Eric Kayser is obviously not Chilean.
It’s a French chain of artisan bakeries, proudly boasting international locations in Seoul, Tokyo, Kiev, New York – just to name a few.
In mid-2013, they added Santiago to their list, providing a delicious range of artisan breads, and amazing cakes and pastries, that only the French could have created.
Of course, Chileans have, and LOVE their bread, and are reported to be the world’s second biggest consumer of bread per capita, behind first-placed Germany. I first heard this straight from a Chilean’s bread-filled mouth, but I fact-checked it and immediately found a rather reputable-looking source in the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service that supports the claim.
Probably the most famous of Chilean bread is the marraqueta, and Chileans are fiercely proud and protective of it. It’s a little white bun that is folded and baked so that it comes out as four-pieces-in-one, ready to be easily snapped apart and gobbled up. When it’s done well, it’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, and is perfect for “choripan”, a popular “entrée” at Chilean barbecues consisting of “loganiza” (a fat juicy sausage) and “pebre”, a spiced salsa of tomatoes, onions and a little “aji” chilli. It’s delicious, and fills the void while you’re waiting for the large quantity of meat to cook.
But I digress. My point is, for me, the marraqueta is perfect for just such an occasion, but I was SO happy to discover Eric Kayser when they opened, and be provided with a variety of taste and texture.
I’m a particular fan of their Tourte de Meule, an airy-centred bread with a deliciously chewy crust. Yum! OK, so it’s not cheap at CLP $5.000 a loaf ($10), but they let you buy a half-loaf and will slice it to whatever thickness you want.
They also have a range of prepared lunches, including baguettes and sandwiches filled with quality fillings, quiches and croque monsieur, fresh salads, and yummy desserts. If you’re eating in, they even make a reasonable coffee which comes accompanied with a mini financier or meringue.
Their Santiago bakery is quite close to Plaza Peru, which is the perfect spot to enjoy a take-away baguette with jamon serrano, lettuce and cheese, and maybe a scrumptious tarte au citron if you’re treating yourself.
So, just when I was really starting to miss the delicious bread options back home, like the Rye and Sunflower from my local, Alison’s Handmade Bread, along came Eric Kayser, and firmly planted themselves on my list of things that I love about living in Chile.