Monday, 25 April 2011

What do you mean choclo isn’t chocolate?

Sunday morning, the bells toll an hour before church begins.  Then they ring half an hour before mass with a final ding at the end to say half an hour till mass.  The next peal is fifteen minutes before church starts and there are two dings at the end.  Five minutes before mass the bells strike again with three single dings at the end.  This means five minutes to go. This is when all the locals start running in.  Who can blame them for waiting?  We’d been sitting on the church steps for twenty-five minutes soaking up the sun before going in. 

Our church has two anti-snooze devices installed.  The backs of the pews have a lip of timber running along the top making it painful to lean back.  No maestro would have purposely built pews this way.  I sense orders from higher up.  If the temptation to nod off is still great the kneelers (I’m sure they have a proper name and I’m sure mum knows what it is) are made of hardwood and sloped on an angle that involves a certain amount of constant muscle contraction to stop you sliding off.

The chocolate Easter eggs made everything well again.  Our Chilean Pascua passed without anyone suffering from sugar overdose.  Perhaps the Easter Bunny should purchase his chocolate over the border where they use fresh milk.

This is the fruit stall that operates outside our church.  It’s there every day but Wednesday and Saturday, when everyone is at the feria.  As per normal the person who serves you isn’t the person who collects the money. They use an honesty system where the person who weighs the fruit tells you the amount which you have to relay to the cashier.   With the way the peso works here shopping can be difficult if you don’t know your numbers.  The smallest purchase involves a three-digit number.  A few items of fruit can be CH$680 or CH$1,290 or any other such number.  I’ve said it before but it’s vital to learn large numbers before coming here.

There are certain things you can do in a city where rainfall is a rarity.  Masking tape can be used to create an instant car park in a plaza.  This is only one half of the plaza.  I can imagine the conversation at the hardware store.
I need 600 rolls of masking tape.
¿Por que?
I’m making a car park.

Talluah has whipped up her first traditional dish.  This is Pastel de Choclo.  If you’re like me and you thought it meant a pastry with chocolate you’d be wrong but suitably impressed.  Choclo means corn.  This is a protein rich dish with beef, chicken, eggs, and sugar caramelised on the corn.  It’s very tasty and certainly something that surpasses the old meat pies in Australia.  If you’re in Valpo and you want to learn how to cook this dish, give The Yellow House a call and ask about their cooking classes.


  1. mmmm pastel de choclo es ricoo! :)

  2. O may goodness -- lots of bells ringing that would have been thrilling to listen to - can't find the REAL fresh chocolate here in Cabo so my Easter was with out the taste of such a delight - maybe when I pass through Chile I can get the real stuff or even in Barzil when we head there..umm last photo looks good - how about you learn how to make it and teach us bloggers.. wink!

  3. I'm not sure if the bells were thrilling or deafening... either way they did their job of hurrying everyone into church. Kris, I'm afraid you won't find good chocolate in Chile. Some of it is okay but fresh milk makes a big difference. I would suggest buying a supply in Argentina. ;)

    and the pastel de choclo was muy rico !!!