Two generations team up at interior Colombia’s Hacienda Santa Clara to offer culinary pointers to those eager to learn how to prepare a meal that enables them to chow down in a particularly Colombian fashion.
Hotel staff are happy to teach guests staying in the community of Santa Rosa de Cabal how to prepare Sancocho, even accompanying them to a local market to buy the ingredients for a dish that can be prepared for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The market excursion enables them to find such needed Colombian staple foods as plantains and yucca.
Their guide can also point out foods that believed to have medicinal qualities, providing cures for the likes of stomach aches and fevers, and a seemingly endless number of fruits and vegetables that will seem exotic to a visiting Canadian.
Participants then return to the Hacienda Santa Clara, preparing the food for their next meal and cooking it over a open-pit fire under the watchful eyes of Daniel Jimenez Ceballos and his mother Ayde Ceballos, both of whom work in the hotel kitchen, and other staff.
They’ll also make arepas, popular Colombian cornmeal snacks, and salad.
Jimenez Ceballos, who is quick to credit his mother for his being at home in the kitchen, says there’s one quality that’s particularly important for aspiring chefs: “The most important thing is passion.”
Hacienda Santa Clara offers the cooking courses for both non-guests and those staying in the hotel, a colonial architecture-style structure that has a friendly Great Dane, who’s tucked into blankets when it’s time for him to call it a night.
But how well can someone who takes a somewhat brief course on preparing Sancocho learn to cook the famed dish?
Well, according to local tour guide Johani Andres Gaviria Lopez, they can learn quite well.
Gaviria Lopez was recently on hand when a group of foreign visitors took the course and was quick to give the thumbs up to the finished product.
“You did amazing,” he told the group after sampling their creation. “I’ve tasted many and this is one of my favourites.”
More information can be found at santaclarahacienda.com.