save for a few religious statues and dangling rosary beads.  In fact, as my mother-in-law Paola tells me, ¨the people don´t really care about that.  Our lives are spent outside¨.  This is, after all, primarily a farming community and a place that irks its living directly from the land.  The sauerkraut dripping all over our choripán (hot dog)? Homemade with cabbage from the garden.  The mayonnaise? Made just before using eggs from the chickens.  Even the salt comes from nearby Cáhuil, a group of ancient saltpans that are a blindingly vivid array of yellow, orange, brown and white.

 

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Gathering the salt in Cahuil.

However, despite the fertile abundance of the land, Calpún is struggling. My partner´s family would love to live here but there is no work and competition is high.  Instead, they live in Chile´s capital, Santiago, where they earn meagre pesos as a taxi driver and housekeeper (referred to as a nana). Many of the relatives attending the baptism, including Manuel himself, have also left the area to follow work opportunities elsewhere, including to the mines that dominate the northern desert.

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These fields supply Santiago`s markets.

¨When I was a child, there were two Calpúns.¨ My father-in-law is telling me now amidst a row of bobbing heads ¨Upper and Lower.  There were lots of people then before everyone left for Santiago, and the wealthier people lived in the Upper part while we lived here, in Lower Calpún.¨

¨Yes,¨ Tio Lucho agrees, ¨and Calpún was known as the place of the Blue-Eyed People – it was unusual to have blue eyes because of our ancestral ties with the Mapuches, who are traditionally dark.¨

 

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The river beside Calpun

Mapuche is the collective name of the indigenous people that historically occupied the areas south of Santiago until Patagonia. They are famous for withstanding the advance of the Spanish in the Arauco War, and today are a marginalized group.

 

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Mapuche mural from Curepto.

 

¨I had sixteen brothers and sisters¨ A woman I don´t know by name joins the conversation, ¨I don´t know how my mother did it because I have two kids of my own and I can´t imagine having any more!¨

There is a moment of laughter than my father in law says, ¨I played with my ball each and every day – it went everywhere with me! And I remember Paola, even though she was just a girl then, and she was always running, running everywhere with that light hair flying behind her.¨

My mother-in-law smiles shyly. ¨I loved to run and walk.  One year I was chosen to enter a big race, all the way in Curepto.  I was so nervous because I thought I wouldn´t be very good, but I WON!  I got a huge ribbon and I got to be in the summer festival that year.  It was one of the happiest moments of my life.¨

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Family antics in Calpun.

 

The conversation continues for a while and then turns to rayuela. Rayuela has been declared the national sport by two Chilean presidents and is traditionally played during las fiestas patrias, the celebration of Chilean independence that occurs the week of September 18.  This is the date when Chile united to seek independence (but not the date it formally received it, which was February 12, 1818).  According to the Chilean National Library, some 80,000 people choose to play the game in their free time, and there is even a national Rayuela Day, which occurs each year on July 19. To play the game, teams take turns throwing a metal tejo, which weighs around 1 kilo, onto a line drawn in an inclined clay box. If you hit the line you get double points, and the game can go on indefinitely. Lucho sets this up now and, using a piece of string and a stone, the game begins.

 

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At Tio Lucho`s house.

 

A few hours later and it is still going.  The wine has also made its appearance, a full-bodied red hailing from the nearby Maule Valley.  This valley is the largest wine producing area in Chile and grows excellent grapes thanks to the Mediterranean climate and varying soil compositions. Many of the wineries are organic and have a sustainable focus, the most characteristic varietal being carmenere, a grape once thought to have been extinct worldwide after a devastating plague swept through Europe in 1867.

¨Out here in the country, we prefer to drink red wine because it is the wine we have always drunk,¨  Lucho is telling me, ¨for Catholics it is associated with the blood of Christ¨.

There is music now too, courtesy of a live band playing an eclectic mix of Chilean cumbia, Mexican rancheras and traditional cueca. My father-in-law takes the hand of Paola as a song they love begins, and as their knees knock together they sway to the sound of their own laughter. The air has also thickened with smoke, the barbecue mingling with cigarettes (the World Health Organization reports that 34% of the population smoke).

 

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Dancing the cueca in Vichuquen.

 

¨Si es Chileno, es bueno¨ Manuel appears beside me, If it´s Chilean, it´s good. ¨Do you really not miss your country? ¨

I pause for a moment, then shake my head. Right now, beneath the crystal clear stars and beside these wonderful people, the moment is pretty close to perfect.

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If You Go:

Stay: at the Casa Roja in Lilco, 5 minutes from Lake Vichuquén and ten minutes from the Pacific Ocean.  This is also the site of the Oro de Torca olive grove and olive oil press.  From here you can make daytrips to the surfing town of Pichelemu, the salt flats of Cáhuil, the city of Santa Cruz, and the wineries of the Colchagua and Maule valleys. Birdwatchers can head to Laguna Torca.

Book your stay through Airbnb here.

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Birdwatching at Laguna Torca

 

 

Did you like this? Please have a look at my other articles and give this a `like` – that way I know someone is reading!

Meet Ramonas: Shoes with an Edge

What is it about shoes? Such simple, necessary things that have the power to make our lives misery and to make an outfit complete? I´m a kiwi girl at heart, which means I have a thing for wearing jandals in all the wrong situations and a penchant for forgoing shoes all together, but even I will admit there is something about the creations of this Chilean small business that set my tootsies wriggling to get in to a pair. Maybe its the fact that Ramonas seems ahead of the trends, boasting stylish designs with a gloriously rock and roll edge, or maybe its the fact that their Instagram is a thing of shoe-fetish glory, whatever it is, Ramonas has fast become my favorite shoe company this side of the equator.

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Ten Questions with Ramonas/ Diez Preguntas con Ramonas

Who is Ramonas and why start the business/ Quien es Ramonas y por que empezaste la tienda?

My name is Natalia and I am a commercial engineer from the Universidad Tecnica Ferderico Santa Maria. I started my brand around a year ago when I commissioned a pair of shoes that I had in mind and which I couldn´t find anywhere to buy. At the time I had an Instagram account that I used to sell clothes, and I published a photo of these shoes I´d designed. Suddenly I had lots of orders for these shoes and my label was born, though at the time it had no name. I had a hard time coming up with a name that represented the style I was going for. One day I woke up with a song stuck in my head ´Hey ho – lets go!´ and that was it – Ramonas it was.

