Ark of taste
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This species of algae was first classified in 1822, under the name of “Fucus antarticus” and is now commonly known as cochayuyo (from Quechuan cocha = lake and yuyo = algae). The current scientific name is Durvillaea antartica.
Apart from New Zealand marine waters, this algae grows predominantly in the Antarctic waters of southern Chile, specifically in the area Puerto Montt in the Lake Region.
Its habitat is along very rocky coasts, to which it can easily attach, especially ones with wind exposure, open sea waves and cold temperatures. It can reach up to 15 meters in length and has a very intense brownish-green color.
Nutritionally it is very rich in minerals, magnesium, iron and iodine: in popular tradition it is also used to cure some ailments.
Once picked, the cochayuyo is left to dry in the sun and then sold in typical “bunches”. Cochayuyo has been historically present in local cuisine and is still used in soups and salads. Before using it, it has to be rehydrated in water for some hours, after which it can be roasted in the oven or boiled. Due to its internal alveolar structure it has a very meaty consistency when cooked. Common in stews, soups, salads and sweets, cochayuyo can also be used as a thickener for sauces and to season many dishes.

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