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The Maja

This is to mash apples using long flexible staves in a type of dugout canoe called a dornajo. Once mashed, the pulp is placed in woven baskets between the jaws of a press that extracts the apple juice. The name for the juice is chicha de manzana and it is very popular throughout the whole region and the nation.


The Curanto

This is a hotchpotch of meat, shellfish, potatoes, beans, fish, smoked sausage, milcao (a type of potato bread), etc which is cooked upon hot stones within a hole in the ground.

After digging the hole and lighting a fire, large stones are placed within. When these are good and hot the shellfish, potatoes and vegetables are placed upon them and covered, next is a layer of meat, fish and milcao and then straw and turf.

When the shellfish release their water this is the signal that the Curanto is prepared. A sudden vent of steam rises from the coverings. The reason for putting the shellfish at the bottom is to allow the juice that escapes from them to flavour and cook the layers above.


The Reitimiento

There is no true equivalent of this regional term in English; close meanings include melting, squandering, mad passion or burning love, all of which help to indicate the atmosphere of this event.

An interesting, original and traditional task of the country people of Chiloé is the "reitimiento" which usually occurs in winter. This commences with the slaughter of a pig and lasts a full day. To obtain lard, the pork fat and meat is rendered in cauldrons hanging over an open fire in a typical Chilote outside kitchen or "fogon". Also obtained are tasty pieces of deep fried skin called "chicharrones".

Whilst the men attend to this task, the women prepare roscas, sopaipillas and milcaos, (dough's and breads) which are also cooked along with the meat. Spicy blood sausages are boiled and then baked to accompany the feast. The hot work is accompanied by abundant quantities of "chicha de manzana" which by this time of year has fermented to a strong cider....


The Medán

One way country folk can obtain vital items without needing to spend cash is the Medan. Friends are invited to a great feast with plenty of liquor in the expectation that they will contribute gifts and labour. For instance the Medan may be for sowing wheat and those that bring seed help to sow it on the same day, receiving ample food and drink as their reward.


The Minga

Another form of sharing essential country tasks, this is a gathering of friends and acquaintances to undertake construction or agricultural labour with no other reward than the customary supply of food and drink. Generally a Minga is in aid of country tasks such as woodcutting, roofing a house, lifting potatoes, fencing, harvesting wheat or ploughing.




Chilote contraptions
The abundance timber has resulted in the development of an ingenious technology based upon wood for the construction of all types of equipment for use in the home or at work. In the museums of Chonchi, Castro and Ancud you will see everything from a dainty door latch to a ships anchor. Some typical wooden articles are:

Chicha Press:
This is constructed entirely of wood and will not alter the taste of the juice produced. After preliminary mashing, the apples are placed in a woven basket between the jaws of the press that is then screwed down to produce the juice. The presses can be seen in action during the apple harvest in February.

The Almud:
The Almud is a wooden container used at the market to measure produce. The volume of one almud is 6-8 litres. The measure is made with an intermediate bottom so that at one end it measures one almud and at the other a half. The Almud is of Spanish origin.




Varas fencing:
Constructed of the tough, flexible shrub Arrayán the ?varas? are woven like a basket around upright stakes placed in the ground. This fence is of Mapuche origin and is used to protect seedlings from stock animals.




The Birloche or Trineo:
A wooden sled pulled by bullocks and used to transport potatoes, wheat or sea produce, it can travel easily over the sandy beaches or muddy lanes. It is built upon two curved trunks so as to slide readily and is still commonly seen in the islands.

The Sacho:
A ship anchor with a heavy rock enclosed by pieces of wood and forming a cross at the base. The various parts are united with fibre ropes and attached to the boat with a line





Flour mills:
All parts except the millstones are constructed of wood. There are some fine examples to be seen between Castro and Dalcahue. The construction is simple but strong. A hopper feeds grain into the centre of the millstone and a collector catches the flour emerging between the stones. All is set in motion by falling water that rotates the stones via a wooden screw.


El Telar chilote:
This is horizontal and fixed to the floor of the home where the women sit cross-legged at their labour.
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