Mi nombre en Natalia, soy ingeniera comercial de la Universidad Técnica Federico Santa Maria. Empecé mi marca hace un año más o menos, mande a hacer un par de zapatos que tenía en mente, no lo encontraba en ninguna tienda así que me lo mande a hacer. Cuando iba en la Universidad tenía un Instagram donde vendía ropa, y publiqué la foto de este par de zapatos. Tuvo aceptación y empecé a vender mucho. Así partió la marca, que en ese tiempo no tenía nombre.  Me costó encontrar un nombre que realmente representara el estilo que tienen los zapatos y accesorios que hago. Un día desperté pegada con una canción de Los Ramones “hey ho let’s go!” Y ahí salió el nombre “Ramonas”.
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What is your bestseller/ Cual es tu bestseller?
That would be the ´bien rockero´ shoe. We use lots of metal accessories, dark and vivid colours, to make it an aggressive style. These ´Ramonas´ shoes make any outfit transgressive.
El estilo de los zapatos es bien rockero. Usamos artos accesorios de metal, colores oscuros y brillantes, para un estilo agresivo. Usando solo basicos y un par de zapatos “Ramonas” logras un look transgresor.
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What is the process to create a shoe/ Cual es el proceso a diseñar y producir los zapatos?
The process is complex. From the initial idea until the physical shoe is finished, each design takes severals goes until it´s perfect.  Each part of the shoe needs to be designed and has to work with the other pieces. In addition, the selection of material is extremely important because we don´t only sell style but comfort and quality too, and we want that our customers come to recognize us for that.  Once the design and materials are all approved, it is time to think about the accessories and choose colours and patterns. It is a long but beautiful job.
El proceso es bien complejo. Desde la idea de un par de zapatos hasta tener el zapato físico, hecho y que haya quedado tal cual lo imagínaste hay que hacer varias pruebas.
Cada pieza que compone un par de zapatos es un diseño, todas las piezas tienen que calzar. Además la elección de materiales es otro tema muy importante. No sólo vendemos estilo, también calidad y comodidad. Así logramos que nuestras clientas se identifiquen con la marca y nos escojan una y otra vez.
Cuando el diseño y los materiales son aprobados, viene el diseño de accesorios, escoger colores y patrones. Es un trabajo largo pero hermoso. 
What has been your best moment so far/ Cual ha sido el mejor momento de tu carrera, con la tienda?
The best moment is today.  We are only a young brand but already we have positioned outselves in the market. Initially we started out just doing internet sales and now, a year later, we have gone retail. I love this project and I hope that we take this even further.
El mejor momento de mi carrera es hoy, es una marca joven, pero en poco tiempo nos hemos ido posicionando. Esto partió exclusivamente por ventas vía Internet y un año despues ya entramos al retail. Amo este proyecto, y espero llegar muy lejos con la marca.
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Why shoes? How many pairs of shoes do we really need/ Por que zapatos? Cual zapatos todas las mujeres debe tener?
Why shoes? I don´t know, it was so casual. I never thought about design before, I always saw myself as a manager, working in human resources as part of a giant company, which was always my goal until two years ago.  I come from a family of shoemakers but it had never caught my attention until I made that first pair of shoes that got so much interest.  That moment opened up a whole different world for me and today I can´t imagine doing anything else.
As for how many shoes, fashion is like a chameleon and is constantly changing. Right now every one should hve a pair of slippers (babuchas). They are very comfortable but also very stylish and versatile
Por que zapatos? No se, fue muy casual. Nunca pensé en el diseño como una faceta, siempre me imaginé como gerente del área de recursos humanos de una empresa gigante, esa era mi meta hace dos años atrás.Vengo de una familia de zapateros, pero el rubro nunca me llamo la atencion hasta que hice este par de zapatos para mi y que al publicarlos muchas los quisieron comprar. En ese momento se abrió el mundo para mi, y hoy no me imagino haciendo otra cosa.
En cuanto al par de zapatos que toda mujer debería tener…la moda es camaleónica, estamos en constante cambio. Hoy todas deberían tener un par de babuchas. Es un modelo comodo, que estiliza y es muy versátil.
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What are some other Chilean businesses you like/ Cuales negocios chilenos te gustan?
Bestias is a Chilean shoe company that I like a lot, and I refer to them in a certain sense. They are really cool! They do a fantastic job.
Bestias es una marca chilena de zapatos que me gusta mucho, son referentes para mi en cierto sentido.Los encuentro secos! Su trabajo es maravilloso.
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What is your favorite restaurant in Santiago/ Cual restaurant es tu favorito en Santiago?
My favorite is Abtao, in Barrio Bellavista (Dardignac 0185, Providencia). The concept is Chile, all their dishes and drinks are inspired by different parts of the county (I should know – I have tried their whole menu!). It is just delicious. I also really like Bar Mañio (Pasaje el Mañio, Vitacura), which is a really great tapas bar.

Mi favorito se llama Abtao, queda en el barrio bellavista (dardignac 0185, providencia)
El concepto de ellos es chile, todos los platos y tragos que ofrecen están inspirados en distintas partes del pais (he provado toda la carta!) . Es riquísimo y además super conveniente. Otro restaurante que me gusta mucho es Bar Mañio, queda en el pasaje el Mañio, en vitacura. Este es un bar de tapas, es riquísimo Y super ondero!!
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Where is your favorite spot in Chile/ Cual es tu lugar favorito en Chile?
My favorite place in Chile is Santiago – I love this city!
Mi lugar favorito de Chile es Santiago – me encanta esta ciudad!
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You sell your shoes in the fashion store, Paes. How did you come across them/ Tienes zapatos en la tienda Paes – como la descubres la tienda y diseñador?
I first started selling my shoes in the store, Paes. I first met [owner and designer] Paola Escobar at an entrepeneurs fair, where she told me that she had some space for me to physically sell my shoes . Her clothes are beautiful and she trusted my work enough to let me have a space in her store.
Just recently we have begun selling our shoes at Paris in Parque Arauco. This is my first foray into retail and you can find the shoes in the ¨monqitas a la moda¨ section.
Mi primer punto de venta fue tienda Paes. A la Pao (dueña de Paes) la conocí en una feria de emprendedores, ella me dio el espacio para poder vender mi marca en un lugar físico. Su ropa es muy linda, y ella confió en mi trabajo y me dio un espacio en su tienda.
Hace una semana Ramonas esta en tiendas París del Parque Arauco, en el sector de ´monjitas a la moda´. Es mi primera incursión en retail. 
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What´s next for Ramonas/ Cual es proximo para la tienda?
To keep growing. In the short term, we want to be in Paris in the Costanera Centre and Alto Las Condes. After that, we want to have a physical presence across all of Chile.
Seguir creciendo, como meta en el corto plazo es estar en París del Costanera y alto las condes. Para algún día tener presencia física en todo Chile 
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The Nitty Gritty

Tienda Paes: Candelaria Goyenchea 3820, Local 206, Vitacura

Tienda Paris: Mall Parque Arauco, Av. Presidente Kennedy 5413, Las Condes

Whatsapp orders: +56954255033

Facebook here

Instagram here

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Meet Hello Kiddo: A Small Business Supporting Small Minds

It is nearly Christmas! I hope you are all ordering your homemade pan de pascua (traditional christmas cake) and getting ready for the big day. Who else is trying to support local and small businesses this year? Please check out my shopping guide if you need some ideas.

If you have small children, you might want to pay attention to this article. Introducing Hello Kiddo, a small venture run by Natalie (Australia) and her Chilean husband, dedicated to selling only the best items for little ones (and from where M´s Christmas present is from this year!). Read on to learn a little it more about Natalie and Hello Kiddo.

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Who is Hello Kiddo?

Hello Kiddo is our little family business, between my husband and I. He has a day job but is helping me out in his free time. I´m Australian and my husband is Chilean. I came to Chile for love and have lived here for almost 8 years now. I am a stay at home mum to my 22 month old son and have been itching to start a little business on the side from home.

Why did you decide to start Hello Kiddo?

Hello Kiddo started just 10 days ago launching our first product called PLAYON CRAYON. My mum brought a box of Playon Crayons from Australia when she was visiting us when my son was born. I hadn´t opened it until a few months ago when my son was only 18 months old. He was going through a very stong ´mamitis´[attachment to mother] phase, I was kind of tired and felt like bringing out a new toy for him to concentrate on for a little bit and not just me. When I gave him the box, he didn´t look at me for 40 mins. There are mums out there who know the feeling! He was concentrating on the colourful crayons, stacking them into towers. They would fall, and then he would try stacking them again. He had no idea then that you could draw with them too. From then on, I became a big fan of this product, I was convinced that this was a product that all kids could benefit from here. We are now the oficial distributors of Playon Crayon for Chile.

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Photo: Hello Kiddo

What is the Playon Crayon?

PLAYON CRAYON is a box of 12 crayons that come in 2 different sets, (primary and pastel colours).

These sculptural crayons transform coloring into a playtime adventure. They’re still the go-to tool for your children to create fantastic, colorful pictures, but instead of the usual stick shape, they take the form of hollow cones with a bulbous end. Not only is the shape great for easy gripping by little hands, but the crayons are fun to stack into towers, or arrange into patterns. They dance on fingertips like puppets, and can be threaded onto twine for a rainbow necklace. They are a great tool to play with and teach your child about colours and even adding/subtracting when they are older.

The cone shape also means that instead of rolling off the table and underneath the sofa, they spin around in playful circles. They are certified non-toxic by the Art & Creative Materials Institute, USA.  The packaging is 100% recyclable.

On the box it is recommended for ages 2 years + however I gave it to my son earlier and he still loved them.

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Photo: Hello Kiddo

 

What is your favorite thing about living in Chile?

The mountains that I see everyday from my balcony! You would never get this beautiful view in Australia!

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The mountains (in winter)

Do you have a favorite restaurant here?

I love Quinoa (the restaurant) in Vitacura. Its a cool, healthy, vegeterian cafe/restaurant that serves high quality food. I love having brunch there when possible. I used to go more before I had a child.

 

Is there a particular place you love in Chile?

Anywhere that is outside our norm of Santiago life. The south of Chile especially!

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Photo: Yorka Abarca

Many of my readers are mums, or mums-to-be, and would be interested to know how it went for you giving birth here. Can you tell us about that?

Yes I gave birth in Chile. Even though It was a long 18 hour labor at the clinic, I had a very nice experience. The doctors and midwife listened to my needs and complied to the birth plan I discussed with them months earlier. It was exactly what I imagined my birth would be like.

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Max with his crayons! Photo: Hello Kiddo

What is next for Hello Kiddo?

Our wish is to bring more useful kids products and even make things ourselves from home in Chile. My background is in design, so I want to design and make my own baby/kids products. We started with the Playon crayons to test the market and practise what it is like having a small business in Chile. So far so good.

 

How can people order your products?

You can order your box of crayons through our website www.hellokiddo.cl.

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Photo: Hello Kiddo

More Information

Instagram here

Facebook here


Did you like this? Check out these other small businesses I love:

Kids clothes from Ñirre Bebe;

Fun leggings and printed clothes from La Pituka;

Economical books for kids from Editorial Dansema;

Books in Spanish and toys from Pajarito de Mimbre.

 

Prefiero Chileno: Local Shopping Guide

This year, I made a conscious effort to buy local, and I would say that about 80% of my Christmas shopping this year ended up being gifts made in Chile.  This drive to support small has been all over the internet lately, particularly on Instagram, where a whole movement has started using the hashtag #prefierochileno.  To read why to support local, read my Directory of Local Businesses where I whip out a few facts to convince you.

Check out websites Bendito and Creado en Chile to browse an assorted collection of locally made gifts, and don´t forget to use the hashtag when you share your photos!  You can also visit markets such as Mercado Mastica and places such as Barrio Italia (my favorite place in the world) and Pueblito Los Dominicos.  The following list of my favorite businesses are either ones I have personally bought from or that are on my radar, and all meet either made in Chile, designed in Chile or based in Chile criteria.

Let´s Go Christmas Shopping!!

  1. Painstakingly intricate maps, cushions and other trinkets handpainted by dedicated local artists at Mappin.
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Chile Urdido by Cote Bobillier. Photo: Mappin
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Nuestra Casa by Michelle Lasalvia. Photo: Mappin

2) Beautiful scarves, socks, bibs for adults and children by Vuelvo al Sur.

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Gloves featuring the Chucao. Photo: Vuelvo al Sur
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Mug featuring a huemul. Photo: Vuelvo al Sur

3) The LeoLibros book set, a varied collection of short stories in Spanish that seek to encourage a love of reading that will last a lifetime, by Editorial Dansema.

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4) Stackable crayons made for little hands that are non-toxic and won´t stain (or permanently mark your walls)? Sounds like an amazing gift for the whee ones!  Visit Hello Kiddo to get your hands on a set of Playon Crayons. Photos by Hello Kiddo.

