In this new Vik cycle we will be revealing our suppliers’ great work right from their place of origin. In this first online session, our Executive Chef Pablo Cáceres goes to Cahuil, a village near Pichilemu in the O’Higgins Region, to visit Elsa Pavez, the owner and producer of the “Los Cisnes” brand of sea salt from Cahuil. Her family has been producing salt there for over 40 years and now Elsa has succeeded in gaining denomination of origin certification. She explains that the salt is produced using the very same methods employed since the time before the Spaniards arrived in Chile. A number of solar evaporation ponds are formed around the Cahuil lagoon, which adjoins the ocean. These ponds retain seawater, which gradually evaporates naturally, leaving behind 100% pure salt which does not need any kind of additive. “Salt is a fundamental product in every kitchen, as it helps to bring out the flavours of the raw materials being used to prepare the dishes,” explains Pablo, Vik Chile’s Executive Chef. He gets coarse salt and Fleur de sel from Cahuil.
Vik on Tour: bringing local producers closer to your palate and to Milla Milla
Elsa tells us that Fleur de sel has more properties than regular salt and is much harder to get hold of. She adds that her salt is very special because the evaporation ponds being used date back to the Spanish colonial period and the salt tastes better every year. During this visit we also meet her daughter, Ivonne, was an important contributor to the project, helping to create more products based on this precious salt, which are now also used for spa treatments at Vik Chile.
After visiting the salt ponds, we went to their store, where you can buy all the products that they make with their salt and where handicrafts from other local producers are also on sale, such as clay pots, grains like quinoa, as well as beans and dried fruits. Elsa tells us that she believes that salt, at the spiritual level, has the ability to channel energies and protect people, and so she decided to make small bags of salt of different colours, which represent different aspects of life, so that her customers can give them as spiritual gifts to their loved ones. It is important to bear in mind that the productive months are January to March and that fair weather is needed for the salt to dry, so it is vital to preserve it for the rest of the year. It therefore occurred to her to make different products based on salt, like “gourmet” salt that has different flavours added, such as oregano and garlic, and also to sell it in salt grinders, as well as in bags with grains of different sizes. She tells us that her latest product is sea salt with wine and we are interested in being able to contribute to production next year. You can buy this salt at the store in Cahuil and all the products are also available online from https://loscisnessaldemar.cl/ And now you can also get them at Vik Chile, as they and her range of conserves are on sale in our “VIK EMPORIUM”.