Sunday, November 17, 2013
Five Stomach-based Reasons Why Copán Ruinas Totally Rocks
Central America is worldwide renowned for its coffee production, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can get a decent cup for breakfast. The Honduran style of drinking coffee, at least in the mountain villages around Copán, is to boil a pot full of water and adding a little coffee and tons of sugar that is then strained to a cheesecloth filter. It’s sweet and weak and doesn’t do a thing to get me going in the morning. Guatemala is even worse: coffee = Nescafé. Only in places frequented by tourists can you get a real espresso, cappuccino or just a regular that actually tastes like coffee. And luckily enough there are plenty of these places in Copán! You can get delicious locally grown and freshly ground coffee at La Casa de Todo, Café San Rafael, Café Ixchel, Macaw Mountain and Café Welchez. Don’t forget to bring a few pounds of coffee home with you!
My life took a humungous turn for the better when Carlos René Guerra started making cheese a couple of years ago at Café San Rafael. Not even in Antigua Guatemala will you find such an incredible and delicious variety of cheeses, from spiced cream cheese to mozzarella, edam, brie, camembert, pepper jack and a whole bunch of other cheeses that Carlos invented himself. All cheeses are made of milk coming from the family farm. You should not visit Copán without dropping by at Café San Rafael. If you’re not into cheese, then at least try their coffee (also from their own family run farm) or any item on the menu of their lovely open-door café. Oh, did I mention the yoghurt? The fresh milk? Their homemade chili sauce? Total delight!
The time that you could only get Bimbo bread in Copán is long gone and that’s a good thing. Bimbo bread -what else could you expect with such a name- is soggy, tasteless and gross. It actually does live up to one half of its publicity slogan (Siempre rico, siempre fresco –Always delicious, always fresh) because it never gets hard or green or moldy. Thanks to huge amount of ingredients that have nothing to do with bread.
But you can now forget about Bimbo and go to La Casa de Todo for freshly baked garlic bread or baguettes. The Via Via sells a great whole wheat bread as well as regular loaves. And if you like really dark bread, contact Muriel through La Casa del Café. Healthy and delicious!
When I first came to Copán there were only three kinds of nationally brewed beers and that was about it. We would get overexcited if one of the stores would accidentally have a bottle of wine in stock, usually overpriced and pure vinegar, but nonetheless wine. At least according to the label. Now there’s plenty of variety of wine in the liquor stores for reasonable prices. Café Via Via sells Belgium beers that are actually cheaper than in a bar in Belgium, as well as local beers and a Happy Hour for rum drinks (2 for 1 for $1,50!!). Beer lovers must visit Sol de Copán, a small German owned beer brewery. Great drafts!
5. Local veggies you’ve never seen in your life before!
The market in the centre of town sells a great variety of the regular fruit and vegetables, but when in Copán, and in the right season, make sure you don’t miss out on lorroco, a small green/white flower with a delicious nutty taste; or chufles, something best described as a crossover between asparagus and artichoke. Ayote (squash) flowers are delicious as well as very decorative as you will experience if you book a romantic dinner at Hacienda San Lucas. Flor de izote has a somewhat bitter taste and surprising texture. Berro can be compared to watercress and in order to be big and strong when I grow up, I eat tons of mostaza or mustard leaf, something I had never tasted before coming to Copán. Raw or cooked, it tastes amazing and is full of the good stuff.
And those are just five reasons why to come and stay in Copán Ruinas. There are plenty more!