SANTIAGO – Chile Today taste tested Ñam (Yum!), a popular gastronomic festival that successfully transformed the usually peaceful and zen Santa Lucia Hill this weekend into a buzzing hive of activity, colorful decorations and delicious smells.
From the 4th until the 7th of April, Santa Lucia Hill was fully transformed, to the point of being almost unrecognizable, to host the 9th annual Ñam gastronomic festival. The decorations and set up were wonderfully done allowing visitors to easily stroll through the market stalls and food vendors with plenty of seating options, bathrooms and recycling points.
The event was intelligently divided into two sessions, Ñam Lunch (4,000 Pesos) and Ñam Sunset (3,000 Pesos), in order to avoid overcrowding. Indeed, while there were plenty of visitors, the lines were very short and manageable and the amount of seating was aplenty for all, which made the experience very enjoyable.
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Best of Chilean cuisine
The festival showcased Ñam Mercado and The Caleta Ñam, the best of Chilean cuisine from land to the sea, as well as many artisanal products such as honey, soaps, jams and spreads, wines and piscos, all available to try or purchase. Popular gourmet stands such as Babar, makes of artisan hummus and crackers, La Fermentista, who offer delicious and natural Sauerkraut, as well as Mundo Rural, a chain of stores that promote local sustainable trade by bringing local farm products to the city, were just some delicious Chilean vendors present this year.
A special area was dedicated to fishermen who came from all over Chile, which meant that seafood lovers were able to purchase fresh fish or skillfully prepared dishes straight from the source.
After visitors tasted and shopped their way up the hill they were faced with the ever-so-difficult decision of selecting their lunch or dinner. Food vendors were aplenty offering anything from vegetarian burgers and salads to traditional empanadas, grilled meats, ceviche, sandwiches and sweet smelling desserts.
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Classes and workshops
Famous local chefs, fishermen and bartenders had a section called Trasvasije kitchen dedicated solely for their classes and workshops. A fully functional kitchen was set up so that they could demonstrate the art of their craft for all who were interested in watching and following along.
Food would not be the same without the correct accompaniment, which is why Ñam Bars were conveniently located throughout the venue. The bars offered a variety of beverages from traditional wines and picos to imported and local beers, Johny Walker cocktails and gin and tonic, to name a few. There were also several fresh juice bars and a water dispensary.
The beautifully decorated, intelligently planned and well organized Ñam festival is a testament to the fact that Santiago is fully capable of putting on successful events. The festival had a comfortable and cozy feeling despite being staged in the center of a very large metropolitan area.
Visitors, young and old, local and international, singles or families, foodies and newbies alike, all seemed to be enjoying the event to its fullest. This is definitely a festival not be missed next year for those that will be in Santiago!
Born in Ukraine but raised in Canada since a young age, Kateryna Kurdyuk has since acquired a Masters of Media Studies and Communication from University of Melbourne in Australia and worked in the education field in Dubai, UAE. While currently working as an English Professor in Santiago, Chile, Kateryna is using her extensive experience living and travelling abroad to contribute as a writer to the emerging independent English-language media in Chile.