Chilean Bread

A Brief Guide to Chilean Bread

I love bread. I am a self-confessed carbavore. I blame this condition on my German heritage, although in reality that probably doesn’t count as an excuse. But who cares?! Bread is the greatest.

Cera garlic bread

The most heart-breaking moment in movie history

Did you know that Chileans consume the greatest amount of bread per capita after the Germans? So needless to say, bread is an integral part of almost every meal in Chile. Breakfast is usually a “pancito” (bread) with cheese or maybe jam, not uncommonly lunch time includes a bread roll to top off the meal, and then, there’s the “once”.

Once is the Chilean equivalent of the British “elevenses” (morning tea) except it’s eaten at night. Locals will also tell you that once got its name from the miners in the north of Chile, who used it as a code word when they wanted to sneak off for a sip of aguardiente, a liquor which has eleven letters in it. This small meal typically consists of bread, cheese, tomato, avocado, bread, cold meats, maybe some butter or jam, and bread. Did I mention bread? And of course, the most popular bread in Chile is:

Marraqueta

Chilean Bread

Marraqueta

Soft, white bread with a crusty exterior, similar to a baguette except the locals would say it’s better, marraqueta is the king of Chilean bread. Before I left Australia, my Chilean friends could not stop raving to me about the greatness of marraqueta. “Mmmm marraqueta with avocado, cheese and tomato… oh oh marraqueta with butter and jam… you’ve got to try it!” And try it I did. Several times a day in the first weeks, until I realised my rate of bread consumption was unsustainable for my digestive tract, and my figure.

Dobladitas

Although I will always enjoy a nice fresh marraqueta, dobladitas are my favourite. This one, and many other typical Chilean breads, is made with lard, so it’s definitely not an everyday thing (but my god it’s bloody delicious). The first time I tried dobladitas was after a friend’s birthday party in a beautiful old country house. Since most our friends seem to be in the wine making business, it’s safe to say we were pretty hungover. We were woken up by his mum to a breakfast of dobladitas, fresh out of the oven and still warm, with butter, cheese, avocado, and steaming hot tea. Beats coffee and aspirin as a hangover cure let me tell ya!

Chilean Bread

Dobladitas

Hallulla

Not the first thing you think of when someone says Chilean bread, but perfect for the once nonetheless. This one is also made with lard, but I don’t find it as heavy as dobladitas. I love to eat hallulla with butter, some fresh, home-made pebre and a michelada on a warm afternoon or evening.

hallulla michelada pebre

Hallulla with pebre and micheladas. Doesn’t get much more Chilean than that!

Coliza

To me, coliza is like a cross between hallulla and dobladitas. It pulls apart easily because it is made of layers and layers of bread, and looks like it’s been folded over and over.

chilean bread

Coliza (I nicked the photo from http://www.panwitt.cl/img/coliza.jpg)

Tortilla de rescoldo

This one is an unleavened bread cooked over hot coals in a woodfire oven. Traditionally made by rural travellers over a campfire, tortilla de rescoldo has sentimental value for me because it reminds me of good old-fashioned Aussie damper, with that smokey flavour and rich woody taste. You can buy this one freshly made in the streets or sometimes restaurants have woodfire ovens and sell tortillas to take away.

Chilean tortilla bread

Tortilla de rescoldo fresh out of the oven

Oven for making tortilla

Woodfire bread oven

Pan amasado

Just like tortilla de rescoldo, I associate pan amasado with bread from the countryside. Soft and fluffy with a slight buttery taste, pan amasado is the perfect comfort food, with a slice of cheese or fresh out of the oven so that the butter melts when you spread it onto the warm bread.

pan amasado

Pan amasado served in a restaurant with pebre and chilli paste

This is not a complete list of Chilean bread, just a few of the common ones and how I feel about them. Feel free to comment if you think another one deserves a mention, or have delicious bread experiences of your own!

humitas

Humitas con Ensalada Chilena

With Easter just around the corner, I think it’s time to admit that Summer is finally over. But before it leaves the stage, I want to share with you one of my favourite summertime foods of Chile: Humitas!

Humitas are a delicious combination of freshly grated corn, onion, basil and butter, tied up inside a parcel of corn leaves and gently steamed or boiled in a pot of hot water. You can find them all over Chile, in restaurants or in the street, hand-made by someone’s mum.

They are also found in other South American countries, going by slightly different names, with small variations to ingredients and cooking techniques.

Chilean tomato salad

Ensalada Chilena in our brand new handmade ceramic bowl from Pomaire, Chile.

Ensalada Chilena, a tomato and onion salad, is the perfect side to this mouthwatering bundle of goodness, adding a nice contrast in texture and colour to the creamy yellow corn mix.

It’s also quite common to eat humitas as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar, alongside a cup of tea.

Unfortunately, corn is a crop harvested in Summer, so I won’t be eating these again until later in the year. Corn is available here in winter, but it is usually imported from the US and in an effort to reduce food miles, I’ll be giving it a miss.

unwrapped humita

Humita unwrapped