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Cheers to Naturalista Distillery!

The Naturalista Distillery, situated in the picturesque enclave of Los Huertos, Puerto Natales, boasts a uniquely privileged location. This is where Carmen Gloria, its visionary founder, embarked on her journey, crafting the very first aperitifs and digestifs using traditional local spices like calafate, rhubarb, and rose hip.

Carmen Gloria welcomes us into her warm abode. The aroma envelops us, inviting us to explore windows and counters, finding delicate, meticulously crafted bottles. As we venture into her kitchen, brimming with herbs, we unravel the fascinating tales behind this scene.

Carmen Gloria's vision was to unveil the abundant wealth of fruits and wild herbs flourishing around her, often overlooked and undervalued. She found not only the ingredients for her liqueurs but also the inspiration to make these products the centerpiece of both tourist and local dining experiences.

Nestled amidst the Patagonian steppe, alongside the Señoret Canal, and the orchards that grace this corner of Natales, the landscape itself beckoned to her creative spirit. Seeing what others had not, extracting nature's bounty, blending elements, conducting research in uncharted territories, and daring to innovate became her mission.

Upon her arrival in Los Huertos, Carmen Gloria's discovery of a cherry tree in her garden marked the inception of her venture. "My primary motivation for creating the liqueur line was to recognize the value of the region's raw materials, transforming them into products that could be shared with the world. It's a debt we owe to our country's natural resources," Carmen Gloria explained.

By resurrecting old recipes, she unearthed the ideal formula for calafate liqueur, a cornerstone of her vision - to allow our visitors to carry a piece of the pampa and its people home. "This project was always rooted in a tourism approach," Carmen Gloria emphasized. Subsequently, rosehip, rhubarb, sour cherry, paramela bitters, black bush liqueurs, and the remarkable 13 botanical gin joined the repertoire. The venture continued to evolve, consistently enchanting its patrons, and today, these spirits grace the tables of many restaurants in the capital of Ultima Esperanza.

"It all began in a playful manner. Initially, I merely wanted to experiment with crafting calafate liqueur, but in the process, I found myself exploring other fruits. I crafted liqueurs using ingredients I could find in the orchard, including wild celery. My motivation was to harness the orchard's potential. The land is so fertile, yielding both wild and cultivated fruits that are ideal," she reminisced.

Subsequently, she forged her first partnership with a local restaurant that expressed an interest in her liqueurs. Later, the acquisition of a CORFO innovation project provided the means to prototype recipes, transforming what was once a potential distillery into a thriving reality.

The Distillery Market

"Our efforts are focused on individuals seeking artisanal, limited edition liquors made from raw materials, primarily within the Horeca segment, catering to tourism. We're currently in an era of bespoke cocktail trends, and Natales, in particular, is witnessing a surge in the popularity of such preparations, which is why bars have also become important touchpoints," she elaborated.

The distillery's offerings can be savored at a range of restaurants and bars, including Play Natales, Mesita Grande, Guanaca Pizzeria, Santolla, and Last Hope. Additionally, you can purchase these products at select stores such as Wine and Market, Superfrut, Mandala Andino, The Veat Hotel, and Santolla restaurant.

Identity and quality stand as the pillars of this brand, which not only garners widespread admiration but also aspires to extend its reach beyond our borders. It is an inspirational and vibrant endeavor, guided by someone who has discerned the radiance in the Patagonian pampa, a vision that not everyone appreciates. Through unwavering dedication, hard work, and humility, she has achieved many of her dreams.

Liqours, bitters, and gin

The abundance of botanical resources in Puerto Natales has led to the creation of the 13 botanical gin, a fascinating fusion of dill, canelo pepper, rhubarb, paramela, smilax, lenga, and various other wild Patagonian flora.

In addition to this product, the most recent addition is the experimental calafate liqueur, along with rhubarb, sour cherry, rose hip, and paramela bitters. The latter, described by its founder as a "love liqueur," can be savored as a digestif or in cocktails accompanied by sparkling wine and/or gin. For the finest experience, it should be served at -3ºC.

What do we know about Paramela?

Paramela takes center stage as one of the prominent raw materials used in the distillery's liqueurs. Carmen Gloria diligently collects this herb from the surroundings of Torres del Paine. "Paramela is aromatic and possesses a resin that imparts a rich fragrance. It's available throughout the year and serves a variety of purposes, particularly in promoting well-being. Additionally, it's renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities," remarked the founder of the distillery.

 

According to the Chilean Ministry of the Environment, Paramela (Abesmia boronioides) is an endemic species found in the Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia. In Chile, its habitat is primarily concentrated in the Magallanes and Aysen regions. In the Magallanes region, Paramela is distributed across two provinces, Magallanes and Ultima Esperanza, with a particular stronghold in the San Gregorio sector (Magallanes), Torres del Paine National Park, and adjoining areas such as Estancia Lazo and Estancia Cerro Guido. It also thrives in Chubut and is dominant in specific locations across three Argentine provinces.

 

The Argentine CONICET Food Security Network website further elaborates on the significance of Paramela as a native plant in the Andean Patagonia. It has traditionally been used to alleviate joint pain and elevate body temperature through steam baths and infusions. The leaves and, to a lesser extent the stems, are employed, with its infusion consumed to combat fatigue, low energy, colds, and digestive ailments.

Sources:

https://clasificacionespecies.mma.gob.cl/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Adesmia_boronioides_12RCE_FIN.pdf

https://rsa.conicet.gov.ar/adhoc/paramela/

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