Thursday, November 10, 2016

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, el diez de noviembre, 2016

School was fine again this morning but the afternoon activity was even better.  It was a cooking class - well, not like my real cooking class but we got to eat a lot and that's always the point!

Two women made mole sauce with fried plantains.  The plantains are fried in soy oil-

Their version of the recipe includes 10 ingredients:  cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, a grilled and chopped sweet chili (seeds removed), a grilled and chopped tomato, cloves, 2 crumbled cookies (the secret ingredient), water, chocolate, brown sugar and salt.  It's all mixed together in a pot, heated, blended-

And poured over the plantains-

It was delicioso!

Leaving the cooking class I wandered down town and came across a local market.  I bought a huge cauliflower for 36 cents!  I couldn't believe it-

I searched for 2 days for this tienda.  I walked up and down the street but could not find it.  I asked policemen, shop owners and tourists.  Finally today, a waiter knew where it was.  It's an ice cream shop that sells crazy flavours-

including cheese, mint, rum, lemon, strawberry, avocado, beer!, coconut, sapodilla, chocolate, rum with plum, kahlua, cherry and corn!!  I tried kahlua and it was excellent.  The flavor was very strong but unfortunately Antigua isn't cheap.  That small cone cost $4.

I stopped in at the Chocolate Museum and tasted all kinds of spreads: chocolate with ground peanuts was my favorite.  I learned that the Maya, who lived in what is today southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and part of El Salvador were the first people to discover the secret of cacao around 250 A.D.  They grew it in their fields, then harvested, fermented, roasted and ground the seeds into a paste to make a frothy, bitter drink.   They mixed the cacao paste with water, added spices such as chili peppers and cornmeal, poured the concoction back and forth from cup to cup, then sweetened it with honey or flower nectar.  Eventually the Aztecs (1200-1521 A.D.) gained control over the Maya and used the cacao as a form of currency.  The chocolate drink became an upper class privilege.  

Walking home, I was able to get a picture of the tip of Volcan Agua through the Arco de Santa Catalina-

Then, sitting on el balcon, I heard a growling and looked up to see Fuego-

It carried on with quite a few eruptions.  I still haven't seen it erupt in the night to see red hot lava pouring down its sides.  Soon I hope!

Tomorrow I'm off on an excursion to San Antonio Aguas Calientes for a pueblo visit!  Looking forward to it!

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