Costa Rica and its inhabitants have been consumed with World Cup Fever and pride in their amazing team who despite all odds made it to the Quarter finals. They played the Netherlands yesterday and kept them from scoring in a 0 to 0 game which went to penalty kicks. Sadly, they lost in these last stressful moments, but they have left the world with such an impression of good sportsmanship and pride of country. Glenn and I as Costa Ricans could not be prouder of our adopted country and I congratulate everyone in this tiny country, where there is no army or military at all, cradle to grave health care and guaranteed education for all and where the president of the country was in the streets celebrating with his people both the wins and the losses of a superb group of young men. Proud to be a Costa Rican!
Walking in the Coffee Farm this beautiful sunny morning with Glenn and the dogs, we heard the clay-colored thrush, the gray-necked wood-rail and the melodious blackbird singing, squacking and trilling in the canopy above us. It is the season when the almost daily rain showers are causing everything to burst forth in green and in song in our coffee farm and at the hotel. We are surrounded by towering Higueron Trees, Porro and Senna trees and the tropical exuberance of the gardens and farm where more than 125 species of birds have been spotted. We sit on the deck of the restaurant terrace and are privy to the flights of fancy of swallows, hawks, parakeets and motmots. This morning I heard Glenn actually complain that the melodious songs of the national bird of Costa Rica, a nondescript thrush, had pulled him out of a vivid dream to awaken with the dawn. But what a way to be awakened!
Viewing Platform above crater at Poas Volcano
Tour Three Active Volcanoes from Finca Rosa Blanca
Irazu , Turrialba, and Poás are the 3 active volcanoes within miles of Finca Rosa Blanca and Barva Volcano directly above the resort is the largest in land mass of all the 292 documented volcanoes in Costa Rica. Join us in exploring these beautiful mountains and cloud forests on foot, zip line, mountain bike and horses. Discover wild rivers and cascading waterfalls, big cats, quetzals, tapirs and eagles.
Choose from three different volcanic cloud forest experiences: Poás Volcano at 8,900 feet is a still active, but tranquil volcano with the largest crater in the world, bubbling active fumaroles and a simmering lake. Our closest neighbor is Barva Volcano at 9,534 ft. on the western extreme of Braulio Carrillo National Park offers excellent hiking through Cloud Forest to the Crater Lake where resplendent quetzals have been sighted. At 11,256 feet, Irazú Volcano is Costa Rica’s highest volcano and on a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
The Poas Volcano has the largest crater in the world
In less than 3 weeks we will be digging into yet another fabulous meal at the Tigre Vestido Restaurant! On June 4 our guest chefs Gilad Chudler and MikeC of Napa, California will be presenting along with Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company, a menu which features the artesenal beers and porters made here with local ingredients, including Finca Rosa Blanca’s own organic coffee.
Coffee Honey Porter Braised Pork Belly, Libertas Tropical Ale Battered Fish Tacos, and Oatmeal Stoat Brownies paired with the Craft Brewing Company’s seasonal beers are just some of the delicious creations of our Guest Chefs for this meal. Join us for this culinary experience of a lifetime at Finca Rosa Blanca!
Artesanal beer-themed menu to whet your appetite!
Guest Chefs at Finca Rosa Blanca Prepare Organic Coffee Menu
In less than a month Finca Rosa Blanca will feature Guest Chefs MikeC and Gilad Chudler from Costa Rica Culinary Tours who have created a fabulous event for foodies in Costa Rica and featuring our own Finca Rosa Blanca Organic Coffee in all of the plates to be served on Monday, June 2 at the El Tigre Vestido Restaurant. We wanted to share this fabulous menu with you first here on the Finca Rosa Blanca Blog!
-Costa Rican Style Black Bean and Coffee Soup with Poached Egg, Rice, and Cilantro
-“Cappuccino Salad” Grilled Pineapple Salad with Organic Mixed Greens, Toasted Macadamia, Fresh Avocado Slices, Red Onions and a Coffee and Local Honey Vinaigrette with a Coffee Rubbed Crostini
-Slow Roasted Coffee Rubbed Pork Ribs with a Yucca and Garlic Confit Puree, Chayote Picadillo and Coffee Spiced Plantain Chips
-Espresso Bean Flan with Coffee Liqueur Whipped Cream Quenelles and Chocolate Ganache Covered Coffee Beans
Join us for exquisite food!
