Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wild Berries In Patagonia

For me, a cool aspect of travelling is experiencing things you can’t enjoy at home. Thus, the wild berries I picked and ate in southern Patagonia were of great interest.

The first I came across was the calafate berry (photo, above right), which lends its name to a large town in the region. The berries grow on thorny bushes and resemble blueberries in both color and size. They are on the tart side, though, and are often used to make jams. (Yes, I brought a jar home.)

We also encountered several types of berries that grow in the mountains in unforgiving conditions. These included the small, red murtilla berry, which doe
sn’t have much flavor but is prized for its water content by those stranded for weeks in the mountains (not us).

Unfortunately I forgot to record the name of another berry—this one small, red and poisonous—that our guide thankfully warned me about before I could sample.

My favorite, though, was the chaura berry (photo, left; video, below), which had a pinkish hue and a strawberryish flavor. Actually, the taste reminded me of a fake strawberry flavor, similar to what I remember the taste of the “berries” in Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries being.

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