Fiestas Patrias & The First Orders
September 18 is a special day in Chile, correction, the week of September 18 is a special time for all Chilean people. These are the countries national holidays, a celebration of their culture, land and independence.
When booking my trips to Chile, I look to see what bands might be playing while there - typically, they draw amazing talent - I have seen Flogging Molly, Andy Summers and Greta Van Fleet in previous trips. During their national holidays however, most of the venues seem to have been booked with local talent and traditional parties. This was fine by me and it was a real treat to see such rich cultural traditions.
During the holidays, everything shuts down for 2-3 days, nothing is open so you need to stock up on everything prior to the 17th. This meant Claudia and I had to meet with our shoemakers early in the week to pick up the first of our orders. We spend several hours with at their facility and went into great detail on the processes of how each shoe is made.
This was fascinating and informative, we even picked up a few more tips on how to measure for a perfect fit - this is the biggest risk to our business! So, working with the cobbler on how they select the right last based on our measurements gives us great comfort in knowing we are doing things right in the measurement department.
The family of shoe makers are very friendly and all three generations are involved in the making of the boots for Franco Silva. Their tiny shop produces some amazing shoes and boots and their eye for detail and quality is apparent in every pair of shoes they make.
We were very excited to be picking up our first orders - they looked so good, I couldn't wait to get back to Canada and put them on our customers' feet!
To celebrate, Claudia took me to the National Stadium for Fiesta Patrias where I was able to sample some very Chilean drinks and foods! We had a Terremoto (earthquake) - which is very simply, a pineapple ice cream float in pipeño (a very young wine) and grenadine. These are delicious and have become their national drink in just a few short years - the drink was invented after the big earthquake in 2010. We had Anticuchos, which are huge chunks of beef on a stick, cooked over open coals - these are delicious and very inexpensive. For a treat after, we had Mote Con Huesillos - rehydrated peaches and whole kernel wheat pearls in the broth the peaches and wheat were cooked in, typically cooked with a cinnamon stick and some sugar - it is then chilled and served cold. These are delicious!
What struck me about these parties (we went to a few) was how accessible they were, nothing was overpriced; everything was very affordable - drinks, food, games, admission, entertainment - everyone from all parts of the city were able to gather and celebrate.
I'm hoping that we have many more orders to process and pick up next September!