Call us at 2269-9392 for reservations. The menu is pre-fixe at $65 and we will recommend wine from our wine list to accompany the courses! Call now to reserve your table with a view of the twinkling lights of the Central Valley below!
Chiverre, called the fig-leaf gourd in English is a squash which is native to the Americas and a member of the cucurbit family (Cucurbita ficifolia) The shell is very hard and inside the texture is similar to that of a pumpkin but colored white.The season for collecting the chiverre coincides with Holy Week and Easter, and hundreds of roadside stands have them available. It is a Semana Santa staple. In Costa Rica, it is traditional to make empanadas stuffed with sweet “chiverre” filling Semana Santa or Holy Week. Costa Ricans use the chiverre in many ways, mostly sweet and based on cane sugar, in convervas or conserves and jams called miel de chiverre or chiverre honey. If you can find a Chiverre Squash in your neighborhood, I share with the very simple, but time consuming, recipes to make Chiverre Jam.
Miel de chiverre
Ingredients: A lot of patience and a big chiverre (often weighing 10 lbs.)
Dulce de caña in (2) tapas or 1 kilo of granular brown sugar
ground cinnamon and cloves to taste
250 grams tamarind seeds removed afterwards
If desired, you can add coconut pieces or flakes, zest from limes or oranges and nutmeg. Tapa dulce is made in circular blocks from molds which hold the boiled cane sugar juice extracted from the crushed sugar cane and has a distinct flavor of molasses and is ubiquitous in every Costa Rican household.Tamarind comes in blocks of the dried fruit and seeds and is made into a delicious popular drink and used in making sweets in Costa Rica.
Make a fire or use a kitchen burner to char as much as possible of the shell of the chiverre. When done, hit the shell with a hammer to expose the contents that looks like Chinese spaghetti or fine hairs. Now the contents must be dried. When the chiverre contents are drier, cook it in a big pot on low heat. In the pot put your preferred sugar, white or brown. Cover the entire flesh of the chiverre with sugar, tamarindo seeds, cinnamon, cloves, lime or orange peel and, if desired, coconut. The chiverre will produce enough liquid for this process.Cover the pot and let it cook slowly and reduce for 90 minutes. Don’t forget to stir often.
Chiverre (cucurbita ficifolia)
The flower of the Itabo plant is consumed during Semana Santa
It is already April and Easter Week starts soon. This marks the end of the summer season here in Costa Rica and it continues to be warm, breezy and dry. The Chiverre squash can be found on every roadside as it is the ubiquitous sign of Easter. Here we eat it as a sweet conserve, a filling for pastries and cakes or just consumed on crackers with a bit of cream cheese. Fish and seafood will also be found in every household, a traditional staple for everyone who has grown up learning the stories around the week.
My family and I always enjoyed staying home and savoring the complete peace and quiet of the Central Valley as nearly everyone makes the exodus to the beach during this week, no matter what date it falls upon. There are no Easter Egg Hunts or baskets with chocolate bunnies and Easter Sunday is the least important day of the holiday. The sounds of drums and church bells are the only disturbances and those add to the charm of Easter Week. Thursday and Friday are days of quiet contemplation, church services and religious processions through the streets where the reenactment of the stations of the cross is being played out.
I invite you to join us in the majesty of the ceremonies and processions, the traditional foods and the lovely quiet of authentic Costa Rica during Easter Week. Semana Santa in Spanish, literally translated as Holy Week, is the most iconic of all celebrations during the year in every Latin country in the world. And each country celebrates the week with different rituals, foods and customs. Come and experience it at Finca Rosa Blanca!
- The flower of the Itabo plant is consumed during Semana Santa
A “Poor Man’s Umbrella” plant on the trail to Barva Volcano
We understand that after a long hard winter and months of no down time, your fantasy vacation usually involves a BEACH. Got it! BUT, you would be missing out on the amazing adventures in the Highlands of Costa Rica where cloud forests beckon and volcanoes bubble. Rather than spend half your short vacation and go far afield to experience these mountains at places such as Monteverde and Arenal, we will help you plan your stay at Finca Rosa Blanca. In the space of 3 short days you can stand at the lip of the second largest crater in the world, hike through misty cloud forest on your way to a roaring waterfall, fly through the canopy on a zip line, raft wild white water rivers and quietly spot a resplendent quetzal in the boughs of an ancient oak tree.
