Las Torres Patagonia team takes first prize at Calafate Fest - Reserva Las Torres

Las Torres Patagonia team takes first prize at Calafate Fest

José Miguel Castillo and Matías Vásquez, representatives from the Refugio Francés and Refugio Central, surprised the judges with their calafate pairing entries.

January 19, 2024 – As part of the celebration of a new version of the Calafate Fest, several exhibitors in regional gastronomy and cocktails put their skills to the test by incorporating calafate berries in their preparations, surprising the judges with impressive samples of Patagonian cuisine. Las Torres Patagonia participated, showcasing two entries of the cuisine that can be found at the Refugio Francés and Refugio Central.

Matías Vásquez (Refugio Central) and José Miguel Castillo (Refugio Francés).

Calafate Fest is an annual event held with the goal of raising the commercial value and promoting research on the properties of calafate, a delicious berry indigenous to the region, creating business opportunities in the Magallanes region and Chilean Antarctica.

In the event’s second year, our head bartender Federico Gil talked about using calafate in cocktails, and chef José Miguel Castillo, of Refugio Francés, joined us as well. Matías Vásquez, a bartender from Refugio Central, teamed up with Las Torres Patagonia to compete for the best drink and food pairing recipe.

Las Torres Patagonia team takes first prize at Calafate Fest

The competition tasked participants with creating a fusion between the two sides of the experience. Castillo and Vásquez, after discussing a strategy that would combine textures, flavors, and aromas in the set-up, came up with the following preparation— winning first place in the competition.

The dish prepared by the Las Torres Patagonia team featured a salmon croquette, with a sourdough and coffee base, and marinated in calafate, served with a textured rhubarb chutney, an extract of hierba buena—an aromatic member of the mint family—to intensify the flavor, and orange spheres with nutmeg in the shape of caviar with native matico flowers, giving the dish a herbal touch.

As for the cocktail, they used a base of Last Hope gin with infusions of hierba buena, calafate, and hierba buena oils.

Las Torres Patagonia team takes first prize at Calafate Fest

Both representatives from Las Torres Patagonia in cocktails and gastronomy received Barbucho-brand cutlery, and samples of drinks from the event’s various sponsors.

The trophy, which is sculpted from a thick calafate root, will remain in the hands of Las Torres Patagonia for this year, and must be defended next year in the third version of the event: Calafate Fest 2025.

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