Tue 28 Jan 2014

Postcard From Chile: Machas



Machas are Chilean saltwater clams. They are bivalves with the scientific name mesodesma donacium. Their flesh looks like a stone-age flint head.

They are grey when raw but turn a lovely pink when cooked. The flavour is quite mild.


One of the most common dishes you will find on a menu in a Chilean seafood restaurant is Machas la parmesana, a gratin of machas with cheese, which is rarely parmesan in Chile.

Creamy dishes are giving way to lighter dishes where the favour of the seafood takes centre place. Today Peruvian cuisine has made it to Chile.

This mixed ceviche enjoyed at La Mar, an excellent Peruvian seafood restaurant in Santiago, has a macha in the foreground.


But where’s the wine? Look out for a number of seafood-friendly Chilean finds in our forthcoming South America offering, available from 3rd February.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.


  1. David Gill says:

    Your comments bring back so many happy memories of Chilean seafood. Especially machas a la parmesana. Six of us bought a sack of them in Zapallar in summer 1971 and managed to consume them in the course of an afternoon. White wine was not good in those days – the climate was too hot to produce decent whites and they were usually “ajerezado”. How different it is now with modern technology.
    With some 5,000 miles of coastline and only 11m population, mariscos were plentiful and inexpensive. I hear that now much of the catch goes to Japan, so they are becoming something of a luxury.
    Your piece convinces me that you must have one of the best jobs in the world!! But thank you for bringing all these wonderful wines to us from God’s own country.

Leave a comment