Chilean gastronomy before Chile: from the Pleistocene of Chinchihuapi stream to the current tables in the world

  • Lucio Cañete Arratia Grupo de Posibilismo de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile
  • Andrés Villavicencio Arce Sociedad Paleontológica de Chile (SPACH)
  • Jorge Zavalla Vásquez Sociedad Paleontológica de Chile (SPACH)
  • Felipe Guevara Pezoa Centro de Estudios en Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile (CECTA)
Palabras clave: Pleistocene, Gastronomy, Identity, Positioning, Monte Verde


The territory we now know as Chile began to be inhabited more than 15,000 years ago and scientific evidence shows that these first settlers unfurled a unique cuisine based on some animal and plant inputs that still exist in the diversity of this "Crazy Geography". However, food products from Late Pleistocene as such have been lost in the shadows of time and thus it has disappeared an important part of the cultural richness of the "first Chileans." Fortunately, paleontology with the support of simulation techniques and others technological advances can now illuminate a distant past and imagine the dishes that was cooked, shared and enjoyed in the human settlement located in the riverside of Chinchihuapi stream (Monte Verde, región de Los Lagos, Chile), the oldest of America. Besides, it is likely that this food has had the organoleptic, safety and nutritional qualities which are valued in the present time. So, now that Chilean cuisine tries to position itself as a tourist attractor and achieve a place of prestige in world cuisine, it emerges the initiative to offer a kind of gastronomy inspired in the people of Monte Verde. Therefore, this project aims to set up different recipes for a gastronomic offer in restaurants, supermarkets and dining room at home. These recipes will be the result of semi-heuristic combinations of inputs currently available revealed by paleontological studies, which will be tested in terms of safety, nutrition, organoleptic qualities. The combinations resulting higher performance in these biological and chemicalphysical test; will be endowed of cultural load (name, decoration, story ...) based on the same paleontological studies. We hope that this project allows as soon as possible that a foreign tourist in a restaurant can enjoy a tasty and healthy food with an attractive name, alluring story and singular cutlery similar to that which was served fifteen millennia ago by the first inhabitants of what is now Chile.


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