5) Beautiful furniture made in Santiago by Blom and made with local materials including Lingue, Coigue and Encina. I am coveting everything especially their headboards. All photos by Blom.

6) 7 Colores is a recent discovery, and one of the finds that has most impressed me during my time in Chile. This small shop is in Barrio Italia and is the most beautiful treasure trove of handpainted gifts, all featuring Chilean flora and fauna. Staff are incredibly passionate about animals and they even publish their own wildlife magazine (in Spanish only); their goal is a simple one: to introduce Chile´s creatures and plants to the people and inspire their love and respect.

7) OBOLO chocolate have just opened their store in Barrio Italia, and here you also can see them making their delicious organic creations through the window that peeps into the factory. OBOLO, which is the creation of Mark Gerrits (USA) and his (Chilean) wife, is a wonderful example of how a business can create opportunities and deliver an excellent product; OBOLO is winning awards all over the world and produces only 70% cacao creations, sourced from small-scale growers in Peru that Mark has worked with for years.  All photos by OBOLO Chocolate.

8) One of my favorite businesses of all time would be Karun, which designs sunglasses made recycled jeans and fishing nets cleared from Chilean coastlines. Read more about their business here.

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Photo: Karunworld

9) TTANTI watches made from fallen trees in Patagonia. These are luxury, quality timepieces that suit both men and women.

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Photo: TTANTI

10) Ñirre Bebe is the work of a mum from Southern Chile, and her clothes for children are stunning. E is now completely in love with the zorro/ñirre/fox.  Read my interview here.

11) La Pituka is my favorite business in Chile. I love to exercise in their leggings, I also love to go to work with them on, and I love that now they are offering Chile-themed designs as well. They also make tshirts, underwear, sweatshirts and socks – kids included.

12) Apicola del Alba is my go-to for Made in Chile (in Curacavi!) skincare.  I use the face moisturiser every day and also their chamomile-based shampoo. They make various things including aromatherapy oils and vitamins.

13) Ramonas are beautifully-designed shoes for women (how I´d love a pair of their boots, Santa!) that are sold in Paris (Parque Arauco), the local fashion store Paes (Centro Comercial Lo Castillo, local 206) and via social media. These are cult favorite shoes so get a pair now! Photos: Ramonas

14) La Coetzina   you may remember from my blog the other day, but Adel gets another shout out because her things make me drool, seriously. I can´t wait to get my order in time for Christmas next week!! Photos by La Coetzina.

15) Attilio & Mochi is a small, independent vineyard located on the way to Tunquen and the creation of passionate winemakers, Angela and Marcos. Their range of wines perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the area and they also do tours and tastings if you want to make an afternoon of it.

 

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Photo: Attilio & Mochi

16) Kruz Toca Madera is where I am (pretty sure) my Christmas present will be coming from this year. These products are made in Chile using wood from fallen trees, they don´t use any plastic and plant a tree for every tree they use as part of their endeavour to make Patagonia clean and green.  Photos: Kruz Toca Madera.

17) Olive oil from Oro de Torca, a small family-run farm based near Laguna Torca, makes for one of the best gifts for foodies – they are even classed as the best fine olive oil in the Southern Hemisphere (Sol DÓro gold medal winner).  As an aside, they are also hosting Camp MakeMake which looks to be an amazing experience for kids this summer!

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Photo: Oro de Torca

18) Hubbard & Smith sausages are made with love and care by Kate Smith. She follows traditional recipes and offers Cumberland sausages, Hot Italian, English Breakfast and more, as well as bacon and ham. Photos: Hubbard and Smith.

19) RM Arte y Deco is a store that I stumbled upon in Barrio Italia and just loved. Staffed by the artist, Raul Montecino himself, there are beautiful paintings, laminated copies and tshirts he has stamped with his designs.

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20) Pajarito de Mimbre creates stories, toys and gifts based upon the animals of Chile. In our house we love El Large Viaje del Pequeño Pudu, a book that is as much educational as it is fun. Photos: Pajarito de Mimbre

21) Last on the list but equally deserving of mention, is Woligu, a new venture of handmade leather straps for cameras and guitars. Send a WhatsApp to: +56991377445

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Photo: Woligu

Did you like this? Give me some love if you did!! Please share your photos to Instagram using the hashtag #prefierochileno and don´t forget to let me know of any other businesses to check out! Finally have a WONDERFUL Christmas – thank you all for reading!!

Interview with Editorial Dansema

As someone who loves to read, I have always felt discouraged by the high prices of books here in Chile.  The unfortunate effect of those prices has meant that books are not a common gift and seen as more of a luxury item, buffeted even further down the scale of desired items due to the popularity and ease of phones, computers and the internet.

Coming across Editorial Dansema, then, is something of a revelation. Well-priced kids books made in Chile? Umm yes please! Here I chat with Maike Pakroppa, the force behind the small business.

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Ten Questions with Editorial Dansema/ Diez Preguntitas con Editorial Dansema

Who is Editorial Dansema/ Quien es Editorial Dansema?

We are a family company, created by parents thinking of their children. We know that, as parents, finding well-priced and good quality books in Chile can be a difficult job.  The Leolibros format is very popular in Europe and has supported the reading of generations, and we though that by bringing it to Chile we could do the same here, showing parents that buying good books needn´t cost clp$5000 or more.

Somos una editorial familiar, creada por padres pensando en sus hijos. Sabemos, como padres, la difícil tarea de encontrar libros que sean económicos y de buena calidad. Vimos que los formatos de los Leolibros son famosos en Europa, y han aportado el gusto por la lectura a muchas generaciones. Nos gustaría que en Chile los padres vean que para comprar un libro entretenido no tienen que gastarse 5 mil pesos o más.

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How did Editorial Dansema begin/ Como empezo Editorial Dansema?

I spent a lot of time cuddling and reading with my eldest son after he was born. We´d always read a book before bed and talk about it together. I have always loved to read and grew up with lots of books at home, so when I had children I wanted the same for them, something that could be fun for them as well as educational. My husband didn´t have the same interest in books as I did as he grew up without them, but eventually his enthusiasm for them began to grow as he witnessed us, and soon we began fighting over who would read the bedtime story! He would then read in Spanish and me in German, though I was always at an advantage because it was easy for me to find good books cheaply overseas, whereas he would struggle finding the same in Chile.  From there the idea came to bring books in Spanish to Chile, so we acquired the licence to sell PIXI books here.  PIXI is an integral part of German culture, something which nearly all Germans know.  We want to offer the same extensive range of children´s books here, in the reach of everyone so that all children can grow up loving to read.

