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Costa Rica Comida TĂ­pica


Remarkably cosmopolitan, the restaurants in San José and a few other cities offer a wealth of dining options. These span the globe, from Peruvian to Indian, with French and Italian cuisine being well represented. In the countryside, food is based on traditional staples - rice and beans, accompanied by pork or chicken and tropical vegetables. Regional variations are prevalent, especially along the nation’s eastern seeaboard, where AfroCaribbean dishes are infused with coconut milk and spices. Hot spices are rarely used elsewhere in Costa Rica. Small snack shops, called sodas, are found throughout the country, as are fast-food chain outlets, both US and local. Roadside fruit stalls are ubiquitous, with fresh fruits being an important part of the local diet. Some vegetarian restaurants exist in San José and other major cities, and most other establishments will feature at least one vegetarian dish. At Costa Rica’s ferias de agricultores (farmers markets), stalls are piled with glistening fruit, including exotics such as guayaba, marañon, and papaya. Tomatoes, peppers and squash add their own bouquets and hues, as does a potpourri of herbs and spices.


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Comida Típica Traditional Dishes

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Sabores Caribeños Carribean Flavors

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Verduras Vegetables & Fruits

12

Panes Breads & Baked Goods

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Bocas Snacks

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Sopas & Guisados Soups & Stews

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Carnes & Platillos Meats & Dishes

28

Bebidas Drinks


Traditional Foods MAĂ?S also known as corn, is a grass domesticated in Mesoamerica. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th Century, maize spread to the rest of the world. Maize and cornmeaal constitutes a staple food in many regions of the world. POTATO is a starchy, tuberous crop. It found its origin in the area of southern Peru and was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago. Potatoes were domesticated in the Inca Empire. Potatoes yield abundantly with little effort, and adapt readily to diverse climates so long as the climate is cool and moist enough for the plants to grow.

Traditional Dishes 2


RICE AND BEANS Rice is rich in starch, an excellent source of energy along with iron, vitamin B and protein. Beans are also protein-rich, and contain a good amount of iron and other necessary minerals, and the consumption of the two in tandem provides all of the essential amino acids. Rice and beans together create a complete protein not available in either ingredient alone. HOT PEPPERS are considered vegetables, or spices for culinary purposes. Chili peppers originated in the Americas, their cultivars are now grown around the world, because they are wildly used as food and as medicine.

3 Comida TĂ­pica


Sugar and Spice

The Caribbean coast has its own unique cuisine, distinctive of the rest of the nation. The dishes usually include coconut milk and more characteristic spices, like ginger and curry. Coconuts are widely used in the Caribbean. Grated coconut is used in many deserts and cakes. Coconut milk is a staple used to bind other ingredients in recipes.

BLACK PEPPER

is a flowering vine, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Pepercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them Pepper is native to India, and has been known since at least 2000 BC.

GARLIC

is a part of the onion family. It has a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. It is often paired with onion, tomato and ginger.

NUTMEG

nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg is slightly sweeter. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine and eggnog.

CURRY

studies have shown that curry may help prevent certain diseases, including colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Carribean Flavors 4


ALLSPICE

also known as jamaica pepper, kurundu, myrtle pepper, pimenta or newspice. It is a spice which is the dried unripe fruit of a mid-canopy tree, cultivated in many warm parts of the world. It is thought to combine the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

5 Sabores Caribe単os

COCONUT

comes from the coconut palm tree. It has many culinary uses. The coconut water contains sugar, fiber proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Many carribean dishes use coconut milk.

GINGER

is a tuber which is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. Ginger cultivation began in asia and has since spread to India, West Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger acts as a useful food preservative, and has been proven to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella.

CACAO

cultivation, cultural elaboration and use of cacao were extensive and early in Mesoamerica. They Maya believed that the cacao was discovered by the gods in a mountain that also contained other delectable foods to be used by the Maya.


PAPAYA De papaja is de vrucht van een meloenboom en wordt dan ook “boommeloen” genoemd. MANGO is rijp, groen, geel, oranje, rood of bontgekleurd. PINEAPPLE is een woord uit het Tupi, de taal van de Tupi indianen en betekent fruit met een sterke geur. CANTELOUPE een gehuchtje in de buurt van Rome, waar deze meloenen in de tuin van de Paus werden geteeld. WATERMELON was reeds in China bekend vóór de christelijke kalender, sommigen zeggen duizend jaar. Watermeloen is rijk aan vocht. Men kan ervan eten en zo de dorst lessen.