Our two daughters grew up at Finca Rosa Blanca and on their off times, our favorite family time was spent hiking the mountains and volcanoes just above the resort. Setting off early in the morning to take advantage of the clear skies, we would take cameras, water and snacks to sustain and contain the memories of these days. Barva Volcano is part of Braulio Carrillo National Park and is one of the least visited parks in Costa Rica where you seldom encounter other hikers. We became adept, with the help of the knowledgeable park guides, in identifying the prints of such illusive animals as the tapir, a giant hippo like mammal with hooves, the tropical mountain lion and the paca, a small long-legged rodent. The trails to the Laguna, a once active crater, now filled with crystal clear water, are bordered and surrounded by trees covered in long flowing moss, bromeliads and orchids and the exotic birds flit amongst the branches. Stopping often to catch our breath as the trail leads to a lookout above the lake at more than 9,000 feet, we revel in the quantity of the poor man’s umbrella plant, one leaf of which would keep you dry in a down pour. Eating our well deserved snacks and enjoying the clouds pouring over the mountains to sustain the high altitude forests, was probably one of the highlights of our lives in the Highlands of Costa Rica.
All of these sensations can be had while staying at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort, only 20 minutes from the International Airport. The airport and the resort are located in the Central Valley at over 4000 feet and you will need 2 to 3 nights to enjoy our mountain paradise, feel the high altitude breezes and our perennially spring like temperatures where the volcanoes steam and the gigantic trees of the cloud forests breathe. We are neighbors to several volcanoes and the Braulio Carrillo National Park, the largest national park in the country. Poas Volcano can be experienced from a stunning viewing platform where the crater below is bubbling with active fumaroles and contains a simmering lake that is almost a mile wide and 1000 feet deep. Barva volcano, our favorite weekend destination, is dormant, but the wildlife attracted by the myriad tropical hardwood trees and the lagoon includes tapirs, big cats, sloth and trogons. No need to travel further afield than Finca Rosa Blanca for hiking in the cloud forest and on the slopes of live and sleeping volcanoes, zip lining or horseback riding all within a short drive into the mountains.
Green Organic Coffee Beans Prepared for Roasting
Coffee has been emerging as not only as a delicious beverage, but also as a medicinal” wonderfood” with studies recently showing that coffee may reduce maladies such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, type two diabetes, some kinds of liver damage, endometriosis as well as having apparently some beneficial attributes for human skin. It would seem logical then, that by understanding the potential beneficial effects on the human body, we would consider that with the four or more cups daily that coffee lovers like myself imbibe without hesitation, that this magical dark and aromatic elixir is being religiously absorbed into our bodies over 100 times a month, and thus would hopefully be free of carcinogenic or dangerous chemicals. What a dilemma if we discovered that all of these medicinal attributes would be offset by the seemingly perilous circadian habit of drinking coffee that may have been contaminated through the addition and absorption of herbicides, pesticides and other potentially toxic chemicals found in a conventional coffee plantation. Whether or not this has been scientifically proven, it seems to me, is rather irrelevant; by using common sense one would have to infer that if a chemical can chemically denude the ground of all its undergrowth and the defenseless plants and microbes that exist close by, that the berries would consequently have a pretty good chance of drawing those same chemicals into its beans. And we, the unwitting coffee lushes would thus be, day-to-day, drinking down these same substances.
An organic shade grown coffee plantation is a natural agar dish for a robust ecology where are the factors for sustainability are taken into consideration as much as the quality of the product that would result from this kind of farming. Counter-erosion, water protection, reforestation and green technology are all factors that are used but also are considered in some degree in almost all the organic and sustainable coffee farms around the world. The symbiosis that is created between the nitrogen rich trees, the coffee, with its long-standing and friendly allies, Poró, Banana, Plantains, and other native and nitrogen rich trees found in Costa Rica allows for a chain of life that surely supplements not only the ecological footprint of the farm but also enriches the aesthetic beauty for the visitor, the laborer and for that matter the owner.