Cuando nació nuestro hijo mayor yo siempre disfruté leerle mucho. Pasamos mucho tiempo abrazados leyendo y conversando sobre los libros. Antes de acostarse siempre le leí una historia. Desde que fui niña siempre me han gustado los libros y siempre teníamos muchos en la casa. Quería pasar la misma pasión a mi hijo y además de ser un pasatiempo entretenido también es un pasatiempo educativo. Mi esposo no tenía la costumbre de leer por diversión, pero se dejó llevar por nuestro entusiasmo y  empezamos literalmente a pelearnos los instantes de lectura por ejemplo antes de acostarse, él leyendo siempre en español y yo siempre leyendo en alemán. Pero yo siempre tuve la ventaja de tener una abundancia de libros buenos a precios muy alcanzables y mi esposo siempre terminó frustrado de su búsqueda de libros a cierto presupuesto en Chile. Es ahí cuando surgió la idea de llevar a Chile libros entretenidos, variados, coleccionables y a un buen precio. Adquirimos la licencia de los libros PIXI alemanes, que son ya parte integral de la cultura alemana y donde casi no hay alemán que no los conozca. Queremos ofrecer una extensa variedad de libros infantiles en este mismo formato, en un español latino y al alcance de todos, para que los niños puedan descubrir esa pasión por la lectura desde chiquititos.

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Why do you think reading is important and why should it be promoted in Chile/ Por que es importante a leer y por que necesita ayuda en Chile?

Children, in general, love to read, and the more they do so, the more a love of reading will continue as they get older. This is something that is still little understood by adults here in Chile, and which should be promoted by the government, the educational sector and by businesses. Reading to children contributes, not only to a lifelong reading habit, but to the emotional development of the child. If you can spend quality time with your children, reading and discovering stories, you allow them to see from things from a different perspective. It has been proven that children who read often do better after they leave school, because their reading comprehenson has helped the to be more creative and with better memory skills, and able to acquire knowledge in a more natural way.  This has been proven the world over in various studies.

A los niños, en general, les encanta que les lean. Esta actividad contribuye en gran medida a la tarea de fomentar el gusto por la lectura en los niños. Pero falta crear conciencia en los adultos en Chile. Es algo que debería ser promovido por los gobiernos, el sector educacional, incluso desde las empresas. Leerles a los niños contribuye, no solo a crear un vínculo y hábito en los niños que les servirá para toda la vida, sino que aporta al crecimiento emocional y a la relación con ellos. Se puede pasar tiempo de calidad juntos con los niños y a través del contenido del libro, mostrarle la propia perspectiva y otras por supuesto.  Está comprobado que los niños a los cuales se les lee constantemente les van mucho mejor después en el colegio, porque su comprensión de lectura aumenta considerablemente, y esto ayuda a adquirir el conocimiento de forma más natural. Se fomenta la creatividad en ellos y la memoria. Todo esto, no solo lo decimos nosotros, sino que lo respaldan estudios en todo el mundo.

 

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Which is your favorite book from the collection/ Cual libro es tu favorito?

Our first collection is a mix of very different and entertaining stories, and it is difficult to choose one. My children love the classic ¨El Lobo y los Siete Cabritos¨ – all generations love the classics! My eldest son lost his first tooth recently and so loved to read ¨Maxi y el Diente Suelto¨.  My two-year old twins always laugh a lot with ¨Jan y Leo: Pelotos Locos¨.  Jan and Leo really want to play with their ball, but they have a very grumpy neighbour who does let them play until something very funny happens (read it to find out what!).  I was born in a small town but I still learnt something when I read ¨Descrubre la Granja¨.

Nuestra primera colección de mix de historias tiene historias muy distintas y entretenidas. Es difícil elegir uno. Actualmente a mis hijos les encanta el clásico “El lobo y los siete cabritos”, parece que generación por generación los clásicos nunca fallan. A mi hijo mayor se le cayó su primer diente hace poco y encantó leer como pasó esta misma etapa Maxi con su diente suelto. Y mis gemelos de dos años siempre se ríen con Jan y Leo: Pelotas locas. Jan y Leo tienen unas tremendas ganas de jugar a la pelota, pero tienen un vecino que no los deja jugar hasta que sucede algo muy divertido. Yo nací en un pueblo chico, pero todavía me asombra aprender por ejemplo cuántos huevos pone una gallina en el libro “Descubre la granja”.

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What is the publishing process like/ Como es el process para publicar libros?

So far we have only published the stories that we loved in German, which we have translated into Spanish and published in the special format of 10 x 10cms.  We know that there are many more marvellous stories still to edit and bring to children, so we hope to work on publishing Chilean authors and illustrators.in 2018.

Estamos recién empezando y hasta ahora hemos publicado solamente las historias que nos encantaron en alemán y las traducimos al español en este formato especial de 10 x 10 cms. Pero sabemos que hay muchas historias maravillosas para editar y poner al alcance de todos los niños. Esperamos poder trabajar con editores, escritores e ilustradores chilenos y publicar sus ideas, a partir del 2018. 

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How has reception been in Chile/ Como ha sido la recepcion en Chile?

Right up until now we have had a very good reception. We know that this year (2017) has been particularly difficult for the sector, but the good price and quality of our books has helped with that.  Each week we are improving our sales points and slowly we are becoming more recognized.  Already we have sent out books outside of Santiago, purely by word of mouth alone.

Hasta el momento hemos tenido una muy buena recepción. Sabemos que este año 2017 ha sido particularmente difícil para el sector, pero la relación precio/calidad de nuestros libros se presenta como una oportunidad en estos momentos.  Estamos semana a semana aumentando los puntos de venta y poco a poco haciéndonos más conocidos. Ya tenemos pedidos desde regiones y eso que ha sido sólo por el boca a boca.

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What is the story behind PIXI books/ Cual es la historia de los libros PIXI?

The books were created in 1954 in Germany by Editorial Carlsen and are known as PIXi in Europe.  More than 450 million copies have been sold in Germany alone, with some 13 milllion sold each year.  More than 2000 titles and 200 series´ have been published, holding the Guiness World Record as the company with the most illustrated books sold worldwide.  They have been translated into Arabic, Albanian, Cantonese, Croatian, English, French, Danish, Dutch,  Finnish, Mandarin, Macedonian, Polish, Swedesh and Serbian, and now (by us), Spanish.