Fruits & Vegetables 6


AVOCADO De naam avocado komt oorspronkelijk van het Nahuatl woord ahuacatl, dat overigens ook “teelbal” betekent. GUAVA worden tot marmelade, jam, compote verwerkt. CASHEW werd al in de zestiende eeuw door Portugese zeevaarders naar India en Mozambique gebracht. LEMONS In fruitsalades is citroen heel geschikt om bruinverkleuring van de andere vruchten te voorkomen. PASSIONFRUIT is een vrucht afkomstig van passiebloemen. STARFRUIT kan een fatale uitwerking hebben op nierpatiënten. En de heerlijke BLUEBERRIES zijn niet te vergeten.

7 Verduras


PAN BON

is a dark, sweet bread of limon. The most traditional bread of Costa Rica.

PAN DE MAIZ

Pan de Maiz is served with cocoa as a snack or as dessert after a meal. It is easy to prepare and very popular in the Costa Rica. Give it a try.

TAMAL ASADO

is a sweet cornmeal cake. It is perfect to have with Costa Rica coffee or Agua Dulce. It is a salad pastry, so it makes a great snack or something to have for breakfast along with some scrambled eggs.

TORTILLA

is a flatbread made from corn or wheat. The word tortilla comes from the spanish word “torta” which means “round cake”. Tortillas are commonly prepared with meat to make dishes such as tacos, burritos and enchiladas...

Bread & Pastries 10


Breads and Pastries

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TORTILLA DE QUESO

also named quesadilla, are originally from the Mexican Cuisine. Literally it means “cheese thing� They are popular in combination with guacaole or spicy salsas.

11 Panes

ARREGLADOS TORTAS are puff pastries and can have a range of things inside. Pictured above is one with meat inside, but this can be substituted for vegetables.

are layers of tortillas with dolce de leche poured over it.

PALOMITAS DE MAIZ

is a type of corn which explodes from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Corn popping was originally diescovered by Native Americans, but became popular as a snack food.


Old Fashioned Flour Tortillas

This is a simple, easy to make flour tortilla recipe. Tortillas can be part of a meal, a bread to compliment or a delicious dessert. Giat. Ut volobor percips uscipismodio conullum quis nulla feu facip estie feugiam consent ad magna commod magna consenissim doluptat lute eugait 3 cups unbleached flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 5 tbsp. vegetable shortening 1 1/4 cups warm water

13 Panes

1 Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 2 Add vegetable shortening or lard. Or use a combinations of half lard, half shortening. Use a fork or a pasty cutter to cut in the shortening or just do it the old fashioned way and use your hands. 3 Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky. You do not need very hot water. Knead the dough for a few minutes. 4 Now you will pull off pieces of dough to form about 12 small dough balls. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes or longer if you like. 5 This is a good time to heat up the comal. You will set it at medium to high heat. If it is too hot the tortillas will cook too fast. 6 Now you can roll out the dough with your tortilla rolling pin or palote. It is a good idea to dust each ball with a little flour just before you roll them out. roll them out fairly thin. 7 Lay your tortilla on the hot comal. It takes just a few seconds to cook. Flip to the other side. When they are done it should have lots of nice brown speckles. 8 Place them in a towel. If you would like you can use a tortilla warmer to keep them warm longer.


Pan Bon

Fringed, fragrant, fanciful... Costa Rican’s just call it “good bread.” A spiraled fringe decorates this soft, flavorful loaf . Richly scented with spices and studded with dry fruit, the loaf indeed lives up to its name. Caramelized sugar and cheddar cheese give the loaf its warm hue. This recipe makes two loaves. Serve them freshly baked, or wrap and freeze. 1 cup sugar 1 3/4 cup water 1/2 cup butter 1 tbsp. vanilla 2 packages dry yeast 5 cups flour 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinamon 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup shredded cheddar 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dry apricots

