PSA’s Venetia Martin experienced pure foodie indulgence at Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira in Chile’s beautiful Lakes region. After months of enduring Britain’s seemingly ceaseless winter, a luxurious riverside getaway with a focus on healthy and indulgent farm to table dining, in breathtaking surroundings at the foot of Villarrica Volcano with plenty of outdoor adventures to enjoy, was just what the doctor ordered.
Vira Vira’s Farm to Table Concept
Vira Vira’s farm to table concept (an increasingly fashionable trend amongst luxury hotels, but often just empty words…), is paving the way in Chile, providing guests with incredible healthy dining experiences as they take in the region’s exquisite scenery and adventure opportunities. Vira Vira, which gained the Relais & Chateaux accolade soon after opening, uses fresh, home grown produce; 90% of what you eat is grown on the Vira Vira farm, the other 10% is fresh seafood brought in straight from the coast. Dishes masterly prepared by a Michelin starred chef and his fabulous team, along with the expertise of two pastry chefs, a Swiss cheese expert and top sommelier, are presented to guests by the most charming and attentive restaurant manager and ultimate foodie, Cedric Vinckier. Set menus curated each day (three courses for lunch and 4 courses for dinner) cleverly introduce guests to a spectrum of flavours, colours and unusual delights, taking you on a culinary journey throughout your stay…
Venetia’s Foodie Highlights at Vira Vira
Welcome Treats on Arrival – A refreshing welcome cocktail followed by homemade chocolate truffles and Chilean sparkling wine on ice, to enjoy on our private veranda as we settled into peaceful surroundings overlooking the Liucura River:
Exploring the Flower Gardens – Edible flowers and aromatic herbs are cut just before each meal to decorate the dishes with bursts of colour, and the whole hotel is adorned with fresh flowers from the garden – the scent is incredible:
Tucking into a 3-Course Lunch – Fresh garden salad with homemade bread, shrimp and zucchini ragout, Pisco panna cotta with red fruit coulis – each course paired with a local Chilean wine:
Evening Indulgence – Root vegetables with black truffle emulsion, swiss chard with organic quinoa and smoked avocado, Valdivian Coast salmon with coconut sauce and cauliflower puree, chocolate mousse with toffee sauce:
No Better Way to Start the Day – Freshly squeezed juice blend of the day, energy smoothie, Vira Vira eggs (poached in a French souflee mould) with homemade bacon, freshly-baked pastries and french toast or pancakes with Hacienda honey. Plus a mouth-watering choice of Vira Vira specials from cinnamon porridge to Vegan breakfasts and healthy Chilean classics… there’s plenty to choose from every morning!
Picnic with a View – After hiking through monkey puzzle forests and over volcanic terrain, a surprise picnic snack of energising seeds and nuts, homemade olive bread and herbal tea, along with an amazing panoramic view of surrounding volcanoes, was the perfect treat:
Sunday Lunch, Chilean Style – Melon soup with wild mint, black truffle and mushroom risotto with vegetable confit, Vira Vira’s lemon pie:
Post-Rafting Cheese-Board – Setting off in an inflatable raft from the hotel’s river banks, we paddled down the Liucura river in complete serenity, bobbing over gentle rapids, watching birds drinking and catching glimpses of the beautiful Villarrica Volcano as the river meandered through lush forest. Hopping back on dry land, our guide surprised us with a delicious spread of Vira Vira’s famous Swiss cheese with homemade bread:
The Final Supper – Egg poached in its shell with cream of chives and Himalayan sea salt, creamy polenta persillade with hazelnuts, roasted tenderloin with rosemary, bearnaise sauce and bouchon potatoes, eclair with raspberries from the garden:
Inside Vira Vira’s Swiss Cheese Factory – When Vira Vira’s Swiss owners, the lovely Michael and Claudia moved to Chile, the one thing they truly missed from their homeland was cheese. The Vira Vira cheese factory was built first, before any of the rooms, showing just how passionate Michael and Claudia are about sharing this foodie delight with their guests. The lovely Patricio showed us behind the scenes, explaining the different processes for making Parmesan, blue cheese and camembert. Such care and love goes into this long and technical process and the team are so passionate about the art of producing top-quality cheese. Be sure to taste as much as you can during your stay!
Special Occasion? – Vira Vira’s riverside BBQ area is the perfect setting for a magical private dinner under the stars. Try Vira Vira’s own German sausage hot from the grill, followed by homemade strawberry and vanilla ice cream: