A NEW CULINARY ADVENTURE AT EL TIGRE VESTIDO

Are you up for a new culinary adventure through the highlands of Costa Rica? Now you can have one without leaving Finca Rosa Blanca. Our newly appointed chef, Ruben Villegas, has brought creative Latin fusion cuisine to our resort’s acclaimed restaurant, El Tigre Vestido.

Chef Ruben’s culinary journey has been extraordinary. He began at the age of 17, working in a large hotel kitchen and attending culinary classes. He worked his way up to sous chef in several notable kitchens and then moved to Peru to study at the Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Lima, where he graduated with the highest degree, Master Cuisine. In Lima, Chef Ruben worked with Virgilio Martinez, the star chef and owner of Central, consistently rated as one of the world’s top restaurants. He recently returned to Costa Rica to pursue his career as an innovative chef using the latest techniques and trends from his work abroad, and blending them with the abundance of fresh ingredients to be found in Costa Rica.

Finca Rosa Blanca was built with the goal of creating an ecological haven and a sustainable tourism destination in an aesthetic environment for visitors who want to experience the biodiversity of Costa Rica. Sustainably sourced food served at El Tigre Vestido is one of the most attractive aspects of staying at our resort. Now Chef Ruben has taken the culinary offering up a notch with his novel interpretations of Costa Rica’s heritage recipes.

“I love the slow food movement, which combines sustainability and good management of Costa Rica’s raw materials to create a Latin fusion cuisine. My approach is to apply the new culinary tendencies found in European gastronomy to Costa Rican and Latin mainstays,” says Chef Ruben. “The idea is to showcase the right pairing of textures and flavors that also looks beautiful.”

Most everything that the restaurant uses to create Chef Ruben’s dishes is handcrafted and locally sourced, except for the impossible (like olive oil and wine). We tap nature’s bounty for ingredients – think Surinam cherries, sugarcane, avocados, soursop, beans, breadfruit, star apple, chayote, chiles, mangos, water apples – the list is endless… We even make our own banana vinegar from guineos, a type of banana used for stews in Costa Rica.

Chef Ruben has brought exciting twists to El Tigre Vestido’s menu. One of his signature dishes is chifrijo soup based on the namesake Costa Rican classic typically eaten in bars to keep the alcohol at bay; this popular layered dish of rice topped with black beans, chicharrones (twice-fried pork bits) and pico de gallo (tomato salsa with onion, cilantro, and lemon) is served with fresh tortilla chips and avocado. Chef Ruben has also taken the traditional casado (which translated literally means “married”) and given it a Latin fusion twist. Found in nearly any small restaurant serving typical Costa Rican dishes across the country, it is usually a pairing of white rice with a side of savory black beans, a picadillo (chopped and sautéed potato or other root vegetable) and fish, chicken and beef smothered in sautéed onions or a fried egg.

The Chef has added a roasted beet and chayote salad, plantains sautéed in coffee and molasses and a picadillo replete with pulled beef and papaya root. Another exciting reinterpretation is Chef Ruben’s version of Costa Rican tacos called gallos; these soft handmade tacos are topped with a choice of fresh sea bass or chicharrones and crowned with a citric salad of fennel, cabbage and chayote. Another highlight is his octopus carpaccio and the tiraditos featuring fresh sea bass with fresh lime juice and capers.

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Find your fitness ‘Pura Vida’ in Costa Rica

chefpreparing_square_smallJoin Michele Shorter, founder and owner of The Shorter Approach for a week-long experience in Costa Rica which will include goal-setting, cardio and strength training, and nutrition planning mixed with a myriad of activities at Finca Rosa Blanca; coffee plantation tours, cooking demos and tasting menus, hikes up a nearby volcano and through the Cloud forest, and salsa dancing with locals every day.  The week will be shared between the coffee growing highlands of Costa Rica to the beaches of Arenas Del Mar in Manuel Antonio.

Here at Finca Rosa Blanca, you will get flexible, strong, and energized, set goals and create a focused plan while enjoying:

  • Early morning yoga with the birds.
  • Salsa lessons with Diego our dance instructor who has the most captivating Latin moves.
  • Hike to the Volcano and find the foot prints of a jaguar and a quetzal nesting far above in the Cloud forest.
  • A tour of the organic coffee plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca and a class on Cupping Coffee.
  • Wildlife and Bird-watching with our resident Wildlife Guide.
  • Cooking demonstrations with Chef Gustavo using the fresh local and seasonal ingredients of Costa Rica.