1 Pour sugar into a frying pan and cook over high heat, shaking pan often, until sugar liquefies and turns a dark amber color, for about 4 minutes. 2 Add 1 1/2 cup hot water and butter. Reduce heat to low. Stir until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat. Let cool to 110 degrees. 3 Add vanilla. In a large bowl, soften yeast in 1/4 cup water, about 5 minutes. 4 Add cooled sugar mixture, 4 cups of flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.. 5 With a dough hook, electric mixer, or heavy spoon, beat dough until flour is incorporated. 6 Stir in 1 cup of flour with heavy spoon. Scrape dough onto a floured board. Knead, adding as little flour as possible, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Remove 3 tablespoons of dough, cover and set aside at room temperature. Gradually knead cheese, raisins, and apricots into the remaining dough. Place in an oiled bown, turn to grease top. 7 Cover dough with plastic wrap, let rise in a warm place for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. 8 Place them in a towel. If you would like you can use a tortilla warmer to keep them warm longer.

Bread & Pastries 14


Bocas

The one word translation , snacks, falls short of a full description. Bocas are a cultural item as much as a food item and an experience in and of themselves. They are small to medium sized snacks often complimentary when you purchase a drink at a bar.

PATACONES also known as tostones, are fried green plantain slices. They are great when they’re warm, but can get rock hard if they get cold. EMPANADAS are stuffed bread or pastry. The name comes from the Spanish and Portuguese verb empanar, which means to wrap or coat in bread. CHICKEN WINGS also known as buffalo wings. They are chicken wing sections that are often but not always fried and then coated in sauce, vinigar based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. IMPERIAL is the most popular and american style lager in costa rica.

Bar Snacks 18


CEVICHE

is a citrus-marinated seafood dish originating from the coast of peru. Although it is a typical dish of peruvian cuisine, many other countries in Latin America have adopted it, albeit with variations. In Costa Rica, the dish includes marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, cilantro and finely minced peppers. It is usually served in a coctail glass with a lettuce leaf and soda crackers on the side as in Mexico. Popular condiments are tomato ketchup and tabasco. The fish is typically tilapia or corvina although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are popular.

19 Bocas


Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are pastry shell turnovers made by folding dough over a filling and sealing it. In Latin Caribbean cooking, empanadas are stuffed with sweet or savory fillings and then baked or fried. A hearty filling for your empanadas. First make the empanada dough, then fill it with this family recipe for beef empanadas and enjoy. Empanadas make great appetizers and finger foods for a meal on the go.

2 lbs. ground beef 2 small potatoes, diced into one inch cubes and boiled until soft 1 onlon, peeled and coarsely chopped 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped 1/4 cup of green olives, finely chopped 2 hardboiled eggs 1 cup beef broth 1/2 cup raisins 1 teaspoon oil

21 Bocas

1 Saute the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat for one minute. 2 Put the ground beef in and begin to brown. 3 When the beef is cooked trough, add in the broth, green olives, raisins and bring to a simmer. 4 Let the liquid reduce until it’s amost gone. 5 Fold in the eggs and potatoes and place by the spoonful into your prepared empanada dough and cook accordingly.


Patacones Ticos

Patacones are a delicious snack. They go really well with frijoles molidos (refried beans). Plantains can be purchased at most grocery stores in the produce section, they look like bananas, but DO NOT try to eat them like bananas, they are not the same thing. Get the nice and green ones.

2 green plantains 1 cup vegetable oil 1 pinch salt, to taste

1 Peel the plantains completely. 2 Slice plantains into 1/2 inch rounds. 3 Heat oil in sauce pan until almost boiling. 4 Carefully place a handful of plantain rounds into hot oil, leaving them in until light brown, about two minutes. 5 Carefully remove plantain rounds from hot oil with slotted spoon (preferably metal) and place on a cutting board covered in parchment paper. 6 Plantain pieces should be only half of the parchment paper. Fold the second half of parchment paper over them, and with a second board or other hard flat surface press firmly on the paper-covered plantain rounds. 7 The rounds should now be smushedlooking, yet still intact. 8 With slotted spoon, replace pieces of plantain in the oil until golden brown. 9 Remove pieces with slotted spoon and place on paper towel. Pieces should be slightly crispy. 10 Repeat with another handful of rounds, until all have been cooked. 11 Sprinkle with salt, to taste. 12 Dip in warm refried beans, or also good with ceviche.

