jueves, 2 de febrero de 2017

World Class Chef Collaborates with Pacuare Lodge

World Class Chef Collaborates with Pacuare Lodge

UNFORGETTABLE CULINARY EXPERIENCES NEED TO BE SHARED


By Roberto Fernández, Pacuare Lodge owner

Pacuare Lodge is one of NatGeo’s Unique Lodges of the World located in Turrialba, in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. Besides being surrounded by unmatched natural beauty, the rushing river, the lush green rainforest, and the unique, intimate experience of lodging in a luxury treehouse, we can now add a world class cuisine to our repertoire. Travelers ourselves, we always look to enhance the experience with every fellow traveler. As we head out into the world to broaden our minds and witness other rare and exclusive destinations, we look to bring something back to Pacuare Lodge to share with our guests. We find that every great adventure – every treasure found – becomes greater when you can share it and pay it forward. The world is our oyster, but there is more than one pearl. After a recent trip to Greece, we are proud to bring back one of our favorite finds: world class chef Giorgios Belesis.

Taking in the places you visit, you have to take in all of it, engaging all senses with the sounds, the sights, the smells, the touch, and the tastes. Unmatched natural beauty surrounds us, from nature to the wildlife to the sounds of the rushing Pacuare River, so food becomes a way to engage all senses at once. Best of all, food is something to be shared.


LOCAL, FRESH, SEASONAL, AND SUSTAINABLE

LOCAL, FRESH, SEASONAL, AND SUSTAINABLE
We pride ourselves on creating local, fresh, seasonal, and sustainable cuisine.
Making unforgettable culinary experiences for our guests has always been a passion of ours. Some of the finest ingredients in the world are growing all around us; on the trees, on the bushes, and in the ground. We take full advantage of every local delicacy, harvesting many of the vegetables, tubers,  and fruits at our organic farm. We even make our goat cheese and local Turrialba cheese on site. Our goal is to turn famous local dishes into gastronomical delights, keeping it local, fresh, seasonal, and sustainable. However, even with the best ingredients at our fingertips, we knew we could do more.


“Through the process of cooking, I’m always passionate about seeing the final creation. I love to create new things and textures. With the correct technique, the use of fresh and nice ingredients, plus a touch of imagination, you and your team can come up with something extraordinary that will satisfy your guests.”
Giorgios Belesis, Executive Chef, Kapari Natural Resort


In 2016, we took off on one of our adventures, visiting another NatGeo Unique Lodge in Santorini, Greece: Kapari Natural Resort. The resort boasted one of the best restaurants in Santorini, so naturally, we wanted to try it out. We were blown away by the food that we were eating; so much so that we never bothered to go anywhere else for our entire stay. When food is this good, you stay until you have tried everything. This was what we wanted to bring back home. This was what we needed to make Pacuare Lodge an even more memorable experience for our guests and world travelers.

Giorgios Belesis collaborates with Pacuare Lodge
World class chef, Giorgios Belesis collaborates with Pacuare Lodge.

Giddy and satiated from four days of incredible culinary experiences, we were invited to meet the Executive Chef, Giorgios Belesis, in his kitchen. We wasted no time and proposed a management cross training between our hotels. And here we are, eight months later hosting  Giorgios as an invited chef to our kitchen in The Nest, our remote restaurant nestled in the canopy of a ceiba tree.

Turning local favorites into gastronomical delights.
Turning local favorites into gastronomical delights.

“I immediately noticed the wonderful flavors, fresh ingredients, and a very appealing way of preparing the dish. I was also very impressed by the efforts that Pacuare Lodge makes in hiring people from the local communities and the opportunity that this represents in terms of knowledge and new skills for the local cooks and the rest of the staff.”Giorgios Belesis




Giorgios quickly emerged himself in the local culture, working with our local staff and chefs to create elevated cuisine using all of our seasonal and local ingredients. He did not come to take over; he came to collaborate. To add his experience to ours, to help enhance and heighten the exquisite flavors and local dishes that we were already serving our guests. We hope that when Giorgios returns to his homeland, to his kitchen in Kapari Natural Resort, he will bring back with him a little bit of Costa Rica.

BOOK YOUR VACATION AT ONE OF COSTA RICA’S MOST EXCLUSIVE AND INTIMATE DESTINATIONS

Book your stay at the Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica and get an unforgettable dining experience. All of our food is fresh, local, seasonal, and sustainable. Experience gastronomical delights by local chefs, created in collaboration with one of our favorite chefs in the world, Giorgios Belesis.

viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2016

7 things you must do on your first trip to Costa Rica

Planning yourfirst trip to Costa Rica? Don’t know where to start? Maybe you have a week and want a nice variety of what Costa Rica offers: beaches, nature, volcanoes, culture. Here's a list of suggestions that shows you a bit of everything.


1. BEACH: With two coastlines, Costa Rica offers a collection of gorgeous beaches. One of our favorite beaches is Flamingo. Many call it the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica – which is saying a lot. Swimming is good here. The village is developed, with tourist services, good restaurants nightlife, and nice lodging options. Sportfishing is big here, too, and the action extends inland with great hiking and views.



