Patagonia Argentina, June 20, 2018

The Araucan Curanto

Photos: Rubén Escalante
Text: Graciela Francucci

The Curanto tradition
The road to Curanto
Where to taste it
How to prepare it

The Curanto Tradition

When we arrived in Colonia Suiza, we found a history of movements, changes, of belonging and not belonging, with the history of a man searching for a place to settle and build his dreams. It is as if between one culture and the other you converge into the Araucan curanto made by the Goyes, descendants of settlers that came from Valais, in French Switzerland. They came and adopted local traditions.

This tradition was introduced by the aborigines that initially came from southern Chile. May be its origin is Polynesian.

It is a ceremony where the food is cooked with the heat from round stones, placed in a hole in the ground. The stones are previously heated with logs, then maqui or nalca leaves (local bushes) are spread over the stones, meats and vegetables are placed on top, everything is covered with the same leaves, wet fabrics and the hole is covered with the soil.
The flavor of this type of cooking is slightly smoked, you have to try it...

The Swiss immigrants settled in this area of the Andean Range, a few km. from where Bariloche stands today, at the end of the last century.

They were farmers and gave a good impulse to the region. Most of them came to Chile and then crossed the Andes. Very few arrived from Buenos Aires, one of them was Eduardo Goye, father of Emilio Goye, pioneer of the commercial curanto.

All of them with immigrants of different origin like Germans from Chile, and mapuches that remained after the exterminating campaign by General Roca (1879), composed the population of this region at the beginning of the century.

The aborigines that populated and populate this land were the keepers of the curanto; it is their symbol: the prosperous harvest, the earth opening and delivering its fruits and the gratitude.