Bar Snacks 22


SOPA NEGRA

This is a Costa Rican soup made from black bean broth, onions, cilantro and a boiled egg. It is also known as Sopa de frijoles negros.

OLLA DE CARNE

is a soup containing large chunks of beef and vegetables. It is like a stew, but the broth isnt thick and gravy-like, like you would expect in a traditional American or Irish stew.

Soups and Stews 26


Soups and Stews

Costa Rican soups are made with a lot of tact and yet they are extemely easy to prepare. They are delicious and sometimes can prove to be great appetizers as well. They usually have meat in them rather than vegetables, that is of no surpirse as Costa Rica is known to be the ‘Beef Country’. Neverthelesss, the Costa Rican soups are great to have before the main course and add a unique blend of fine delicacy to your entire Costa Rican meal.

SOPA DE MONDOGO

is a traditional Costa Rican soup that has chunks of cow stomach. It is considered a delicacy in Costa Rica, but most foreigners are not impressed. It must be an aquired taste.

27 Sopas y Guisados

GUISO DE MAIZ

is a corn stew. usually made with tripes.

PEJIBAJE BISQUE

This dish may be more unique to Costa Rica than any other dish. Pejibaye’s are not commonly eaten anywhere except in Costa Rica.


Sopa Negra or Black Bean Soup

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450 gr. black beans 700 ml chicken broth 1 el vegetable oil salt black pepper 6 eggs 10-12 sprigs cilantro 1 small onion 2 cloves garlic 1 small pepper

29 Sopas y Guisados

1 If the beans are dried, cover with water and soak overnight, if they are fresh, just rinse them off. 2 Drain the beans and add water or chicken broth, salt, and half of the chopped ingredients. Bring to a boil. 3 Cover the pan and reduce heat to very low simmer until beans are nearly soft, for about 2 hours. 4 Add the rest of the chopped ingredients, and vegetable oil, cook an additional hour. 5 Add the eggs for the final 2-4 minutes. 6 Remove about half the beans and reserve for gallo pinto or mash and refry. 7 Remove the eggs, peel and place one or two in each bowl before serving with warm tortillas.


Olla De Carne

Another traditional dish, literally “pot of meat�. This is a soup or stew made with vegetables such as nampi (similar to yucca), yucca, potato, green banana, green plantains and ayote (a kind of squash). The main ingredient of this soup is beef (on the bone) and it has an exquisite flavor.

8 cups water 1 lb lean beef, cut into 3-4 inch pieces 1 lb lean beef short ribs, cut into 3-4 inch pieces 1 cup potato, cut into bite sized pieces 1 lb. carrots, chopped 5 corns on the cob, cut into 3 inch pieces 1 lb taro roots 1 lb sweet potato 3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces salt to taste

1 Heat water in a saucepan over medium high 2 Add salt, lean beef, short ribs and cook for 20 minutes 3 Add carrots, cobs, green plantains, ad cassava 4 Wait five minutes and add the taro roots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 5 Cover and cook for 25 minutes on high medium heat until vegetables and roots are cooked 6 Serve hot with a bowl of rice.

Soups and Stews 30


Meats and Dishes

Costa Ricans enjoy a lot of meat, mostly beef, chicken and pork. Eating fish is considered a luxury although fish marinated in lemon juice and spices is a cheap delicacy. Costa Rica is known as beef country, one of the tropical nations that have converted much of its rainforest land to pastures for raising beef cattle. The meat dishes of Costa Rica are easy to make and extremely delicous.

PICADILLO

is a casserole of sorts with a base of meat stock, and a bunch of different chopped vegetables. This mixture is often served as a side or in a tortilla.

TACOS

This is a Costa Rican soup made from black bean broth, onions, cilantro and a boiled egg. It is also known as Sopa de frijoles negros.

TAMALES

are steamed corn dough pastries stuffed with minced beaf and wrapped in banana leaves.

Meats and Dishes 34


GALLO PINTO

literally ‘spotted rooster’ , gallo pinto is a signature Costa Rican breakfast dish with rice, beans, and your choice of cilantro, onion and red pepper all fried up with palm or vegetable oil.

