Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 1: The Kickoff

I am very excited to be taking part in the annual Vegan MoFo blogger challenge. All month long, I will be blogging about some of the interesting places I've lived and/or visited, and all the yummy vegan foods I ate (or didn't eat, if I wasn't yet vegan, but bear with me here). Today, to get my MoFo started, let's take a culinary tour to this great place I just visited (maybe you've heard me mention it?), Costa Rica.

For five glorious mornings, I sat down in the hotel's restaurant and gazed out at the beautiful Arenal Volcano.

Isn't it amazing? It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

The hotel had a fabulous breakfast spread each morning - pastries, cereals, made-to-order omelets, breads, gallo pinto, fried plantains, and yogurt. However, what captured my heart (and stomach) each morning was the fresh, local tropical fruits. Papaya, pineapple, rambutan (that's the spiky-looking fruit), passion fruit, watermelon, and bananas were laid out each morning, ready to be devoured. I ate fruit, and only fruit, for breakfast every single day I was in Costa Rica, accompanied by a glass of fresh papaya juice. This is an example of what my first plate would look like (yes, I said first plate - I always went back for a second plate!)

Costa Rican bananas and pineapples are actually sweeter than the ones we eat here in America. I was told that the bananas are sweeter because they allow a certain fungus to grow on the bananas for local consumption, and this fungus makes the bananas taste sweeter (and BETTER!!) This fungus would not look appealing to US buyers, so instead, we get pristine-looking, but inferior-tasting bananas. Hmph. I thought I loved bananas before, but I swear to you, the Costa Rican bananas I ate were out-of-this-world delicious. I mean, SO GOOD. I think I ate at least 4 bananas a day! Two at breakfast, and at least two others as snacks. The hotel was awesome and set out a big platter of bananas in the lobby each day. I definitely took advantage of that little perk! :)

Ever since I got home from Costa Rica, I've been dreaming about recreating that sumptuous little breakfast I ate every morning. I finally bought a papaya and pineapple at the grocery store this week, and this morning, I excitedly peeled and chopped them up for my breakfast. I was happy to see that both my bananas and my pineapple were actually from Costa Rica!

Looks great, right? Well, I thought so, too. But then I tried the papaya. Blech. It was....mealy?! I mean, I've eaten plenty of papaya before, but it never tasted mealy to me before, until now. The bananas also tasted sort of plain. The pineapple was delicious, though. But I have to say, I was disappointed. There is definitely something to be said about eating fresh, local fruit! I think if I'd never eaten the fresh Costa Rican fruit, I'd never know the difference. But now I know. And the fruit we get here in America just isn't nearly as good. When fruit is picked underripe and left to ripen on the journey to our grocery stores, something is lost along the way. So now I know. I'll still be eating 9 pounds of bananas a week, I'm sure, but it just won't taste the same.

There will be more Costa Rican food and adventures during Vegan MoFo. I really want to make some gallo pinto and fried plantains this month! We'll also be visiting Germany, France, Italy, Barbados, England, Austria, Poland, Croatia, and other exciting places during October. Grab your passports and a bib!


Kath said...

Oh the fruit looks amazing! I've got a craving now ;)

Bethany said...

Hi Kath, thanks for commenting! What kinds of fruits do you have in Scotland? Anything interesting/unusual?

sara said...

gorgeous view! the breakfast looks nice, too. i love to travel vicariously through others so i'm looking forward to your posts :)

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Bad fruit is the worst! I don't think I've ever had good papaya, though. That volcano looks awesome!

Bethany said...

Hi Sara and Mo! Thanks for commenting! I love to "travel" through other people's blogs, too. Isn't it fun?!