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Gastronomy in Costa Rica
-The Costa Rican Creole cuisine has been formed with the contribution of three major cultural influences: the indigenous, Spanish and African. It is, therefore, a mestizo kitchen, where it mixes what was cooking in the pre-Columbian griddle with the Spanish pots, more the creative contribution of African culture and other towns that have arrived in the Costa Rican soil.
-From pre-Hispanic cuisine comes the corn tortilla, avocado, heart of Palm, the pejibaye (peach palm) and the Tamales (the latter is usually prepared, in Costa Rica, for the feast of Christmas and new year's Eve, and wrapped in banana leaves).
-The Europeans, upon their arrival in America, found unknown products but of good taste and the level of current nutritional content, is a rich dietary universe.
In the usual order.
Above left; Gallo pinto, a typical breakfast in Costa Rica.
Right: Typical lunch commonly called "casado" meaning -married- a high nutritional content dish.
Bottom left: The Tamale is a very desirable dish at Christmas parties.
Right: Famous snacks called chicarron (crisp piece of fried pork skin) accompanied with beer.
taste when added guava jelly onto them), the prestinos (mixture of wheat flour baked crispy, and served with sugar cane syrup), quesadillas (sweeten cheese roll) and jelly ribs.
-Costa Rican dish that best sums up the mixture between the Aboriginal and the Spanish is the so called “Olla de carne” -pot of meat-, considered by some authors as the Creole dish for excellence, served hot usually accompanied by white rice or achiotado -colored naturally- and tortillas. The olla de carne is originated of the Spanish "olla Podrida" -rotten pot- that Europeans enriched with commonly harvested vegetables of this country.
-A characteristic element of the kitchen was introduced with the arrival of the Africans, Afro-Caribbean: the wooden spoon, which enabled new methods of cooking and preparation of the dishes.
Left: Pot of Olla de Carne -meat dish- that summed up the mixture of indigenous and Spanish direct influence.
-With the arrival of the Spaniards, along with them arrived cattle, goats, pigs and poultry as well as techniques for conservation (smoked, dried, inversion in vinegar and salt, wrapping in fat), as well as the conformation of the minced meat (as it is believed, derived from the Andalusian stews called hors-d'oeuvres, dish to which the Indians added accompanied tortilla consumption.
-The Andalusian influence appears in other Costa Rican dishes as meat balls, as well as the bakery: ears, fritters, the rolls, the little bits (which acquired tropical
Right: A lemon pati (lemon pie roll), recipe of the Afro-Caribbean culture of the country.
-From Africa also came other Costa Rican dishes.
-Coffee consumption, traditionally taken by the Costa Rican breakfast or in the mid.afteroon, but also the existence of other beverages instead used as the aguadulce (not fermented drink made from sugar cane), chocolate and various types of tea.
-The more traditional alcoholic beverage of Costa Rica is, however, the guaro, liquor made from sugarcane with a high content of ethanol.
-Desserts, in addition to the aforementioned bakery, includes also the influences of French culture.
-The Costa Rican dish where perceived the African influence is gallo pinto, mixture of rice and black beans (sometimes red), whose Afro-Caribbean traces can be found in various dishes from the continent (Moors and Christians, and congri, in Cuba, casamiento -marriage- of El Salvador, Brazilian feijoada, Peruvian tacu-tacu, Hoppin'John in the South of the United States).
-The gallo pinto is often used as breakfast, and is usually accompanied by eggs to taste, corn tortillas and custard. The preparation of the gallo pinto varies not only in each country, but even in each region of Costa Rica, being toasted and fat in Guanacaste, more wet, less greasy and with cilantro in the Central Valley, and with a special preparation (made from coconut) and unique in the Caribbean flavor: the rice and beans, which can be served with a beef steak, pork or fried fish, accompanied by patacones (fried plantains), and it is the Limon dish for excellence.
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