35 Carnes y Platillos

ARROZ CON POLLO

literally rice with chicken. This is the signature Costa Rican dish for parties. It’s usually served with refried beans, a cabbage, tomato, lemon salad and some potato chips all on the side.


Gallo Pinto

No one who’s ever visited Costa Rica is likely to forget Gallo Pinto, and those who haven’t visited rarely understand how people can be so enamored of rice and beans. Ticos look at you like you’re crazy if you ask how to make it. Gallo Pinto con Huevos fritos is a common breakfast dish in Costa Rica.

1 cup of cooked rice 1 cup of cooked beans 1 chopped onion 1 small red pepper, chopped 2 cloves of garlic 1 tbs oil 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 4 tbs. salsa lizano pinch of black pepper 1 tbs seasoning

37 Carnes y Platillos

1 Fry the onion, red pepper, garlic and cilantro in the vegetable oil for about 3 minutes 2 pour in the beans and add the sauce, black pepper, and seasoning 3 Let cook for a few minutes, but don’t let it dry out. 4 Pour in the cooked rice and mix it in with the beans 5 enjoy with sour cream, plantains, fried or scrambled eggs.


Tamales

The secret to making tamales is to make them over a couple of days. This way you won’t get overwhelmed. We will break the process down into two days. The first day will be spent aquiring all the ingredients and cooking the pork. The second day is spent mixing the masa and putting the tamales together and cooking them.

Meat Filling for the Pork Tamales Recipe 7 lb pork butt roast 1/3 cup chili powder 96 oz. chicken broth 2 tbs. cumin 2 tbs garlic powder 1 tsp sea salt 1 tbs chicken base 2 triangles ibarra chocolate 6 tbs flour 3/4 cups cold water

1 Fill the stock pot with the chicken broth and add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, chicken base and chocolate. Heat to boiling and cover and simmer on low while you cut up the pork 2 Cut the pork into 2 inch cubes. Trim as much fat off as you can. 3 Add the cut up pork to the boiling sauce. Partially cover and simmer on low for 2 hours or until pork is real tender. 4 Turn the heat up to high and when its boiling, slowly add the flour mixture to the pork. Stir the pork continuously to avoid lumps. 5 Continue to slow boil while stirring for about 3-5 minutes and then turn the heat off. 6 Let the pork cool after cooking and refrigerate.

Delicous Masa Recipe 4 cups MaSeCa Instant corn Masa mix 3 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1 cup fresh corn oil 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 Put the masa, salt and garlic powder into a large bowl and combine the dry ingredients. 2 Add the corn oil and mix with your hands. 3 Add the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time. 4 Continue to mix with your hands and adding the broth until you get the consistency of cookie dough. You should have a consistency that you can spread with a knife or spreader. If you add too much liquid you can always add more masa to thicken it up. 5 The corn husks should be soft and pliable. Take a few out and pat them dry with a paper towel. 6 Take a spoonful of masa and spread it out on the corn husks. Keave the pointy end without masa so you can fold it over. 7 Place several chunks of pork down the center of the masa. 8 Fold the masa over so the ends meet. The idea is to put just enough meat so that you can encase it in masa and not leak out. 9 Now roll it up. 10 After you roll the tamale up, fold over the ends. 11 Continue to make tamales and when you are done place them in a steamer with the open end pointing up. 12 Bring the water to a boil and steam for about 1 1/2 hours, checking every 15 minutes. 13 When the tamales are done, take them out of the pot to cool. 14 Serve and enjoy! Meats and Dishes 38


Arroz Con Pollo

This means “Rice with Chicken” in spanish. It is a classic dish of Spain and Latin America, with many different traditional ways to prepare it, unique to various countries. It’s an easy, stove-top, one pan dish, great for family meals.

CHICKEN 3 tbs olive oil 1 broiler-fryer chicken, about 2 1/2 lbs, cut into serving pieces 1/2 cup of flour salt fresh ground black pepper paprika RICE 2 tbs. olive oil 1 medium yellow onion 1 garlic clove 2 cups of white rice 3 cups chicken stock 1 tbs. tomato paste pinch of oregano 1 tsp. salt

41 Carnes y Platillos

1 Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. 2 Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper and paprika. 3 Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put it in the pan to brown. Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside. 4 Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Don’t stir it too much or you will prevent it from browning. 5 Let it brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown. Add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes. 6 Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the rice. 7 In a seperate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. 8 Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package, until the rice and chicken are done. 9 Fluff the rice with a fork. If you want you can sprinkle some peas on top. 10 Add more salt and pepper to taste.


