After arriving at the bus terminal on the banks of the beautiful wide Valdivia river, we took a taxi to the home of our host, Camila. We were spoiled once again, as Camila lives in a beautiful two-story townhouse with two adorable cats and her Italian boyfriend, who is a theoretical physicist, but was unfortunately conducting research in Minneapolis when we visited. Camila is 25 years old and from a town outside of Argentina (La Plata). She designs lingerie in her studio at home and sells her customized designs on Esty under the name Toru and Naoko.
We immediately felt at home with Camilla and took these few days to relax and research our next destinations. The city was small, clean, peaceful and located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, which provided the city with access to incredible seafood. There are also several German style breweries located here, the most famous being Kuntsmann.
The first night we arrived Lisa made Thai green curry with chicken, which Camilla thoroughly enjoyed, and even asked for the recipe. The next night Camilla returned the favor and showed us how to make traditional Argentinian beef empanadas, which were pretty simple as long as you can find the pre-made empanada dough. On our final night in Valdivia we were truly spoiled as Camila agreed to teach us how to make sushi! We went to the promenade along the river to peruse the local fish market and purchased 1.5 kilos of fresh salmon, as well as avocado, cucumber, carrots and chives.
The process was very interesting and not necessary complicated, but did require a fair amount of work filleting the salmon, preparing the rice with the right amount of vinegar, salt, and sugar, and mixing the tempura batter. We took turns making rolls with our favorite ingredients, and in typical Latin fashion there was of course plenty of cream cheese. In the end I think we made 6-7 rolls, tempura shrimp skewers, and a few nigiris. The rolls turned out amazing and we can’t wait to continue practicing when we get back home.
We felt rejuvenated after our stay in Valdivia. We enjoyed cheap, delicious Chilean wine nightly, learned an abundance about Argentina (our eventual next destination), purchased bus tickets, printed materials for both our Argentine and Brasilian Ryan even talked Camilla into giving him a haircut before we left.