Those who visit the small commune of Contulmo- of about 6 thousand inhabitants -, in the Biobío region, enjoy landscapes that only the south of Chile can offer. But it is certainly not the only entertainment that the town has. The well-known Bistró Casa Kortwich, a pastry and biscuit shop and also a restaurant frequented by thousands of tourists throughout the year, has a unique charm.
“This restaurant has been operating since 2014, but my experience in gastronomy has been going on for more than 35 years. I grew up with the smell of sweets, cookies, pies and cakes, and in the same way I raised my daughters. It was a matter of time for the day to come when I decided to set up my own restaurant, which today is also a cafeteria”, confesses Silvana Benítez, owner of Casa Kortwich.
When it comes to tourism in Contulmo, a stop by this heritage house is mandatory. “It is well known in the area, it was built in 1889 and when we arrived in 1969, my dad bought it. Years later, as the house was so big, I decided to take advantage of it and transform it into a restaurant that was capable of attracting tourists”, explains its owner.
Silvana Benítez began many years ago working with dough and tells that her star recipe is the walnut kuchen (German pie). Today, she confesses that her life effort is 100% totally dedicated to her daughters. “Everything I have done in my life has been for my daughters, who today have professional degrees. I have the joy of receiving tourists from all over the world, who are delighted with the recipes we make, and my daughters were the main reason for that effort”, she declares excitedly.
The Bistró Casa Kortwich is a 100% gourmet restaurant aimed at tourism. With homemade and exotic dishes, worthy of the area where the gastronomic site was built, they captivate any traveler, who frequently arrives on recommendation. “We offer ostrich, deer, wild boar, partridges, German pork, kuchen and jams. All natural and homemade, mixing the German cuisine with Mapuche and Chilean. We receive from North Americans to Chinese, and they all leave with the same happy face”, she assures.
A pandemic that attracted needs
This 2020 has been a difficult year for a large part of the country’s merchants, producers and entrepreneurs, who wisely have had to manage their finances in the best way so that the long pause does not lead to bankruptcies. “In March I had no choice but to reinvent myself. I kept a lot of supplies and raw materials in my house and had nothing to do with them. I started selling on the streets, by bicycle or on foot, but I went from house to house offering my products that fortunately they bought from me because of how well known they are”, says Silvana Benítez.
“I don’t want to go bankrupt, I can cry and tell everyone that my effort has been 100% physical and emotional, because I do everything by hand, since I was little. I do not want this pandemic to ruin me because I see how many falls, and as a little entrepreneur, I am terrified that it will not allow me to keep going on “she confesses.
At the moment, the Bistró Casa Kortwich remains working, looking for all the ways to keep going on, but in a safe way for its workers and clients, and one of them is through the support that the Arriba Todos Juntos program has given it.
“Our greatest desire is to be able to once again receive the number of tourists that we have historically been serving. CMPC’s donation is a huge help because it will allow us to have implements that nowadays no one can spare. We want to have healthy clients and workers”, confirms Silvana Benítez.