he culture ministry is touting a three-day expo starting today as an introduction to Costa Rican cuisine.
The event, Hecho Aquí, Artesanía Costarricense, will have a broad range of artisans showing their wares, and that includes candy makers and beekeepers.
Unlike other fairs at the Antigua Aduana, this one is not limited to certified small businesses, and the products come from some well-established firms.
The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud promises chocolates, tortillas, chorreadas, picadillos, escabeches, chileras and granizado. Many of these products are bottled for sale. Of course, the granizado, an iced drink, is for immediate consumption. Actually visitors will find it hard to pass up chocolate, tortillas and chorreadas, too.
Chorreadas are those corn batter pancakes usually eaten with sour cream and cheese. The other products come under the heading of condiments.
But the food does not end there. The ministry says that jellies, marmalade, Costa Rican salad dressings, garlic pastes, spice butter and the traditional casados also will be offered.
Another aspect of Costa Rican culture will be offered by Alfonso Vega of Tres Ríos. He makes mascaradas, those papier-mâché and fiberglass, larger-than-life heads.
He also makes miniatures for collectors and displays.
The masks run to the supernatural with devils, witches, giants and skeletons, But politicians also have been known to be converted into a mascarada caricature.
The mascaradas are seen in parades accompanied by a cimarrona or street band. But they also have risen to the level of an art form. Vega has been making them for 35 years, he said.
The mascarada is recognized as a heritage item, including with the designation of Oct. 31 as the national day of the mascarada.
The ministry promises many more high-class works of art, jewelry and leather items.
The Antigua Aduana is on Calle 23 in east San José just south of the Santa Teresita church.