Drinks

Most of the beverages in the cuisine of Costa Rica are made from fresh fruit, milk or water. Mangoes, papayas, blackbarries and pineapples are commonly used in the preperation. Some of them are made uniquely with flour and a lot of cinnamon. But if you are a coffee lover, you might be disappointed with the fact that there are not many traditional coffee beverages in the cuisine of Costa Rica as it is the best coffee in the world.

HORCHATA

is a casserole of sorts with a base of meat stock, and a bunch of different chopped vegetables. This mixture is often served as a side or in a tortilla.

CHAN

This is a Costa Rican soup made from black bean broth, onions, cilantro and a boiled egg. It is also known as Sopa de frijoles negros.

LINAZA

are steamed corn dough pastries stuffed with minced beaf and wrapped in banana leaves.

Drinks 44


FRESCO DE FRUITAS

literally ‘spotted rooster’ , gallo pinto is a signature Costa Rican breakfast dish with rice, beans, and your choice of cilantro, onion and red pepper all fried up with palm or vegetable oil.

45 Bebidas

GUARO

literally rice with chicken. This is the signature Costa Rican dish for parties. It’s usually served with refried beans, a cabbage, tomato, lemon salad and some potato chips all on the side.

COFFEE

literally rice with chicken. This is the signature Costa Rican dish for parties. It’s usually served with refried beans, a cabbage, tomato, lemon salad and some potato chips all on the side.


The Story of Costa Rican Coffee

Costa Rica is famed for its flavorful coffee. Coffee Arabica - a bush native to Ethiopia - was introduced to the country in 1779. For more than a century, beginning in the 1830’s, the grano de ore (golden grain) was Costa Rica’s foremost export, funding the construction of fine buildings. The nation’s mountains provide ideal conditions for the coffee plant, which prefers consistently warm temperatures, distinct wet and dry seasons, and fertile, well-drained slopes. More that 1,100 square kilometers, concentrated in the Central Highlands, are dedicated to coffee production.

COFFEE VOLCANIC PLANTATIONS SOIL

After being raised in nurseries, 8 to 12 month old coffee seedlings are planted beneath shade trees in long rows perpendicular to the slope to help avoid soil erosion. They require precise amounts of sunlight, water and fertilizer.

THE EARLY DAYS

Before the construction of the railroads in the late 19th century, coffee beans were packed in gunny sacks and transported to the port of Puntarenas in carretas (oxcarts) . Trains of oxcarts loaded with coffee traveled down the mountains of Costa Rica in convoys. From Puntarenas, the beas were shipped to Europe, a journey that took three months.

SHADE TREES

allow the proper amount of sunlight to filter trough.

ELEVATIONS between 800 and 1,500 m are ideal for coffee estates. 47 Bebidas

contains the nutrients that coffee bushes require.

FROM BERRIES TO BEANS

Typically it takes four years for the shiny-leafed coffee bush to mature and fruit. With the arrival of the rains in early May, smal white blossoms appear, giving off a jasmine-like scent. The fleshy green berries containing the beans gradually turn read as they open. Each berry contains two hemisphereical seads or beans. Well tended bushes produce cerrezas for about 40 years.

HARVEST

usually begins in November. Traditionally entire families would head into the fields to help with harvesting. Altough children can still be seen picking coffee, today Nicaraguans and indigenous peoples form the majority of the labor pool.

AT THE BENEFICIO

the berries are cleaned. The fleshy outer pulp is then stripped off and returned to the slopes as fertilizer.

THE MOIST BEANS

are dried, either in the traditional manner by being laid out in the sun, or in hot-air ovens.

THE DRIED BEANS

have their leathery skins removed before being roasted.

PACKAGING

The roasted beans are sorted by quality, size and shape. export quality beans are vacuum sealed in foil bags and typically come in light roast, dark roast, espresso, decaffeinated, and organic varieties. Lower grade beans for the domestic market are sold loose at local markets as cafe puro (unadulterated) or cafe traditional (containing 10 percent sugar).


Costa Rica Comida Tipica