Photo of the Day: Mapuche Piñones Dish

From April 13 to 19, I traveled around Chile with two other American food journalists on a culinary media trip. Here's another snapshot from that week. —Robyn Lee


One of my new favorite ingredients that I had never come across before visiting Chile is the piñone, or pine nut. But it's not the same kind of pine nut you find in North America; these pine nuts come from the native Chilean Araucaria araucana, or monkey puzzle tree. As you can see in the photo above, taken at a small Mapuche restaurant run by Anita Epulef in the southern town of Curarrehue, these pine nuts are huge, resembling large, pointy elongated beans more than the little Tic-Tac-sized seed I'm used to. The taste is completely different too; when cooked, the dense, starchy piñone has a firm, somewhat waxy texture and has a mild flavor. You don't have to eat many of these to feel full.