Chile is a country lying in a territory that is very distinct, even from the rest of Latin America. This is mainly due to the geographical conditions: it has 4700 km of coast spreading along different climates and you can visit them from any Chilean city in no more than 2 hours, while also being able to be in 45 minutes in the high mountains. This is the case of Santiago, the place where I live and serve my food, in the restaurant called Boragó.
Santiago is located in the center of the country. Here, seasonal differences are very pronounced and we have now winter which is in Chile not particularly cold; however people from other parts of Latin America travel every year to visit the mountains, the snow, and to practice skiing. Winter is not very long and there’s barely any snowfall in the city itself, but the geographical location makes this season very dry and that makes the coldness more intense, especially when snow falls very near the city, covering the surrounding mountains like a blanket. Also the city is very dry, so imagine how this effect amplifies in the heights. It can reach almost 0% of humidity.
At the beginning of this autumn we were foraging mushrooms in the coastal forests. They are delicious. Last summer I was trying to figure out how to make the mushroom season last longer. I started looking for cultures which would pick mushrooms close to the coast and take them to the mountains covered with snow. I never found any literature pointing this out. This made me immensely curious about the possible result. So we took our mushrooms at the beginning of the winter to the mountain to 3500 m of altitude. I decided to hang them firmly and expose them to very intense wind and low temperatures—between -17° and -15° C until the winter ended. I don’t know yet what the results will be, but my intentions are leaving them there until there is no more snow. That’s the moment when I will take them back. By the end of September and the beginning of October I will find out what could I do with them. But I’m quite sure this process wasn’t possible before, because the long distances were insurmountable for the Chilean aboriginals—the Mapuche people—who still today eat these endemic species. I can’t contain my excitement for the moment to arrive.
If you know anybody anywhere doing anything similar with mushrooms I would be happy to exchange our experiences so please don´t be shy and get in touch with us : firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodolfo Guzman, Boragó (Sanriago, Chile)