Mercado Paula Gourmet 2010

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Last year, we went to what I now know was the second-ever Mercado Paula Gourmet. To be totally honest, I don’t understand why the title is arranged in that order since the event is a mercado gourmet (do I even need to translate that into the English “gourmet market?”) organized by the magazine Paula. But whatever, that’s what the thing is called, and frankly they can call it whatever they want as long as I get to eat yummy things. At this particular gourmet festival, products like olive and avocado oils, cheeses, jams, meats and other Chilean-made goods take center stage, and I happen to be a fan of pretty much all of those things.

This year the entrance fee was raised to $5.000 (US$10), the event was moved to Parque Araucano, and it ran an additional day, from Thursday through Sunday. All of these changes seemed to indicate it was going to be bigger and better than last year’s, so I was really excited to spend some time enjoying every last stall. At that price, you can bet I wasn’t going to miss even one possible sample of the various items! I also had the specific goal of taking more and better photos than last year, since most of the stalls have very visually appealing wares and presentations. I could have gone any day, but since I love my husband, and he could only go on Sunday, I agreed to wait.

This was a bad choice. On Friday, I learned that rain was forecast for Sunday. Luckily, or so I thought, on Saturday it was saying that the rain wouldn’t arrive until Sunday evening. However, when I woke up Sunday morning, it was decidedly drizzly. Attempting to pretend everything was fine, I went on my run anyway – I do not run when it’s too wet (or cold, or hot, or early, or late…), so this was an act of complete and utter denial. Sadly, the weather gods were not appeased by my sacrifice of a damp 2 miles, and by the time Rodolfo got home from practice, it had moved from drizzle to rain.

I am nothing if not determined, especially when slightly annoyed, so I told Rodolfo that since it was all his fault that we were going on a rainy day, he would be getting his coat and taking me anyway. The man knows me better than to argue, so the two of us plus a bundled-up Lola headed off to the park to see if the mercado was even open still.

To our delight, it was! And the entry fee was reduced to $4.000 due to the rain! We weren’t even the only people there, although it’s true that most of those people had gotten there during the drizzly part of the morning and were leaving by the time we rolled up.

It wasn’t a total loss. We did manage to snag some samples, and we got special rain prices on the things we bought to take home. We laughed at just how incredibly soaked we were, and Lola got plenty of sympathy due to the absolutely pathetic face she had on. For the record, her fur was completely dry under her jacket. They closed the event down while we were there because it really was just getting ridiculous, and the few photos I braved – cold, wet fingers aren’t exactly camera-friendly – are not quite what I’d had in mind. But we came home with yummy things, we had a fun afternoon, and we’re looking forward to next year – hopefully with sunshine.

Herbal teas in danger of getting drenched by the water collecting in their protective tarp
Pickled perdiz, a type of pheasant. This stall featured all sorts of pheasant products as well as products typical to the Mapuche, Chile’s main indigenous tribe.
I had no idea pheasant eggs were this color! They also are apparently used in Mapuche medicine.
Various organic offerings
We didn’t have time for wine tasting, sadly.
Our loot! Merkén-covered creamy goat cheese, organic free-range eggs, flowers, three organic jams, mantecoso cheese, assorted patés
Who knew eggs could be so pretty?
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