February 29, 2020 #ChileDiverse

Gastronomy: food of the Mapuche

In 2003, chef Ana Epulef opened her school and restaurant Mapu Iyagl in the vicinity of her native Curarrehue (a village 40 km from Pucón). There, Epulef has dedicated herself to rescuing and spreading the secrets of Mapuche gastronomy that she inherited from her mother and grandmother. On the other hand, at the end of 2015, and with the help of his mother, chef José Luis Calfucura opened the first Mapuche restaurant in Santiago. These examples are just a sample of the growing interest in the gastronomy of this people in Chile.

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Mapuche cuisine is based mainly on the collection of cereals and legumes available according to the season, honoring the strong connection with nature that this native people bring to the center of their beliefs and daily life. Here we show you some of their main preparations.

Sautéed pine nuts with merken

As its name indicates, this preparation is based on the fruits of the Araucaria, part of the native flora of the Araucanía region. The pine nuts are cooked and then sautéed with garlic, oregano and salt. The final touch to this dish is given by merken, another classic component of Mapuche cuisine. It is a seasoning made from smoked "cacho de cabra" chili, which is ground and combined with other spices, resulting in a condiment of intense and spicy flavor.

Rescoldo Tortillas

Although the tortilla de rescoldo is present in more than one culinary tradition in South America, it is also an important part of Mapuche gastronomy. The base of the tortilla is prepared like any other, however, at the time of cooking it is usually placed in a hole that is covered with ashes, which give it its unique flavor.

Empanadas de Digüeñes

During the southern spring, the digüeñes begin to emerge in the oak trees of the sector. These chewy mushrooms are used for salads and stews, and also as a filling for empanadas. Similar to the pine in a traditional empanada, the digüeñes are mixed with onion, parsley, bell pepper and hard-boiled egg to create the filling and then wrapped in the empanada dough and baked in the oven.


Also known as Katuto, mültrün is the bread of Mapuche gastronomy. Made mainly with wheat flour, mültrün is elongated in shape and is usually spread with honey or jam.


Although Muday is not a dish but a drink, it is also an essential part of the Mapuche diet. It is an alcoholic beverage made through the fermentation of cereal grains, which are left in the final preparation. Its alcoholic content is rather low and its use also has a ritual component, as it is one of the elements of the nguillatún, a Mapuche ceremony that seeks connection with the spiritual world.


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