courtesy of http://www.TasteeBQ.com
Note- For National Chocolate Day- Oct. 28, this is a short story from The Adventures of TasteeBQ. It explains the time honored process of making Chocolate by the Bribri Tribe in Talamanca Costa Rica. Bonus video has Guide showing some technique used by Shaman. Also, Home Recipes for Cafe Mocha. Enjoy.
Making the World a Better Place to Eat can sometimes lead to the wildest adventures. Our superhero TasteeBQ was summoned to the jungles of Costa Rica on behest of a tribe known as the Bribri. The exact purpose wasn’t quite clear. Over the phone they said they needed him for something that sounded like “Walk a day”, “Work it Baby!” or “Work away.”
Always ready to “Work it Out”, our hero flew to an area known as Puerto Viejo (or “Old Door” in Spanish). It is located on the Caribbean Coast of Southern Costa Rica. Upon arrival, TasteeBQ was greeted by a large family holding basket after basket of what looked like ripened mangos. He thought “How generous. They must greet all visitors with a bounty of fresh fruit.”
TasteeBQ helped them load his gifts into sturdy burlap bags. It was a little strange that he was saddled down with nearly all of them. He felt it must be part of the “Welcoming Ceremony.” The family rode horseback as our hero marched along, displaying his gifts to all onlookers for nearly a mile. Finally, they arrived at a vast fortress. It was so nice of the Bribri to provide such elaborate guest quarters. The place was already endowed with countless more bags of fruit offerings.
Next, the tribe guided him to another part of the structure, which featured a group of tables. “This must be the guests’ private Dining Room”: he thought. But instead of eating, the hosts seemed to be showing TasteeBQ how to prepare the fruit at home. He quickly learned how to split the globes in half and remove a core of seeds that resembled a cob of corn. They were delighted by how our hero could do it with lighting speed. So they had him do it over and over again until large vats were filled to the core with cobs. He must have been quite a sight because various tribe members would come watch him at different intervals. They would smile and nod for him to show it again.
Then they performed what seemed to be the “Ceremony of the Dead”. The brood relocated to a somber, pungent room where the cobs had sadly been left out for too long. Rather than trashing them, the Bribri performed a ceremonial mediation where they would sing while grinding the dark kernels in a magic bowl until they turned into a fine dust. TasteeBQ entertained his hosts with a rendition of “La Vida Loca” while making quick work of the seeds. Hopefully this would cheer them up, he thought.
At about this time our hero was hit by a series of unsettling thoughts. What was their real motive for including him in these precious ceremonies? Were they intending to groom him as the new leader of the Bribri Tribe of Costa Rica? How could he explain that his mission to save the world from the evil BoreNG’Food requires travel? And why was the family trying to force him to ingest some the this mixture from the ground dead seeds? Was it some sort of trick???
BONUS VIDEO- Guide shows how Chocolate is used by Shaman
The matron mixed the dark powder with what looked like natural raw sugar, then added it to a steaming hot cup of what they called Tarrazu. She insisted that the guest of honor take sip of the dark liquid. Then it hit him. That aroma— it was unmistakable. TasteeBQ was being treated to the best cup of Cafe Mocha, ever. As he sipped, they explained how for centuries the tribe has used Cocoa as medicine. Mixed with Cinnamon, it used as a sanitizer. Mixed with Nutmeg, it promotes good health. With Ginger it is supposed to help you recuperate from whatever ails you.
As some of the group moved to the kitchen to prepare black beans and rice, others went outside to fire the grill. Spying a supply of fresh caught fish, our hero was inspired to prepare Spice Rubbed Grilled Snapper for everyone. [Recipe coming soon].
The dinner turned into quite the feast. It was as if grilling the fish sent up smoke signals to nearby families of the Bribri tribe. They came in droves and the fish seemed to multiply. Fresh fruit was served for dessert, which they sprinkled with some to the spice and sugar mixtures. TasteeBQ played with the spices so the tribe was able to sample even more varieties of coffee:
Make Your Own Mocha Mix- Cafe Mocha Recipes
Add these to taste, to hot cup or pot of Costa Rican or Tarrazu Coffee:
CAFE MOCHA MIX- 2 to 3 parts Raw or Brown Sugar/ to 1 Part powdered Cocoa
CINNAMON CAFE MOCHA- Add a pinch of ground Cinnamon
MINT CAFE MOCHA- Add a drop of Peppermint Extract
CAFE MOCHA LATTE- Add hot Milk or Cream
CAFE COCONUT MOCHA LATTE- Add hot Coconut Milk and a pinch of ground Nutmeg
CAFE “QUE PASA ANOCHE?”- Add a splash of your favorite Caribbean Rum
TasteeBQ was relieved that he didn’t have to convert the Cacao fortress into a guesthouse. Instead, he slept the traditional way- in a 10’ x 10’ hut with a family of 5. He was also relieved to hear the Bribri tell him “Walk Away” the next day. Were they fans of Kelly Clarkson? But then the tribe started chanting something about “Colones”, while gestering towards his posterior. Always happy to help, our hero retrieved his wallet and made a nice donation- before soaring off to his next adventure. Rumor says it involves a magical BBQ Rub enriched with Cocoa, Cinnamon and Ginger… Stay tuned for more of The Adventures of TasteeBQ…
For more on Costa Rica
Read more about the Bribri Tribe and Chocolate making in Costa Rica
The Workaway Project- volunteer opportunities on Costa Rican Cocoa farms
Blog- Chocolate Making (more photos)
Blog- Visiting the Bribri Reserve in Costa Rica
From our Sponsors:
California Gold BBQ Rubs: Gluten Free- With Cocoa, Ginger, Garlic, Cinnamon and other great Superfoods
California Gold BBQ Rubs on Facebook (4000+ Fans)- Daily Recipes and Food Updates.
Tastee BQ Grilling Co.- Los Angeles Onsite BBQ Catering, Private Cooking Lessons, Group Classes, & Free Recipes.