On your first day experiencing the wonders of Finca Rosa Blanca,  we will share with you our  chef Gustavo who will prepare an artesanal salad, with organic ingredients from the Finca Rosa Blanca Farm and Greenhouse.  You will help harvest the ingredients and then watch and learn as the chef prepares your salad at a Cooking Demo in our main dining room  He will prepare his renowned Citrus salad, with organic field greens, fresh herbs, and three different citrus fruit from our gardens and orchards, red onion, crispy garlic croutons, fried leeks, and passion fruit dressing.

Space is limited. People may register or learn more by contacting GreenSpot’s Costa Rica travel expert Irene Edwards at irene@greenspottravel.org

 The Shorter Approach is based on 18 years of training clients from all fitness levels and backgrounds. Through The Shorter Approach, Michele delivers proven expertise, guidance and support to help you achieve your fitness and wellness goals, nourish yourself and live the life you want.

_EQF9789 For more information, visit www.theshorterapproach.com.

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Oscar paints Barva Volcano in El Cielo

Oscar paints El Cielo

Our good friend and fabulous artist, and muralist, Oscar Salazar, is once again adding beauty and personality to the walls of Finca Rosa Blanca.  We asked him to paint a mural on a wall of the veranda outside of the newest room at the hotel, the lovely El Cielo Master Suite.  The views from the suite windows and deck are of the surrounding coffee plantations and the Central Valley of Costa
Rica, so he decided to paint what could be seen, if you had x-ray vision through the wall, north to our closest national park and Barva Volcano.

oscar el cielo

Oscar has been painting murals inside and outside at Finca Rosa Blanca for over 20 years and he is part of our extended family of friends who join us periodically, bringing art and beauty to share with our guests.  Oscar has painted waterfalls and coffee plantations, jaguars, dantas and exotic tropical birds, church steeples and small towns filled with adobe houses, our neighbors picking coffee and our favorite towering trees filled with orchids and winding vines.

We invite you to come and visit every mural Oscar has painted for us over the years!  Oscar would love it!!!

Oscar painting El Cielo

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Tis the season to pick coffee in Costa Rica and in our own Rosa Blanca Organic Coffee Plantation

One can find coffee baskets full of red cherries by the side of coffee farms around the hills of the Central Valley.  The pickers start early in the morning and wind their way down the rows of verdant coffee only plucking the bright red cherries from the bushes.  Costa Rica is the only country in the coffee-growing world where all the coffee must be picked by hand.  When the day ends, the pickers find their way to the weighing stations, where their cherries fill the metal container “half a fanega/50 lb.) that measures the amount they have picked that day.

The beans are soaked to loosen the fruit around the beans and then put through a chanqueadora, a crushing or peeling machine which removes the skin and fruit from the coffee beans.  There are usually two coffee seeds inside and these come apart in the machine.  Now the seeds are fermented overnight in water and then drained and spread to dry in the sun on parijuelas, hammocks made of mesh that allows the air to dry the beans from below.

The pickers will pick the same coffee bushes 3 times over during the harvest season which last approximately 3 months and starts depending upon the weather conditions around October and ends sometime in January.   Our neighbors and friends love to join us during this season on their time off and the school children will help when their summer vacation begins.  We invite you our guests to join in with us in harvesting our coffee or take our famous Coffee Tour and encounter our pickers in the fields.  If you would like to pitch in and pluck some coffee cherries with our crew, please just let us know and we will suit you up with a picking basket and a hat to keep the sun off. 

Picking organic coffee at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
Picking organic coffee at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
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El Tigre Vestido Celebrates Semana Santa with Easter Treats

The Costa Rican population is predominantly Catholic and retains many of their  traditions in the celebrations of Easter Week, including meals. Just go to the provincial markets, supermarkets or farmers’ market to see many of the special products of the Holy Week, including a greater variety of fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables for the preparation of traditional dishes, including chiverre, heart of palm or the itabo flower and sweet sugar cane or sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins, corn meal and other basic ingredients to prepare traditional Holy Week meals.

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Semana Santa at Finca Rosa Blanca

Every year, between April and March, the Catholic community traditionally celebrates what has come to be called Holy Week or Semana Santa, which commemorates the passing of Jesus from life to death to resurrection.

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Life Begins in the Slow Lane

I think the most common question we get at Finca Rosa Blanca is how did we get here and what moved us to create our little resort. I always find myself eagerly telling the story I love so much,  which is my first encounter with Costa Rica in 1984. My wife and partner, Teri and I decided to travel to Central America, where we were told by those who knew and those who had dreamed that there were oceans as warm as a bathtub, trees stuffed with monkeys, sloths and  tropical birds and where the time would float by at its own lazy and prolonged pace, allowing  one to immerse himself in the incredible visuals and soulful songs sung by the plethora of fauna that occupies the most bio-diverse nucleus on the planet.

Beautiful Costa Rica: Looking from our balcony at Finca Rosa Blanca toward the Central Valley and coffee farms below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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