Chicharron Festival in Puriscal and Cacao

man roasting cacao seedsThe cocoa experiments continue. One of the workers, Mario, gave me a huge sack of already dried beans. His family had a cocoa plantation which was recently chopped down to be replaced with banana. I was horrified to hear that. Mario did manage to dig up one young tree and gave it to me as a gift. Meanwhile, shelling the beans is a tedious job. In the past I did it bean by bean using my thumb nails until they were completely ruined. After that I used a small knife to shell the beans. The workers watched me and suggested I try the Tico way. They heat up the beans over a fire until they are piping hot and then crush into small pieces. The shells are removed by pouring high over the ground and using either a fan or the wind to separate the nibs from the shells.

Chicharron Festival in PuriscalThis past Sunday, we attended the local Chicharron Festival in Puriscal. Chicharrones are fatty pieces of pork fried in pork fat. Costa Rica is famous for this tasty treat and Puriscal thinks they produce the best. I have eaten them just a few times and even then in moderation. I understand more why most Ticos are overweight. Chicharrones mixed with a diet of starchy and sugary foods will pack on the pounds.

The majority of the work crew will be let go later this week. We live in a rural area. Everyone knows everyone and most of the workers grew up with each other, went to the same schools and have the same friends. The crew has been working here long enough for dramas to begin to surface. I am grateful I can stand back and laugh at most of the happenings. I often believe some of the days events would make an excellent TV sitcom series.

It seems the rainy season has come to an end. People that have been here for many years report this rainy season was on the dry season. I was expecting a lot more rain. Now the weather has changed to being much hotter with a slight breeze. The temperatures are in the 80’s during the day and 60’s at night. I am getting more and more used to the intense sun but still seek refuge during the hottest hours of the day.

The first photo this week is of Mario heating up the cocoa beans. The second picture is of chicharrones being cooked at the festival and the last picture was taken at the river that goes through our property.