maracuya

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Maracuya Tic Tacs

 

I can eat a whole box of these in about five minutes flat. Tom tells me I have to savour the flavour by sucking instead of chewing but tic tac etiquette be damned.

These tasty Passionfruit flavoured Tic Tacs can be found in both Colombia (maracuya) and Brazil (maracuja), they have a soury-sweet flavour that makes them instantly addictive and they also claim to have vitamin C so they are undoubtedly good for you.  These treats are great to have kicking around when you are on the road with nothing to eat… having more than one box helps… I buy five at a time.

 

Dear Colombia,

You are a country of amazing diversity, incredible scenery, welcoming people and your food – oh the food…  Since we arrived we have been treated to various Colombian specialties and our waistlines are now suffering the consequences of all your ridiculously delicious food.  But, as we leave the country, we are not sure how we are going to live without your:

Jugos
With your stunning array of tropical fruits, we are now unsure how we will survive without the sweet sour tang of maracuya (passionfruit), the berry deliciousness of mora (blackberry), the creamy lulo, the refreshing melon and the indescribable tomate de arbol (tree tomato). From Colombia onward I will hold maracuya dear to my heart.

Fresh juice

Fresh juices!

Almojabana
This savoury cheesy bread, best eaten straight out of the oven, has cast a spell on our hungry bellies.  We found ourselves craving this small button of tastiness nearly every morning.  And, we both agree, that Pan Pa Ya in Bogota makes the most magnificent almojabana.

A delicous and delectable cheesy treat

A delicious and delectable cheesy treat

Aijiaco
A soup created with chicken, 3 types of potatoes, corn, heavy cream and capers sounds like an odd mix but this traditional soup became a solid favourite after the first spoonful.  Comforting, filling and with a bit of a zip from the capers this Bogotan specialty will be sorely missed but hopefully recreated.

Capers, chicken and potatoes...

Capers, chicken and potatoes...

Arepa de Huevo
Originally from the coast, we first tried arepa de huevo in Bogota where Odette (yet another gracious Colombian host) gave us a crash course in how to make them.  Turns out our skills are not very good but with Odette’s help the end product tasted just fine.  Amazing that cornflour, egg and salt can taste so scrumptious.  Salsa Brava and a dollop of sour cream completed this tasty breakfast.

Deep-fried with an egg in the middle!

Deep-fried with an egg in the middle!

Pan de bono
Almojabana’s cheeky cousin, pan de bono filled our stomachs with sheer bliss when we visited Cali.  With a harder skin, reminiscent of a bagel, on the outside and soft chewy bread on the inside it was too hard to say no to just one… so we didn’t (which is why there are no photos!).

Sigh Colombia, it is with sorrow and jeans that don’t quite zip up that we bid you adieu.

So I have to say that although I loved the sailing I was pretty happy to be on dry land again after a fairly rough couple of days in the open water – some of the bigger waves going right over the top of the boat… not really my cup of tea, kind of dashed my romantic notions of sailing round the world.

Old City Cartagena

We spent some time hanging out in Cartagena waiting for the car to arrive. Founded in 1533 Cartagena became the main Spanish port on the Caribbean coast, treasure plundered from the indigenous peoples was held there until the galleons could ship it back to Spain. In response to numerous pirate attacks the Spanish constructed a massive wall that encircled the town and helped the port withstand many sieges.

Best Juice Ever

I think the old part of town has to be the most beautiful city we’ve seen so far, apparently it is one of the finest surviving examples of 16th and 17th century Spanish architecture and it remains relatively untouched since it’s construction. Narrow cobbled streets and stone arches with funny wooden balconies perched above. Rambling bougainvillea and palms and hidden courtyards and spontaneous dancing in the streets. The people are very friendly and Kelsey is in fruit heaven – her latest infatuation is the maracuya (passion fruit) juice… she had three in one day!

Dancing in the Streets from Kels M on Vimeo.

We caught the ferry from Bocas to meet up with our travel buddies Chris and Kristin in a little town called Santa Catalina on the Pacific coast—which is also home to a really good surfing break (named after the town) and it’s touted as having the most consistent surf in Central America. A long walk out over volcanic rock and then it’s a fair paddle to a beautiful but shallow reef break offering fast lefts and rights, when we arrived the waves were about shoulder high. We camped in a nice spot called Oasis right on the beach with plenty of shade and fresh coconuts falling scarily close to our tents, like manna from the sky. Try boiling a cup and a half of rice in the juice drained from two freshly fallen coconuts in a thin camp pot … best eaten under undiluted galaxies.

shady-camping

A few tranquilo days later we headed inland to camp with a rasta yogi, known locally as ‘Swami‘ and his rainbow gathering crew, the cheapest accommodation we could find in a town that’s centered in the crater of an extinct volcano, called El Valle, about two hours outside of Panama city. When the Panama Canal was owned and operated by the States a few Panamanian officials were getting fairly good kickbacks and we were told that this is where their kids bought up large chunks of fertile land, building grandiose houses with rambling manicured lawns set amongst awesome tropical landscaping. We had read that the town hosts an interesting arts and crafts market and were a little disappointed to find it much of the same and our only real discovery worth reporting was the Maracuya (passionfruit) juice served in a small out-of-the-way cafe.