Inspired by Costa Rica!
Epic trip across Costa Rica
I have just returned from an epic trip across Costa Rica. This trip was first imagined 17 years ago, flights and hotels all booked, when David asked me to marry him so we cancelled the trip and got married that year instead (no complaints as we had a rather special honeymoon to Mauritius instead).
So we waited… and waited until direct flights to San Jose were started again – not fancying a stop at Miami en route with 2 small children in tow.
When I started studying nutrition one of my very first lectures was about the Blue Zones and I was intrigued to find out that an area of Costa Rica (The Nicoya Peninsular) is one of these Blue Zones. I asked one of our guides about why he felt Costa Ricans enjoyed long and healthful lives he said it was down to the corn that they ate. He also said that it was due to the fact it was so hot and they sweated all their toxins out (hmmm, not so sure about that one). You can read more about why Nicoya is a one of the Blue Zones here.
Fresh ingredients for juices
Anyway, I knew we were going to see an incredible array of wildlife (3 week old baby sloths anyone?!), beautiful jungles, volcanoes, rivers and beaches. What surprised me was the fantastic and inspirational food. I was expecting pockets of culinary delights but we were astounded that every place that we visited in the 4 weeks, from high end sushi restaurants to local sodas serving cheap, local meals, had fantastic offerings. One of our guides warned us that they eat rice n’ beans for breakfast, rice n’ beans for lunch and beans n’ rice for dinner. He wasn’t wrong! Luckily we all loved it especially my rice mad daughter.
They serve Gallo Pinto (rice n’ beans) with eggs for breakfast, handmade corn tortillas and fried plantains. For lunch and dinner it is served with grilled chicken or fish.
Our second staple was Ceviche, fresh fish “cooked” in citrus juices (lemon and lime) and spiced with chilli. A surprising discovery in the cloud forests of Monteverde was a vegetarian version of this. Lightly cooked vegetables in a broth of citrus flavours and fresh herbs.
You can see more foodie photos of our trip (not a sloth in sight) at Instagram @venusnutrition.
Here are two recipes to bring the taste of Costa Rica back to England!