Discover the Andes with Boragó’s Rodolfo Guzmán

Can’t get to Chile? Then enjoy our series of mini trips to this beautiful country, courtesy of a great chef
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Mushrooms ageing at 11,500 feet (3500m) in the Andes as featured in Boragó
Mushrooms ageing at 11,500 feet (3500m) in the Andes as featured in Boragó

“The world’s longest continental mountain range, the Andes, towering above Santiago at 23,000 feet, stretches along the eastern border of the entire country from north to south,” writes Chilean chef Rodolfo Guzmán, in our new book, Boragó. “All along the country, the peaks of the Andes are fully covered in snow almost year-round.”

That might not sound like a great gastronomic resource, yet Guzmán, who prides himself on pushing Chilean cuisine to new heights at his restaurant Boragó, found a way to incorporate both this environment and the local people’s knowledge.

 

City Chocolate Mushroom Cake, as featured in Boragó
City Chocolate Mushroom Cake, as featured in Boragó

“I had the opportunity to meet some people who live in the mountains and to learn about their life in the Andes, as well as about the way they eat,” he writes in our new book. “That gave me an idea! At the end of the summer, before the start of the mushroom gathering season in the woods along the coast, we could hang the mushrooms at an altitude of 11,500 feet and leave them there for the winter, at a temperature between zero and 10 degrees Fahrenheit with practically zero humidity and exposed to cold winds. I thought that these conditions might create a unique flavor. The idea was to keep them in the open air as if they were clothes hung out to dry until the end of the winter, and finally to slice them as if they were high-quality ham.” It’s an interesting technique, and also another great excuse - as if one were needed - to visit Chile’s beautiful, snow-capped peaks.

 

Boragó

Guzmán has developed a number of ideas for mushroom preparation and usage, including making mushroom garum (an ancient Roman fish sauce) and wrapping them in algae. Most intriguing, however, is his mushroom-based ice cream. The Boragó team are able to reduce the sugar content of the ice cream to practicality zero thanks to the starch content of the mushrooms, which makes for both a pleasing texture and flavour - solid, but melting quickly in the mouth. It’s a frozen taste of the Andes, delivered directly to the plate. For a gastronomic guide to Chile and its seemingly infinite culinary possibilities, order a copy of Boragó here. 


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