Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shout out to Rick

June 18th, 2009

Blog by Esther Ritter

"Shout out to Rick"

Thanks to all who have been following our trip with Darrell Corti to Chile. If it wasn't for Rick Mindermann (Corti Bros store director & Darrell's personal assistant), we'd be sending Pen Pal letters.

Stephanie Locher and I (from were essentially there to capture Darrell on his travels through the food and wine cultures of Chile. I know by the end of a very long shoot and travel day, I was ready to put my head on the pillow. Not Rick. After a long dinner (and many Pisco Sours) Rick stayed up late (and sometimes early into the morning) and blogged, sent pictures and video to our site.

He scoured the tiny nooks of rural Chile to find an Internet connection. Coffee shops, country vineyards, you name it...Rick was a man obsessed to send a timely account of our journey.

I don't know how he did it, but he did. We are grateful of his amazing stamina and energy; his dedication and his talent.

Thank you, Rick!

Darrell Tasting

Darrell smells, listens, contemplates, tastes, listens, contemplates.
June 18th, 2009. Blog by Esther Ritter
"Travels with Darrell"
There's a reason very few people have followed Darrell on an international culinary trek: it's hard to keep up with him!
At age 67, Darrell is considered one of the foremost experts on wine, olive oil and all that is the culinary. But don't let his professional outfit fool you (signature slacks, tie, sweater and suspenders). Although he may look like the culinary Mr. Rogers, Darrell has deep passion and legendary passion on the road.
After a grueling overnight flight to Santiago, Chile, Darrell immediately hit the Santiago central Mercado (market). Exotic sea foods, little known vegetables, Darrell was a gracious teacher and host to a camera to which he was initially coy.
As a photojournalist who has worked in the food/garden/how-to genre for a few decades, I found Darrell to be a generous and an exciting subject. The minute I turned the camera on him, he delivered content gold.
But it wasn't just me who felt that way around Darrell. He was invited to Chile as a guest of CORFO, the Chilean Economic Development Agency, to observe and speak to wine makers, olive oil producers and fruit growers. Regardless of his audience (big producers, small producers, well know or up and coming) when Darrell speaks, people listen. A fluent Spanish speaker, he literally enraptured the attention of the people who gathered around him. He intertwines his opinion of food and wine with history, philosophy and economics.
But Darrell doesn't just speak...he listens. Intently. That's how he learns (and spending hours in at the local bookstores or library). He hangs around until the last person has had a chance to speak with him. He's a true statesman; someone who is honest, intelligent and kind. Darrell is truly a generous man.
I felt honored to tag along side Darrell. He spent countless hours in the van listening to (and laughing at) our vulgar jokes, strange references to underpants and keeping accurate count of our obsessive drive to drink 100 Pisco Sours. He even pulled out his white handkerchief to give me a white balance for my camera. I found Darrell to be a truly fun and interesting travel companion.
My last question to Darrell is...where next?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nano Vehicles

Chile may very well have the distinction of having the most diverse number of cars and trucks on the road in the world. We never saw two of the same make, model, or even body style of car or truck next to each other at any one time. I was taken by the mini, micro, and even nano in vehicles there. Chevrolet has a Corsa model there which I affectionately named the "Chevrolet Pimpola" yes... that's pimple. Although I never snapped a picture of the Pimpola, I did get the closest thing...that would be the Hyundai Blemish". I loved the Suzuki super micro van. I tried to sell Esther on bringing one home and told her she could use it as an equipment van. The Company logo would look really good on it and might just fit on it. She could probably even squeeze her camera inside.

More to come.

June 17, 2009. Our blog is now current, so our whole trip is outlined in text, pictures, and videos. Feel free to comment, or ask questions, and we will respond. We will be adding some video from the two HD Cameras, commentary, how to's, and more over the next week or two, so check back on our blog.

Pisco Sour Count

June 14, 2009. We got to the airport 2 hours before flight time, so we had to up our Pisco Sour Count. We had 87 total after the 4 in Darrell's room at the hotel. We each had one at the airport, upping our count to 91. Esther and I each had a second one bringing our total count to 93 Pisco Sours. 7 shy of our 100 Pisco Sour Goal goal. Esther and I thoguht about 7 more for a moment, but we were going to board the plane soon. Oh well...guess we'll be back to try again.

Preparing for departure

June 14, 2009. We left Ichiban restaurant and headed back to the Grand Hyatt to pack for home. It began to rain, which was a very good thing, as there has been almost no rain the past months here and rain and snow is much needed here. The weather has been perfect our whole trip. As Roberto drove us to the Hotel, he made the most endearing comment of the trip. He said "The weather has been very good for you the past 7 days and now you are leaving us. Santiago now crys with rain that you are leaving us." Roberto you touched our hearts. Thank you for everything! We gathered in Darrell's room for another round of Pisco Sours, then headed off to the Airport.

Ichiban Serenade

June 14, 2009. CORFO Executive, our dear friend and rock-n-roll star, Pablo Ugarte serenades us after lunch at Ichiban, while authenticating the hand made Andean flute I bought at the art market for my son.