A book on Chile’s Patagonia has taken highest honors at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris on Tuesday, topping a field that included thousands of entrants from over 140 different countries.
More than just a cookbook, Patagonian Cuisine: Rivers, Lakes & Chiloé District, celebrates the extraordinary natural, cultural and culinary heritage of the region, through spectacular photographs, colorful anecdotes and – of course – recipes, collected in the travels of a writer-chef-photographer of the Gourmet Patagonia company.
“Patagonia is one of these places in the world – like the Sahara or the Amazon – whose name evokes an attraction that largely transcends the country’s that comprise them,” said author Francisco Fantini. “Every country has its own south, but only two have Patagonia, and Chile is one of them.”
The books include recipes like “Roasted Kawke with Pewenes & Merkén” – a fish from northern Patagonia that is seasoned in an indigenous Chilean spice and “perfumed” with cypress branches.
Exotic dishes aside, however, Gourmet Patagonia’s latest publication stood apart from the competition because of its double-pronged mission to make not just cookbooks, but also works of art, as well as to spread the immense natural and cultural heritage of Chile’s southernmost regions.
The company hopes primarily to help local producers sell their products on an international stage, and ultimately promote sustainable development in the area by converting Chilean Patagonia into a world-class gastronomical destination.
“Patagonia is a very pure place, where the cows still eat grass – and not pellets -, where the fish and seafood have an exquisite flavor because of the purity of the seawater, and where the rain is not contaminated; and also where there is a very important cultural heritage,” Fantini said.
So far it is a mission that has met with huge international success; this is the second consecutive year that the company has featured on the Gourmand winners’ podium, with last year’s Gastronomy of the Sea: Chilean Patagonia coming in at second place in the world seafood category.