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La cocina Guanacasteca: corn cooking

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Corn is still integral to the regional cuisine of Guanacaste, thanks to the Chorotegas, who cultivated maize (corn) to use in many inventive ways. One pre-Columbian corn concoction involved roasting and grinding the maize, and then combining the meal-like paste with water and chocolate to make the drink chicha. Although you can’t find this version of chicha any more you can still get grain-based drinks in Guanacaste, such as horchata (made with rice or corn and spiced with cinnamon), or pinolillo (made with roasted corn), both milky and sweet, with an unmistakeably grainy texture.

Corn also shows up in traditional Guanacastecan snacks such as tanelas (like a cheese scone, but made with cornflour) and rosquillas, small rings of cornflour that taste like a combination between tortillas and doughnuts. You can buy these at roadside stalls and small shops in Liberia. Served throughout the country, chorreados crop up most often on menus in Guanacaste: they’re a kind of pancake made (again) with cornflour and served with natilla, the local version of sour cream.

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