Traditional foods continue to get a push for commercialization

The tourism institute says that some 1,000 chefs, bartenders and others in the commercial food industry have been trained in creating traditional dishes and drinks. More than 200 general managers also have been introduced to the concept.

This is a program of the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo and the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje.

The idea is to put a traditional spin on restaurant fare so that they reflect the culture. Many claim Costa Rica has no exciting dishes, but the Centro de Patrimonio Cultural has been proving this statement incorrect with a series of regional contests over the last four years. Local cooks are invited to submit traditional dishes, desserts or drinks.

The result has been six cookbooks that have been developed into a course for chefs, cooks and bartenders. Five of the books are focused on regional foods. A sixth book outlined traditional drinks. Not all of them are alcoholic, but in others guaro, the sugar cane liquor, dominates.

Many of the drinks consist of fruits and vegetables that have gone

Presentation is key as long as diners do not eat the banana leaf!

Presentation is key as long as diners do not eat the banana leaf!

through the blender. Even the non-alcohol drinks appear to be open to a shot of guaro.

The booklets, which include an outline of a course of instructing as well as recipes, are available online.

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