Los libros fueron creados en 1954 en Alemania por la Editorial Carlsen y son conocidos por su marca PIXI en Europa. Más de 450 millones de ejemplares han sido vendidos desde que salieron a la venta los primeros Pixis sólo en Alemania, y se venden en promedio 13 millones de ejemplares por año. Más de 2.000 títulos y más de 200 series se han publicado hasta el momento y está actualmente postulando para los Record Guiness como la serie de libros ilustrados más exitosa de todos los tiempos.  Hasta ahora los “Pixi-libros” han sido traducidos al: inglés, francés, holandés, danés, finlandés, polaco, sueco, serbio, albanés, árabe, chino, croata, macedonio y chino mandarín. Ahora, a partir del 2017 al español en Chile.

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Now for something more general! Where is your favorite place in Chile / Donde esta tu lugar favorito en Chile?

I fell in love with Quintay at first sight. When I went for the first time you still had to go along a dirt road; it has changed a lot since then and not always for the better – it´s more popular and busy now but it remains a place that I love to escape to for the day from Santiago. We dream of having a house there one day, with a view of that marvellous sea!

Me enamoré de Quintay a primera visita. Cuando fui por primera vez todavía había camino de tierra para llegar a este maravilloso pueblo. Cambió mucho desde ahí y no todo para mejor, es mucho más popular y frecuentado ahora, pero sigue siendo nuestro escape por el día de Santiago y soñamos con tener una casa con vista al mar ahí algún día.

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Maike and two of her children.

Where is your favorite restaurant/ Donde esta tu restaurant favorito?

Unfortunately, my favorite restaurant, Alto Peru, closed while we were abroad and I still haven´t found a replacement! But, in general, I love the wharf at Quintay: fresh seafood, good service and the best view.

Lamentablemente, mi restaurante favorito Alto Peru cerró mientras estuvimos viviendo en el extranjero. Todavía no he encontrado un reemplazo. Pero, en general, me encanta la caleta de Quintay para comer: pescados y mariscos frescos, buen servicio y con la mejor vista al mar.

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Quintay

What is next for Editorial Dansema/ Que es el proximo para Editorial Dansema?

We want to develop the format of our books and include technology so that we offer something innovative, practical, functional, easy to use and collect and, above all, with attractive and well-priced content so that adults and children alike learn to love reading.

Queremos innovar aún más en el formato de los libros y vincularlos con la tecnología (específicamente la de realidad aumentada) para que sean innovadores, prácticos, funcionales, fáciles de llevar, coleccionables y sobre todo que tengan un contenido atractivo a un precio conveniente, para fomentar en los niños y sus papás la lectura por gusto.

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The Nitty Gritty

Website: http://www.editorialdansema.cl/

Email: contacto@editorialdansema.cl

Instagram here

Facebook here

* Photos by Editorial Dansema.  This post has not been sponsored!

 

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Need more great ideas this Christmas?  Have a look at

Beautiful kids clothes from ÑIRRE BEBE;

books and handmade creations from PAJARITO DE MIMBRE;

delicious cakes, pastries and meals from LA COETZINA;

handmade watches from TTANTI;

fun clothes for adults and children from LA PITUKA;

sunglasses made from recycled jeans and fishing nets from KARUN;

 

 

Winebox Valparaiso

If you live in Chile, then I´m sure you´ve heard the buzz surrounding the arrival of WineBox Valparaiso.  The colossal aparthotel is situated on Cerro Mariposas, on the site of a former neighborhood dumping ground, and is the first touristic undertaking on the hill.

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The site as it originally was.

With Winebox, architect Camila Ulloa has created something memorable but also comfortable, an amazing feat of engineering that is constructed of 25 recycled shipping containers.  The containers were inspired by owner Grant Phelps´ hometown of Christchurch, a city which began rebuilding (after the 2011 earthquake) with containers.

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The containers are insulated with newspapers and the rooms are furnished with furniture made of some 3000 wooden pallets. There are nineteen rooms with a private terrace, and two suites.

Phelps has an extensive background in Chile, brought here as a winemaker some sixteen years ago.  He has worked for Casas del Bosque, among others, began the Beso Negro project and has been published all around the world as a sommelier, including in Lonely Planet.  It is only fitting then, that his hotel has an emphasis on wine. There is a wine cellar, dedicated to highlighting small-scale producers, and a store selling over 300 varietals.

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On the agenda is a restaurant and bar due to open in 2018, though currently Grant is offering wine pairing dinners and events, as well as tours of the project with barrel tastings of the WineBox wine – first wine ever to be produced in the city of Valparaiso.

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I find this project incredibly fun and a hugely positive venture for the city of Valparaiso.  Visually, it is a stunner and never quite the same anywhere you look. Grant is also a confident and warm personality, a wonderful host and a man who believes wholeheartedly in giving back to Chile, supporting small providers and wine. The next time you plan a weekend away, book a room at WineBox – you won´t be disappointed.

The Nitty Gritty

Address: 763 Avenida Baquedano, Valparaíso

Phone: 09 9424 5331

Email: grant.phelps@gmail.com

Facebook here

Instagram here

Tours: Standard tour runs Sunday 12-5pm (English/Spanish) and includes a tasting of 3 WineBox wines for $5000 (duration 1 hour). Private group tours cost $20,000 per person and include a tasting of 7 wines – all personally overseen by Grant – and run for about 2.5 hours.

Lunch: available on the rooftop terrace for groups.

 

*All images by WineBox Valparaiso*

This post has not been sponsored – I just think its very innovative and fun!

La Coetzina Pies & Pastries

As we come into the silly season, the question on everybody´s lips is ¨where do I buy those flaming mince pies?!¨ Christmas is when many of us expats give in to nostalgia and start reminiscing about the food joys of our youth: the Christmas pudding, the trifle and ambrosia, roast dinners and pies … This is the time when I give in to the urge and start traipsing around the city in search of advent calendars and imported biscuits and tightly boxed up (and expensive) puddings, with the hope that each bite will transport me into the past when Christmas was simply the most magical moment of the year.

A medida que entramos en la temporada navideña, la pregunta en boca de todos es “¿dónde comprar esos pastelitos que recuerdan mi niñez?!¨ La Navidad es cuando muchos de nosotros, los expatriados, nos entregamos a la nostalgia y comenzamos a recordar las alegrías de la comida de nuestra juventud: el pudín de Navidad, la trifle y la ambrosía, las cenas al horno y pasteles … Este es el momento en que cedo ante el impulso y empiezo a pasear por la ciudad en busca de calendarios navideños y galletas importadas, y postres caros, con la esperanza de que cada mordisco me transportara al pasado cuando la Navidad era simplemente el momento más mágico del año.

