If there was such a thing as vegemite gelati, us Aussies would probably eat it…this is what happens when you feed your kids vegemite from the age of 6 months (yes recommended by my maternal health nurse). So it’s no wonder that Chileans are addicted to sweet things when dulce du leche and manjar are their national spreads. Dulce du leche is the equivalent to vegemite for Aussies or nutella for Italians.
Manjar (from Chile) and dulce de leche (from Argentina) is a bit like vegemite and marmite, essentially the same thing but each country will swear that their version is better.. (really just another thing for the Chileans and Argentines to argue about!).
Chileans have taken their and Argentina’s national spread and made everything into it. Aside from spreading it on their bread, you can find it as a filling in croissants, and all sorts of other pastries, as a liqueur, an ice cream (about 5 versions of it), and there’s probably even a deodorant or shampoo in those flavours!
It soon became one of my son’s favourite gelati flavours. Getting a gelati on a hot spring/summer’s day is great especially when the ice cream comes to you (always roving ice cream vendors in the parks), but even better after a day out. Finding a gelati shop isn’t too hard in the city centre. We found two of our favourite places with awesome flavours and more than a generous helping or two. It became such a regular excursion that we had to limit the buying to one for us to share, as it was costing us a fortune otherwise!
Chileans do love sweet things. Shop in a supermarket in Santiago, and it is hard to avoid the packet sweetened food, everything from desserts, spreads to drinks, snacks, yoghurts etc. Try finding healthy cereals, muesli bars or even natural unsweetened yoghurt!! I did find one….. literally one…. (you could try health food shops – I saw a couple during our city wanderings). We have to admit the banana smoothies from the markets did taste good…. especially with the added sugar… If you ask for no sugar it’ll be assumed you want sweetener instead, if you ask for NO sweetener and NO sugar, well you’ll get some strange looks….. !
The best thing about drinks in Santiago are the all natural fruit juices and the national Pisco Sour (alcoholic) drink. Pisco Sour is refreshing, and the bottled variety you buy in the supermarket doesn’t come close to the drink served in a bar/restaurant/cafe. The fresh fruit juices come in all sorts of varieties that would cost a fortune back home… Raspberry, strawberry, mango, you name it.. my son’s favourite was Chiramoya (melon). One of the benefits of travelling to a great fruit growing country….
My husband a runner, drunk the water all the time when he was running in Santiago. We were more cautious with our kids, and mostly filtered our drinking water.
According to locals we spoke to, and the internet (a useful website: www.allchile.net), the water is safe to drink. This means you can happily enjoy the famous and refreshing (sweet) “moto con huesillo” drink (tea with peach and corn kernels). It means you don’t have to freak out when your children splash water into their mouths when having a bath. It is the minerals in the water that is harder for your body to digest rather than the water being contaminated..so you might still experience slight tummy troubles. We decided to get into the mindset and routine of practising safe drinking water habits from the start of our trip and at the same time getting a workout from using our pump filter.
Best gelati places
MO’s gelateria: Monjitas 484: colourful beanbags out front..best gelati we found with cool flavours and huge serves!
Emporio la rosa: Merced 280: popular and famous known ice creamery. Does other types of desserts too. Good outdoor seating and Parque forestal is closeby if too busy.