How many times can you look at photos of food arranged on my living room table (yes, you read that right), coffee table or balcony table? Many, judging by how long I’ve been at this. Thought I’d do something a little different today, details to follow.
But first I must wax southern hemispherish about how hot and crowded La Vega was today. And that’s on the Sunday of a three-day weekend (
assumption of Mary Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Thanks, Frances)). I wisely wore closed-toe shoes, and shuffled very slowly, and did not shout at or step on anyone, nor did I get pickpocketed. All good then. Today’s mission, in addition to the regular veggie-stock up was to find a different good cheese place, recommended by another cheese lover, where they sell the Boladero feta that has revolutionized how I feel about cheese in Chile. Previously I had found this cheese at the occasional café, or the fancy Jumbo at Lo Castillo, which is much more upscale than the one at the Costanera Center, evidenced by the presence of this cheese, as well as phyllo, and the street-selling fruit vendors who wanted 3,000 pesos for cherries the other day (see Vega prices below). But now I can go to other places to get that cheese. For example, La Vega.
First, let’s look at these gorgeous cheeses.
Well, that’s a display. You can’t really get anything from that, can you?
Cheese from Patagonia, sheep. Tasty, sharp, crumbly when it’s supposed to be. Fuerte. But where to get it?
The describing of where things are in La Vega is a bit like playing I spy with a person who has never been in the room you are describing. You know the place with all the peppers? ok, not there. You know the guy with the grey cat who sells the envases (paper packaging)? You know where the pig’s head usually is? Across from there on the south side, near the… It’s a royal pain. One day we will figure out a way to fix this, though I am only partially inclined to, because I kind of like the sleuthing. But in this case, for cheese, I will make an exception.
After la Vega Chica (coming in from Cal y Canto side), go in the right hand entrance, walk about 30 meters, and see this sign:
And then behold, get cheese that tastes like what you remember cheese tasting like in the old country, approved by foodies from three countries, USA (not me, a different foodie, who is more of a foodie than I am), France, and Australia. Prices are listed by the quarter, range from 1350 to 2700 ($2.20-$4.41 per 250 grams, or roughly the half pound). Also, as far as I can tell, this is the only feta commercially available that actually tastes like feta. We get a Danish one that tastes almost nothing like feta (not tangy, cow’s milk, etc) that people who don’t know better think is feta. Trust me on the cheese, already, ok?
The rest of the trip contained:
1 kilo Ranier cherries =1,000 CLP= $1.63
1/2 kilo giant blueberries= 1,000 CLP= $1.63
1 kilo spinach=1,000 CLP= $1.63
1/2 kilo arugula=1,000 CLP= $1.63
1 tray watercress= 300 CLP= $0.49
1 bunch cilantro=300 CLP= $0.49
1 bunch mint=500 CLP= $0.82
5 onions=500 CLP= $0.82
3 heads garlic=300 CLP= $0.49
1/2 kilo kumquats=1200 CLP= $1.96
2 avocados=600 CLP= $0.98
bag of cardoons (penca)=500 CLP= $0.82
8,500 CLP=13.88 (dollar is at 612)
Whereupon I have eaten a giant arugula salad and made blueberry lemon muffins from this recipe, and I have not yet tasted them, but they look fantastic. This is such a good time of year for everything fresh. And cheese. Have I mentioned the cheese? Varieties tried are the Ricotón (like ricotta salata, but sheep), Feta and queso de oveja maduro. (As opposed to queso de oveja madura, which would mean the sheep was old, not the cheese). Grammar lesson=free.