Allow me to introduce La Coetzina South African Pies & Pastries, a home-based business that will not only blow your Christmas-crazed mind, but that also ticks all those boxes that are important to me: small and local. I have even wrangled a special offer for my readers too  – 10% if you order before the end of February!! Now let´s turn the spotlight on Adel to find out more about her delicious creations …

Permítanme presentar La Coetzina South African Pies & Pastries, un negocio hogareño que no solo hará volar su mente enloquecida por la Navidad, sino que también cumple todos los requisitos que son importantes para mí: pequeño y local. Ofrezco una oferta especial para mis lectores: ¡10% si compras antes de finales de febrero! Ahora centrémonos en Adel para saber más sobre sus deliciosas creaciones …

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Ten Questions with Adel from La Coetzina/Diez Preguntas con Adel de La Coetzina

La Coetzina is an online bakery, primarily of South African goodies, but with a lot of international favorites, that strives to create nostalgia with their home baked and cooked food. Order before Thursday with delivery on Friday each week.  80% of items can be made vegan, gluten-free, whole grain or lactose free. 

La Coetzina es una panadería online, principalmente sudafricana, pero con muchas preparaciones internacionales, que se esfuerza por crear nostalgia con su comida casera y cocinada. Ordene antes del Jueves con entrega los Viernes de cada semana. El 80% de los artículos se pueden hacer veganos, sin gluten, integrales o sin lactosa.

 Who is La Coetzina/Quien es La Coetzina?

My name is Adel and I am from the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa. I have no formal training but grew up with two grandmas who inspired me. My mum´s mom baked cakes for a living and taught me about fondant and the tricks of the trade since I was a teeny weeny little girl. My dad´s mum was a hardcore farm woman who taught me about farm food, life and the basics- the perfect balance.  My fiance Carlos helps me in the kitchen.

Mi nombre es Adel y soy de Sudáfrica. No tengo entrenamiento formal pero crecí con dos abuelas que me inspiraron. La mamá de mi mamá horneaba pasteles para ganarse la vida y me enseñó sobre el fondant y los trucos del oficio, ya que yo era una niñita chiquita. La madre de mi padre era una granjera que me enseñó sobre lo básico de la comida y la vida en la granja. El equilibrio perfecto. Mi novio Carlos me ayuda en la cocina.

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Where the magic begins – baking headquaters!

What made you move to Chile/Que te motivo para venir a Chile?

After living in Spain for 4 years, (and eleven years of traveling) I decided it was time for a new adventure.  Ipacked my bags and came to Chile to teach English at an institute for one year. I met Carlos halfway through that year and it was love at first sight! One thing led to the other and here I am.

Después de vivir en España durante 4 años, decidí que era hora de una nueva aventura, hice las maletas y vine a Chile a enseñar inglés en un instituto por un año. Conocí a Carlos a la mitad de ese año y fue amor a primera vista. Una cosa llevó a la otra y aquí estoy.

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Photo of Adel

What made you start your own business/Que te hizo comenzar tu propio negocio?

I ALWAYS wanted to have a bakery. When I was a kid my Barbie dolls even had a bakery.  Because the one cent coin in South Africa is really brown and small, I used to pretend it was my Barbies´ chocolate cookies. I didn´t play house house when I was little, I just pretended to have a bakery. When I was in South Africa in March 2016, I was watching TV while visiting my family when Carlos called me and asked to  check a specific website. It was La Coetzina. He bought a web domain, came up with the name and surprised me.

SIEMPRE quise tener una panadería. Incluso mis Barbies, cuando era niña,tenían una panadería. Jugaba con las pequeñas monedas sudáfricanas, pretendiendo que eran galletas de mis muñecas.  Por lo tanto siempre ha sido mi sueño.  Estuve en Sudáfrica en Marzo de 2016 viendo televisión mientras visitaba a mi familia, cuando Carlos me llamó y me pidió que revisara un sitio web específico. Fue La Coetzina. Se le ocurrió el nombre, compro el sitio web y eso me sorprendió mucho.

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Cranberry, raisin, apple, cherry, cinnamon and rum filled mince pies, all wrapped up in sweet pastry.  $10,000 for 12

What is your favorite thing to make/ Cual es tu preparacion favorita?

Orange cake. I love raw batter and I always leave the mixing bowl in the fridge to enjoy scraping out after the long days work – honestly! The most time consuming would be koeksisters – they are a lot of work.  First I make the dough, then knead it for twenty minutes. Then I let it sit for an hour, roll it out and cut out three fingers for each, which I then plait and fry. I then make the syrup, dunk them in and finally – voila!

Pastel de naranja. Me encanta la masa cruda y siempre dejo el tazón en la nevera para disfrutar de los raspados después de los largos días de trabajo. ¡Honestamente! Los que consumen más tiempo son los koeksisters, son mucho trabajo. Primero hago la masa, luego la amaso durante veinte minutos. Luego lo dejo reposar durante una hora, lo extiendo, lo corto en tres dedos cada uno, y luego los trenzo y los frio. Luego hago el jarabe, los meto en el agua y, finalmente, esta listo!

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Orange Cake $14,000

What is your bestseller/ Cual es el producto mas vendido?

Beetroot chocolate cake!!! Pureed beetroot gives the cake a wonderful moist and velvety texture without tasting the beets at all – NO lies. It´s just 60% beets, cacao amargo and some other ingredients, all vegan, and drenched in fudge frosting or ganache. I put a super amount of icing on cakes because – how else? Everyone that has tried this cake has fallen in love instantly with it and swears its their favorite.

Pastel de chocolate de beterraga !!! La beterraga pura le da al pastel una maravillosa textura húmeda y aterciopelada sin probar la beterraga. Sin mentiras. 60% de beterraga, cacao amargo y algunos otros ingredientes, todos veganos. Empapado en fudge frosting o ganache. Puse una gran cantidad de glaseado en tortas. ¿De que otra forma? Cualquiera que haya probado este pastel se ha enamorado de él al instante y jura que es su favorito.

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Beetroot Choc Cake. Price between $18,000-$30,000 depending on size

Your business is based around South African pies and pastries. What are some typical yummy things we could try from there/ Tu panaderia se basa en productos sudafricanos. Que producto tradicional puedes recomendarnos?

