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  • Writer's pictureMarion Marquardt

Promotion Video for the Calafate Fest

In January we were invited to Estancia Mercedes for the production of a promotional video of the Calafate Fest. The Estancia is a typical South American ranch that is still being worked on. It is idyllically located on the Antonio Varas peninsula in Chilean Patagonia. The Estancia has been offering sustainable tourism for several years. The focus is on tradition, authenticity and closeness to nature. Only 6 guest beds are available, so the stay is a unique experience being part of the family's everyday life.



This year, for the first time, the so-called Calafate Festival is planned, a festival in honor of the native Calafate berry. Guests are invited on three days in January, everything is about the delicious berries that are now ripe. The event is an immense logistical effort due to the remoteness of the place. A 15-minute boat transfer across the fjord from Puerto Natales is required, followed by a 1-hour drive. The place is just indescribably beautiful. In the middle of a bay is the main house of the estancia, the property covers 13,000 hectares of land on which horses, cattle, sheep and other livestock live.


We have been asked to capture photos and videos of the first edition of the Calafate Fest in order to promote future events, especially the second one in February. We arrive two days before the festival begins. Sebastian and Grissel, who live on the estancia with their 5-year-old daughter Naitiri, give us a warm welcome. We have 6 volunteers on site who help with the festival and everyday life on the ranch. We don't know how many guests are coming for the event and what exactly is on the program. It's all about eating and drinking. Cocktail and cooking workshops are planned, with focus on the Calafate berry. According to lore, anyone who eats calafate will come back for more, in Spanish "El que come calafate ha de volver".


In fact, the berry is very tasty. On the very first day we go harvesting Calafate with Grissel. With us, Rafael, French cook and volunteer at the estancia. He will moderate the cooking workshops at the festival. He already has the corresponding recipes in his head, and we can “test” some of them beforehand. We document the harvest on video. It is very important for Grissel to convey the entire process of harvesting, preparation and tasting, which emphasizes the Estancia's closeness to nature. We use the rest of the day to get an overview of the site and shoot one or the other scene in the guest house.


calafate berry estancia mercedes puerto natales antonio varas gaucho patagonia
Raphaël picking Calafate berries


calafate berry estancia mercedes puerto natales antonio varas gaucho patagonia
Tradition and cosyness in the authentic living room of the Estancia

The festival starts on Friday, the first guests arrive around 11 a.m. The weather is fantastic, sunshine, hardly any wind. We accompany the events with two cameras at the same time. Micha films, I shoot some photos. The opening is with cocktails, the calafate berry always playing the leading role. At the bar right on the bay, Gina skilfully mixes Calafate Sours. Afterwards, the guests can try asado - meat that is slowly cooked on a skewer. Raphaël prepares suitable sauces from Calafate. Activities such as kayaking and horseback riding are available later in the day.





The next festival days are similar. Since the weather is a bit unstable on Saturday, the workshops are moved into the barn. There is also a small museum with antique objects since the foundation in 1916. The place is still used for shearing sheep, processing meat, etc. We have the opportunity to shoot the scenes again at a different location. The light in the antique building is beautiful. In addition to the culinary delights and activities, a lot of local products are presented - based on Calafate, of course. The so-called barberry is known for its antioxidant effect and therefore is often used in natural cosmetics. We learn about the special features of the products and put people and brands in the limelight.


calafate berry estancia mercedes puerto natales antonio varas gaucho patagonia
Raphaël presenting his receipes in the historic barn

Sunday is another festival day that we accompany. In the evening around 9 p.m. the last guests leave the estancia, for us it's time to relax. In total there were around 100 visitors. I'm sure if the promotional video hits, there will be a lot more in February. And here you can see the result:




By the way, many of our recordings can also be found on the Calafate Fest website.


Thanks to Grissel and Sebastian for the hospitality and trust. We really enjoyed the stay. And we will be back - not only because of the Calafate berry :-)


calafate berry estancia mercedes puerto natales antonio varas gaucho patagonia
Sebastían - a wild soul

And here are all the companies that were present at the Calafate Fest:

  • Estancia Mercedes @estancia_mercedes

  • Forest bathing - Dorthe @bosque_somos

  • Kajaking - Angelo @espiritu.patagon_kayak

  • Cocktail Workshops – Gina @ginaortiga

  • Cooking Workshops – Rafael @vanlife.food

  • Asado – Alex @alexguerrero_parrillero

  • Snacks and sweets - Ñami @murucrea

  • Beer – Sebastián Maltok

  • Natural products – Susanne @tesorosdelbosqueencantado

  • Craft gin, Whisky and Cocktails – Matt @lasthope_distillery

  • Face and hand cremes - Marcelo @cosmeticoskenos


You can read more about our stay at the Estancia Mercedes in our >>> travel blog.

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