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The Central Valley Travel Guide

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No matter where or when you eat in the Central Valley, a good bottle of local wine is likely to be on the table, so knowing a handful of wine-related words will doubtless come in handy. Vino is the Spanish word for wine; red is tinto (never rojo) and white is blanco. You'll want to drink them by the copa, or wine glass, and desgustación and cata

both refer to a formal wine tasting.

Central Valley cuisine tends to be hearty fare based on locally raised beef and pork, served with local vegetables and followed by fruit-based desserts. These will always be accompanied by regional—usually red—wine. Most Chileans eat a big lunch around 1 pm and have a light dinner late in the evening. If you want to try real, home-style Chilean cooking, your best bet is to follow suit and look for lunch at the same time, even though you may need to adopt the local siesta habit as well. In the summer look for popular favorites such as porotos granados (fresh cranberry beans with corn, squash, and basil), humitas (Chilean tamales) with fresh-sliced tomatoes, or pastel de choclo (a savory ground-beef base served in a clay bowl, sometimes with a piece of chicken, and always generously slathered with a rich grated corn topping). Desserts are often simply fresh fruits served in their own juice. Do watch for the refreshing mote con huesillo served cold as a drink or dessert. Begin by eating the mote, a type of wheat hominy; then slurp up the juice from the huesillo, a large dried peach, and leave the peach for the final act of this three-course treat.

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