On Sunday morning, the week before Easter, people make their way to the Santa María Magdalena church in the Monimbó neighborhood of Masaya to present their sick children or animals to Saint Lazarus and ask for healing during an annual mass in his honor. Dogs of all breeds, sizes and colors are carried/paraded down the streets leading to the church. Inside, benches are removed, the floor is covered in sawdust, and people push their way to the alter for a blessing. Outside there is a constant stream of pet owners – and onlookers toting cameras – flowing up and down the steps to the entrance. It's a riot of color, costume and paparazzi.
Nicaragua may be an economically poor country but it is rich in culture, tradition... and food.
Central America is not really known for its cuisine but that will never be Nicaragua's fault. But then again, Nicaragua, like in so many other ways, is different than the rest.
Nicaraguans find something worth celebrating nearly every day of the year and many of those celebrations are food-centric - Gallina Rellena Navideña is part of the midnight feast on Christmas Eve, Sopa de Rosquillas is served on Fridays during Lent, Nacatamals are handmade bright and early on weekends, and no cumpleaños is complete without a brightly colored frosted cake.
Food is also a source of regional pride (and a topic of endless debate). Güirilas (soft, sweet corn tortillas smothered with ricotta-like cheese and tangy cream) must be savored in the North. Queso Ahumado (smoked cheese) is from Chontales and is simply served with warm tortilla or as a side dish. The best Vigorón (boiled yuca and crispy pork rinds with spicy coleslaw) is found in Granada. Pescado a la Tipitapa (deep fried, crackling Guapote), is crispy on the outside, sweet and meaty on the inside, and blanketed with a fresh, tomato-based sauce bursting with spices.
On our well-crafted food tours of Nicaragua, your palate will explore the distinctive flavors of recipes that are infused with history and tradition, and all that comes from the fertile volcanic soil. Nicaragua is bountiful when it comes to food and good times. Let's dig in and savor.