“Our goal at Awasi is not to make you feel at home but to the contrary; we would like for you to feel as though you are visiting your close friends' home, which will let you experience the local culture. Our kitchen will always be flexible. In Atacama our cuisine tries to use the best ingredients we can get here using them in tasty and healthy presentations, that way we can put a little bit of the dessert at every meal.”
Terminology: t. = tax, s.n.i. = service not included, s.i. = service included
While the Atacama Desert seems an unlikely to be a source of biodiversity and inspiring new recipes, Awasi Atacama’s chef Juan Pablo Mardones has found it to be exactly that. Since the hotel opened, he has invested considerable time in studying and searching out local ingredients.
Some, like quinoa and papa morada—a gourmet variety of blue-violet potato—are widely known. But many are native to the region and only grow wild; these include edible algarrobo pods from the carob tree, rosa de año—a flower that blossoms in the desert after the annual rainy season, and one of the chef’s staples: the sweet fruit of the Chilean chañar tree.
The chañar is a small, thorny tree that grows exclusively in very dry areas, pervading local culture and folklore as a result of its medicinal properties. The chef, however, uses its principally to delight his guests’ taste buds, deriving an intense syrup, with woody tones, from the tree. This serves as a versatile aromatic base, known as “Arrope de chañar”, which features strongly in Awasi Atacama’s sweet dishes.