2. RAINFOREST: Costa Rica's protected areas encompass more than 25% of the country's total landmass. One of these areas, the Pacuare reserve, provides sanctuary of over 25,000 acres rain forest where visitors can find a surprising biodiversity due to the unique geographic, topographic and climatic conditions in the area.
 
3. CULTURE: Come for nature, experience its rich culture and traditions, mascaradas, museums, indigenous legacy. Spend a day in downtown San José, we suggesst to visit the National Theater, grab lunch at its Alma de Café restaurant and then stroll through the Plaza de la Cultura, where the Gold museum houses one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold pieces in the world. The National Museum is another option to the Gold Museum.

4. FOOD: There's quite a variety of mouth watering local cuisine: Ceviche, tortillas, gallo pinto, fresh fruits. Casado is a very popular dish which consists of white rice with a side of black beans, a vegetable side, and a choice of fish fillet, grilled chicken, pork chop, steak. For coffee lovers, there's plenty of reshly brewed Costa Rican coffee!
 
5. FAUNA: Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. With the help of a knowledgable guide, you will be able to spot a sloth, toucans, red eyed tree frogs, capuchin monkeys and many more of its inhabitants. Costa Rica is the perfect destination for birdwatchers!
 
6. VISIT A VOLCANO: Irazú and Poás volcanoes are two of Costa Rica's top attractions. One of our favorites is Arenal volcano, with a perfect conical shape.. While the volcano is without a doubt the  main attraction, the area surrounding it has a wide range of excellent adventure activities, as well as hot springs, waterfalls and more. It is a worthwhile destination and a must for any travel itinerary.
 
7. WHITE WATER RAFTING: There are many rivers flowing through Costa Rica. Pacuare is our top choice for rafting, ranked by National Geographic as one of the top 10 for whitewater rafting in the world. It is is a class-III and -IV river takes you along a series of heart-pounding rapids, amid a spectacular natural setting.


You won’t run out of things to do in Costa Rica; you could easily spend a week and not see even half of the attractions. Start planning your second trip! For trip planning services please contact Tour Costa Rica and Pacuare Lodge info@tourcostarica.com | www.tourcostarica.com

Indigenous Inspiration for Contemporary Designs

The Pacuare Lodge works in four areas – Culture, Conservation, Commerce and Community – to benefit local people and nature and ensure an authentic experience for our guests. Weaving these elements together in a truly sustainable manner requires constant research and learning, which includes understanding and appreciating the cultural heritage of our indigenous Cabécar neighbors.

The fruits of such efforts can be found in the Cabécar rancho, or traditional home, that our neighbors built on the Pacuare Lodge’s grounds; in the native details in the interior design of our bungalows; and in our new partnership for the production of handbags using materials that indigenous people have collected in the rainforest since time immemorial.
Marisol Lamas, a Costa Rican painter, photographer and interior designer, has been working with us for over 12 years to develop the Pacuare Lodge’s unique ambiance. She explained that the design of the lodge’s bungalows and suites was inspired by the area’s tropical nature and indigenous culture.
“Our idea was to represent the magnificence of the rainforest by highlighting particular elements that are present in the jungle without competing with its natural beauty. Our vision is a simple, creative interior design that complements the splendor of the surroundings,” she said.  “The Cabécars, our neighbors, belong to Costa Rica’s largest indigenous group and they maintained many of their traditional customs and beliefs.  We have worked with them on an important component of the bungalow’s design.”
Lamas explained that the headboards in the bungalows were hand crafted by Cabécar artisans who live near the lodge using two traditional materials: mastate, which they create by pounding the bark of a type of rainforest tree until it becomes like cloth, and burio, a fiber extracted from the bark of another tree that they use to make baskets, ropes and hammocks. Mastate has religious significant in Cabécar culture. They are just two examples of the varied rainforest plants that the Cabécars harvest for food, shelter, medicine and dress.
At the Pacuare Lodge, we strive to strengthen such traditions while providing our Cabécar neighbors with options for improving their lives. The collection and preparation of these traditional materials provided extra income for members of the local community and strengthed their connection to the Pacuare Lodge. Their contribution also added to the allure of Lamas’ interior design, the vision and creativity of which have been confirmed by the compliments of countless guests.
Our desire to help the Cabécar people preserve their traditions and improve their livelihoods also led us to collaborate with fashion designer Alvaro Nuñez, whose company Autoctono produces handbags, computer cases and other accessories that are “100 percent Costa Rican.”
“Autoctono produces contemporary products while working with indigenous artisans,” Nuñez explained.
He visited the Pacuare Lodge earlier this year to meet with people from a nearby Cabécar community and explore the possibility of creating a new product with traditional Cabécar materials. He subsequently created a prototype of a handbag made of cloth and mastate, which Cabécars living near the lodge will produce and sell to Autoctono.
Nuñez explained that he has been working with the Buruca tribe, in southeast Costa Rica, for several years and is excited to have an opportunity to work with the Cabécar. “The interesting thing is that each of Costa Rica’s indigenous groups has its own materials and techniques,” he observed.
Because he sells his products to high-end markets, Nuñez is able to pay good prices to his indigenous suppliers. He compared his business to fair trade, adding that he is happy to collaborate with the Pacuare Lodge because he and the lodge’s owners share the same values.

“The idea is to help members of rural communities earn additional income,” he said.