20130821-212706.jpgChile is not known for their coffee, and many Chileans are self-professed tea drinkers.

In fact, despite producing some great coffee beans, no South American country I’ve ever visited has been known for making a great cup of coffee.

I have to say that I haven’t been to Colombia though, so they may be the exception.  But, when we were hiking through Peru a few years ago, I even remember being served some thick, coffee-rich syrup to add to hot water.  Disgusting!

It’s hard enough to order my coffee in South America.  What I order back home as a “long black” is considered politically incorrect (or worse) in some parts of the world and, although commonly known as an “americano” (including by the Italians, who know a thing about coffee!), I still often receive quizzical looks.  When you have to explain how to make it, you know it’s not a good sign.

20130817-194329.jpg 20130817-194339.jpg

It’s also hard to rely on coffee recommendations.  What an American or a Brit tells me is a good coffee, may not be my idea of a good coffee.  Even someone who has milk and sugar in their coffee is going to have a different opinion to mine.  Melbourne seems to have gained a reputation around the world for our coffee-loving ways, so my standards are probably quite particular.

Thankfully, although you can’t just walk into any little coffee shop in any neighbourhood and get a good coffee, the news is not all bad.

20130823-164423.jpg 20130823-164416.jpg

I mentioned a couple of my early finds and favourites in a post a while ago, such as Café Santiago and Café Sur, along with my all-time favourite and regular local hangout, Colmado, which not only has the great coffee, but also the personal service, good food and stylish decor of a small Melbourne café.

20140225-213035.jpgI’ve also enjoyed the coffee at Eric Kayser (which always comes with a little mini treat) when I’m in their part of town.  I’ve had good and bad a La Signorina in Bella Vista, and I was recently served a pretty good cup at Oporto, but “one sparrow does not a summer make”.

There are still places that come recommended that I am yet to try, such as Original Green Roasters, actually pretty close by in Providencia.

20140225-213054.jpg 20140225-213026.jpg

So, all is not lost for a Melbourne girl living in Santiago.  Although the options aren’t endless, there are options and, since a good coffee is something that I love, those quality options are, in turn, something that I love about living in Santiago.


Eric Kayser

20140215-222747.jpgEric 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.

20140215-222637.jpgProbably 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.

20140215-222627.jpgI’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.

20140215-222707.jpg 20140215-222717.jpg 20140215-222729.jpg 20140215-222737.jpg

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.