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Old 08-31-2011, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Costa Rican Ingredient Hunt

My wife and I are vacationing in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rico next week and thought it might be fun to bring back some ingredients for brewing. I know I can get cacoa and coffee. Does anyone have any other suggestions for exotic or interesting finds?


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Old 08-31-2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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No ideas?


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Old 08-31-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Sorry from my end.... I am too new to this to really know what you can and cannot use, I also do not know what would be available in Costa Rica except bananas. Would they work in a beer?

Though I'd post even though I have no info since you had no responses...
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:57 PM   #4
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Never been to costa rica but I was just in St. Lucia which is fairly close. They sold spice packs there to make your own spiced rum that could also make a nice spiced beer. There were all kinds of different spices and plants in those packs, many you wouldn't be able to find back in the states. There are probably similar packs at the touristy markets in costa rica.

Speaking of rum, if you find that you like one down there, bring back as much of it as you can. I stupidly only brought back one bottle of my favorite rum in St. Lucia, and now I'm wishing I had more. It's so cheap there but you can't find it up here for any amount of money.

Have a great time down there! My advice, try the beer but then move on to what they're good at, rum. The beer is pretty indisinguishable from any macro lager, but the rum is awesome. At least that was my experience in St. Lucia. Be sure to try the local spiced rums, they vary from place to place, and can be really good.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pickles View Post
My wife and I are vacationing in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rico next week and thought it might be fun to bring back some ingredients for brewing. I know I can get cacoa and coffee. Does anyone have any other suggestions for exotic or interesting finds?
You may have a serious customs problem if you try, i would check with a customs agent before buying anything,as it is often illegal to bring back anything that could be considered a "food product" from a another country.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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No ideas?
I love Costa Rica, but with modern shipping, I'm not sure that there is anything worth getting that you can't already get in the U.S.

There are slightly different varieties of fruits available that are not available in the U.S., but if you fly back through somewhere like Miami then you can't bring fruit with you.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:11 PM   #7
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You may have a serious customs problem if you try, i would check with a customs agent before buying anything,as it is often illegal to bring back anything that could be considered a "food product" from a another country.
There are several types of foods that you can bring back, but many of them must be declared at customs and you will likely have to answer questions about what you have and/or have your luggage searched.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:28 PM   #8
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There are several types of foods that you can bring back, but many of them must be declared at customs and you will likely have to answer questions about what you have and/or have your luggage searched.
Ya just thought i would throw it out there, better safe than sorry, if you ask a customs agent ahead of time then you dont buy something you cant bring back!
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:41 PM   #9
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Look for spices, Regional versions of unrefined sugars like (Jaggery/Turbinado), dried fruits, unusual candies (again fermentable sugars,) Regional versions of Natural Syrups (agave, treacle, jamaican burnt sugar, lyles Golden, fruit syrup.)

Find out what is used in regional beverages, alcoholic and not and get some of that.

If it is fermentable, or can flavor or lend aroma to a fermentable, and you can't get it in your local kroger's then you got something useful. Anything used in baking or candy/desert making especially.

Don't rule out rices, grains and herbs as well.

Just go into any bodega or mercado and walk around, you'll find stuff.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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For example I just googled "Costa Rican Syrups" and Kola Syrup "Cruz Blanca" popped up.

Quote:
This syrup is known to be in every Costa Rica´s home. Ideal as a drink, sweetener, and for the famous "copos". Comes in a 480ml. plastic bottle.
Also don't forget to look at starches as well, do a little digging into costa rican cuisine ahead of time, then find out if any of that can be converted. For example google tells me that in CR they make Chicha with manioc root (also called yuca or cassava.) It woudl be interesting to try a cereal mash with some yucca flour for example and add it to a beer. Or do a variation of chicha .


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