Chile. You. This September.

by Liz Caskey on May 10, 2012

Out of the whole year, September is my favorite month. Early spring. The Andes gleam with white snow. The first wild flowers dot the vineyards as the buds break on the vines. The almond and plum trees decorate the valley floor with white and pink blossoms.  The Chilean flag flaps in the September breeze with its proud star. Chile in September is a month long celebration of La Patria, the mother country, as her Independence Day nears on September 18. It’s a time of celebration, rebirth, abundance, sharing, and love for Chileans–and whoever chooses to join them.

Here are nine reasons to join us this September 8-14, 2012 to explore Chile.

Empanada Mania: Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the deep, savory smell of beef-and-onion goodness. Empanadas de pino. Their aroma invades the air, the room, your nostrils. September is synonymous with empanadas, made from scratch with a juicy steak filling and crisp yet tender dough. In the countryside, the aroma wafts from the typical mud ovens where these delicious packages are baked to perfection. The perfect snack, brunch, lunch, dinner. Any time.

El Dieciocho: September 18 is the big holiday of the year. Think of it as Chile’s combination of July 4th and Thanksgiving. A time of national pride and unity with their Independence and celebrating rustic traditions from flying kites to rodeos and dancing cueca. A big focal point that brings people together is around the grill: Meats, sausages, skewers, empanadas. We’ll get down and dirty with some authentic festivities in the campo for you guys.

Springtime Flowers: After 3 months of rainy season, the landscape comes alive with spring flowers. Seas of red poppies cover hills; patches of orange poppies border the country roads. Flowers burst among vineyard rows. The cerros, hills, are carpeted in different shades of emerald. Cast against an azure sky, it’s so darn breathtaking.

Chile’s 3 C’s: Can you guess what this stands for? Stop reading and try. I’ll give you a hint—it’s wine-related. Okay, okay. Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Carignan. That’s where Chile has the world wine market cornered right now, in red wines at least. You’ll discover why Chile has the perfect terroir to grow primo Cabernet, especially in the Maipo. Understand how the “lost” grape from Bordeaux, Carmenere, found its home in Chile and has thrived. Taste the oddball grape, Carignan, made particularly small producers in the southern Maule valley—earthy, smooth as velvet and seductive.

Perfect Weather: Early spring in Chile means cool mornings and warm, sunshine-filled days in the high 60s to low 70s. Think of Napa in early April. It’s the perfect weather for a light sweater and a Sauvignon Blanc under the sun. It’s a breezy month that is full of freshness from the Pacific and Andes. Absolutely Delicious.

Hemisphere Hopping: By early September, the thought of cooler temperatures (especially for y’all down south) sounds heavenly, right? Just get on a plane and hop a hemisphere down to these latitudes where the above said weather is a reality. Jetlag? No, señor. We are on Eastern time in Chile until North America falls back; and we jump forward into summer in October.

Cheese, Olive Oil, Seafood, Oh my: This trip is for wine lovers, foodies, cooks, chefs, travellers and adventurists. Be prepared to have your mind blown by the food artisans, vintners, fishermen, cooks and people behind the projects we’ll visit. They are my inspiration. And they will be yours, too. Be sure to bring your notebook–and a camera (hopefully with the right battery charger…).

New Cooking Inspirations: Looking for new recipes and ways to eat at home. This trip will give you months’ worth of ideas and wine pairing combinations (and dinner party menus to impress your friends). Learn to make a mean ceviche, some seriously picante pil pil (garlic & chili sauce), master the art of Pastel de Choclo or empanadas. Chilean food is elemental and driven by the amazing ingredients. It will inspire you to eat cleaner, simpler, and embark on new flavor combinations. And the wine pairings? The wine intensive portion of the tour will be a class on Chilean Wines 101—without the final exam.

Cool people, seriously: Let’s face it, cool people unite on these tours. Lifelong friendships are born. Many abrazos are exchanged during a wine moment. The groups come from all walks of life but the driving force is the food, wine, travel, and good company. And of course, I will be on hand, as your host, to bring you all together.

Interested? Email us for more information and prices for our Signature Journey, Diverse, Vibrant Chile from September 8-14, 2012,

{ 1 comment }

Steven Taylor May 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Can’t wait for September, but first of all we’ll have to enjoy the ski season :)

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