Koeksisters, which are a South African pastry dipped in lemon and ginger syrup.  Bobotie is a meat dish consisting of ground beef mixed with lots of raisins, spices and curry topped with egg custard and served with rice, chutney and coconut (both below).

Koeksisters es un pastel tradicional que es sumergido en un jarabe de limon y jengibre. Bobotie es un plato que consiste de carne molida mezclada con pasas, especies y curry con crema pastelera y servido con arroz, chutney y coco.

What does ´La Coetzina´ mean/ Que significa La Coetzina?

It is a mix of my surname, Coetzee, and cocina (kitchen in Spanish).

Es una mezcla de mi apellido, Coetzee, y la palabra cocina.

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Traditional Mince Lasagna $24,000

What do you miss from South Africa and what do you like about living in Chile/ Que extrañas de Sudafrica y que te gusta sobre Chile?

I miss the people – loud, funny and witty with a dash of sarcasm. In Chile I love all the fresh produce, especially the ferias (markets) and La Vega, any chef´s dream.

Extraño la gente reuidosa y chistosa con un toque de sarcasmo. En Chile me gusta la variedad de frutos y vegetales frescos, especialmente las ferias y La Vega, el sueño de un chef.

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Frikadelle (South African meatballs) $8000

Where is your favorite place in Chile/ Cual es tu lugar favorito en Chile?

Tirana (town) when La Tirana festival is on.

El pueblo de la Tirana durante la festividad.

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Salted Caramel Cupcakes (6) $12,000

Do you have a favorite food spot/ Tienes un lugar preferido para comida?

Nothing in particular, although I love the rooftop restaurants in Valparaiso where Carlos is from. My favorite food is Mote con Heusillo at any street feria, eating and drinking while browsing. The best combination.

Nada en particular, pero me gustan los restaurantes con terrazas en Valparaiso, de donde Carlos proviene. Me gusta tomar Mote con Huesillo en la feria.

What is next for La Coetzina/ Cual es el futuro para La Coetzina?

To have a shop or not have a shop, that is the big question. La Coetzina is doing so well online that I´m tied. A little cafeteria would be ideal because at the moment you can only order half or full portions of my food, and delivery is only on Fridays. I can issue boletas and facturas, and I have a kitchen assistant. I think the next step would be to have more delivery days, expand here at home and then see if I still want to open a shop.

Tener o no una tienda, esa es la gran pregunta. Hemos tenido tanto exito online que no estamos seguros de abrir una tienda. Una pequeña cafeteria seria ideal porque en este momento solo si pueden comprar porciones grandes, y despacho es solo los Viernes. Puedo dar boletas y facturas, y tambien tengo un asistente de cocina.  El proximo paso sera establecer mas dias de despacho, expandir mi trabajo en casa y despues ver si la posibilidad de una tienda.

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English Muffins $800 c/u

Christmas/Navidad!!

Cut-off date for Christmas orders is the 15 December

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Pan de Pascua with buttercream glaze $12,000
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Hot Cross Buns $12,000
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Gingerbread men (8) $4000
advert xmas 5 - Copy
Gingerbread Houses $850 c/u
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More posts for foodies:

the salt of Cahuil;

wild food at Silvestre Bistro;

vegetarian and vegan food at La Fraternal;

Restaurant Casa Luz review;

Australian tukka at Jimbo´s Pie Shop;
Vietnamese fare at Rico Saigon Cafe;
Chinese restaurant Foodlays;

La Serena & the Elqui Valley Photo Diary

Laguna Conchali

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Stopping outside of La Ligua for some of their Chile-famous pastries
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Manjar-filled delight
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Laguna Conchali, outside of Los Vilos. A great spot for bird watching.
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Birds to spot: Chiloe Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Great Egret, Chilean Mockingbird, White-Tailed Kite, White-Tuted Grebe, and more.

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Turbines everywhere on the way between Los Vilos and La Serena

La Serena

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The Japanese Garden
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Cueca Brava in the Mercado La Recova

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Eating papayas makes a delicious way to spend your time in La Serena!

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Inside the Museo Arqueologico

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The La Serena Lighthouse

Vicuña

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Death mask of Gabriela Mistral, South America´s first Nobel Prize winner, and who was born in Vicuña.  The town also has a museum dedicated to her life and achievements.

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Checking out the Pisquera Aba distillery
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Pisco with Maqui, a berry found in the south of Argentina and Chile. Que RICO!
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Visiting the stars with Alfa Aldea. Highly recommended.
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Only Spring and we are already swimming! We found our cabaña on Yapo – no middle man to pay and great prices!

Villa Seca + Paihuano

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Sun-baked goods in Villa Seca! Love to see all that solar energy being put to good use.
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Copao is a fruit endemic to Chile that comes from the Eulychnia acida cactus. The Elqui Valley is a great place to try it, along with deliciously cold and fresh fruit juices.

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Pisco Elqui

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Fundo Los Nichos, one of the few family owned distilleries in the area. Support small!

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More blogs like this:

Ovalle & the Limari Valley;

Punta de Choros ;

Sewell;

Chile in Photos;

Copiapo & Desierto Florido;

Beautiful Photos by Photographer Yorka;

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Open Day at the Aerodromo de Vitacura

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Each Spring a wonderful event happens: the annual open day at the Club de Planeadores (Aerodromo) de Vitacura.  Normally a private spot for pilots, it transforms every November into an all-day extravaganza for the whole family.  From helicopters you can hop into and explore, gliders, small planes and stands featuring all of Chile´s armed forces, the free event caters to all aviation fanatics from about 10am until around 6pm. This year there were hourly shows and even helicopter rides on offer too, from $20,000 for 20 minutes in the sky.

We really enjoyed learning about the SSOT Project (Sistema Satelital de Observacion de la Tierra) which is operated by the Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Chile).  The project has put a satellite developed by ASTRIUM (France) into the atmosphere above Chile to monitor and (eventually) predict trends across the areas most pertinent to Chile, namely, volcanic activity, seismic activity, forest fires and land mapping.  Find out more here.

Tip: there isn´t much shade so come prepared with hats and sunblock, and this year none of the food trucks sold water (only soft drinks).

 

The Nitty Gritty

Address: Santa Maria 6299, Vitacura, Santiago

Website here


More Family Fun ideas:

Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM);

Museo Aeronautico y del Espacio;

Museo Artequin;

Museo Ferroviario;

Parque de la Infancia;

Santiago with Kids (review)