Visiting the local Fresh Market
We are proud to announce a Costa Rica Highlands Culinary Week at Finca Rosa Blanca which will be led by Chefs MikeC. and Gilad Chudler of Costa Rica Culinary Tours. Indulge your Inner Foodie and Join us for the Taste Experience of a Lifetime! We will be offering packages of 6 nights and 5 days at our world renowned Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort, surrounded by steaming volcanoes, cloud forests and coffee farms. Every day we will feature a gourmet tour including walking the pathways of an organic tree-shaded coffee plantation, helping to hand-pollinate vanilla orchids and learning the secret to crafting the perfect chocolate from cacao bean to bonbon. In the evenings you can participate in hands-on cooking classes and enjoy special pairing dinners based on ingredients you sourced at the local market, or experienced at a private tasting or hand- picked on the farm.
- Admiring the verdant trees
An organic coffee field can be distinguished quite easily from a conventional coffee field both visually and topographically. To begin with, an organic coffee field is almost certainly covered by a lush undergrowth in the lanes between the coffee plants, which is a direct result of two practices; First, because an organic coffee farm does not use any kind of toxic herbicides or pesticides, the ground is fertile everywhere throughout the coffee field, not just under the plant’s roots, and in addition, due to the fact that a shade grown, organic coffee field depends on the symbiosis between the plants and its friendly neighboring trees, the falling leaves and other natural organic debris act as a efficient byproduct of fertilizer and nitrogen for the ever demanding coffee plants.
An organic shade grown coffee plantation is a natural agar dish for a robust ecology where the factors for sustainability are taken into consideration as much as the quality of the product that would result from this kind of farming. Counter-erosion, water protection, reforestation and green technology are all factors that are used but also are considered in some degree in almost all the organic and sustainable coffee farms around the world. The symbiosis that is created between the nitrogen rich trees, the coffee, with its long-standing and friendly allies, Poró, Banana, Plantains, and other native and nitrogen rich trees found in Costa Rica allows for a chain of life that surely supplements not only the ecological footprint of the farm but also enriches the aesthetic beauty for the visitor, the laborer and for that matter the owner.
We have just opened our new coffee bar on the deck of El Tigre Vestido Restaurant! Surrounded by sacks of freshly roasted coffee and decorated with hand-painted ceramic tiles, guests can sit at the bar and enjoy an aromatic and delicious espresso or a cold Costa Rican beer. The bar overlooks the valley below and the neighboring coffee plantations and enjoys the fresh breezes from the volcanoes above. A wonderful addition to our popular deck, the coffee bar also features a kitchen where Oscar, our chef, conducts his cooking classes and whips up omelets in the mornings for breakfast. We are looking forward to seeing you soon!
El Ranchito, one of the extraordinary master suites our guests have enjoyed
We are so proud that Conde Nast readers named Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort as their #1 Hotel in Central America! And we are named on Conde Nasts’ Gold List as one of the top FIVE hotels and resorts in Costa Rica for 2014! What is your favorite room?
Picking organic coffee at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
The coffee is ripening on our plantation and the local pickers are moving among the coffee bushes selecting the reddest and ripest of the coffee cherries. These bright red berries are dropped into their handwoven baskets which are tied around their waists to make it easier to pick and to help them fill the containers quickly to the rim. Our guests and coffee tour participants are invited to pick with the workers to appreciate the hard work which goes into every cup of coffee they consume in their daily lives.
Today we experienced the first May shower, or rather downpour! The rains are late in coming and the rivers are low, but after the lovely rain of today, the thrushes are singing and everything living thing is growing. This is the start of afternoon showers every day which refresh and renew the coffee bushes and the giant Higueron Trees.
We are very proud that Finca Rosa Blanca has earned a perfect score of 5 on Eco Tropical Resorts Butterfly Club rating. Only 9 Lodges in the world have achieved a perfect score of 5 on the Eco Rating which is highly competitive but self evaluative.
Sitting on the terrace of the restaurant, I am surrounded by the heady perfume of coffee blossoms in the fields below. For only 2-3 days, the coffee bushes will be full of delicate white flowers which smell heavenly and portend the future harvest.
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.