Dinner on the 3rd night at Casiquiare. Various cachapas and fresh nata (a fresh cream cheese).
Outside the restaurant for the culinary school with Candi (one of the instructors) who gave a great farewell party on the last night at her home.
It seems that no matter when or where you order a beer in Venezuela, the temperature is a perfect icy cold. I've never seen beer slowly exude such a beautiful head of foam. They have a Spanish phrase to describe the acceptable level of frost on the bottle which translates into 'the veil of the bride.' That's true poetry.
Up and coming Venezuelan chef. He organized the dinner on our 2nd night there... excellente.
The 2nd course of Adrian's dinner... shrimp with cilantro jelly and yuca chips.
Large barrels of aging rum at the Santa Theresa Rum plantation.
The cane fields at the Santa Theresa rum plantation with an incredible backdrop of mountains. The plantation farms their own sugar cane, processes the sugars, ferments, distills, and ages their rum in one location.
Chef Edgar Leal organized our first stop on the way to Valencia at the Santa Theresa rum plantation. We enjoyed light food while sipping 25 year old rum overlooking the sugar cane fields. An incredible multi-sensory experience.
Another great person we had the pleasure of meeting, Adolfo is a book publisher in Venezuela. He and his daughter, Alejandra, showed us nothing but kindness the entire visit.
Outside the airport in Caracas.
My first experience ever with fresh cacao. The beans are covered with soft sweet pulp while the purple starchy interior has a nice bitterness.
Angel is the husband of Candi from the culinary school. He was always enjoying the moment, and had the greatest appreciation of simply living life to the fullest.
At Angel and Candi's home for the farewell party. We had whole pig cooked in a caja china and so much more. I regret that I was simply too full at this point to even taste another bite of food, although it was all incredible.
Another great moment... we walked up to the party and the gentleman slicing the pork handed me a nice chunk of crispy pork skin with the fat dripping off.
A street vendor grilling on the roadside in Valencia.
A typical taberna in Valencia.
Selecting avocados for our 2nd presentation at the mercado.
A girl behind one of the stands in the mercado.
Stacks of cassava flatbread for sale. The casabe is very common in Venezuela and is made by boiling then pressing the yuca before baking.
A vendors humor towards Chavez with dolls in his image dressed up in American military uniform. The doll on the right is labelled La Reina (the queen) and the doll on the right is labelled Mister USA.
The view inside the market.
Most of the meats in the mercado just hang out... probably why you cannot get a steak cooked less than well done anywhere... and why you wouldn't want to.
Blood sausages and intestines.
Seafood for sale.
Some of this stuff looked interesting. Other things looked risky to eat.
Not sure what kind of meat this is... but it's just hanging out like everything else.
Chef K picking out a few aji dulces for our 2nd presentation.
A goat hanging in the mercado.
Fruits, vegetables, eggs.
The little chickens are probably destined to become arepa filling. Cute, but delicioso.
The poultry cages outside the mercado... various chickens, pheasant, duck, pigeons.
Tellita cheese is a queso fresco. The flavor of this particular one was one of the high points of my visit. It was fresh and had not been refrigerated yet. We bought some to utilize in our 2nd presentation along with some of the catalinas (sweet corn cakes with a slight gingerbread flavor).
The garlic in Venezuela is smaller than the typical variety found in the US... and much much more intense in flavor. It is used to make a common condiment simply known as salsa ajo.
Carmen Garrobo, Alejandro, and Chef K. Alejandro organized this trip to the market for us. His generosity was more than we could have ever expected from anyone. He is actually a lawyer in Venezuela, but decided to study culinary arts because of his passion for food.
Chicha should only be bought from street vendors for maximum enjoyment. These guys took the sweet cinnamon rice beverage to perfection by stirring each scoop vigorously and skimming the airy froth from the top. Canela and condensed milk are then added.
This is a very popular restaurant... sort of a churrasco style place. Although it would be completely illegal in the US, we ate the entire meal family style on wooden cutting boards (still greasy from all the pork and beef fat soaked within from previous dinners)... another example of a perfect multi-sensory experience. You gotta live.
Chef Edgar Leal from Cacao Restaurant in Miami with his younger sister, Ruth, who lives in Valencia.
My first experience with fresh cacao. Thanks to Chef Luis Acosta for allowing me the opportunity to check it out.
Chef Acosta did his demo on chocolate pastry... incorporating fresh cacao into a puff dough.
A popular Venezuelan drink, tres en unas. It's made from the juices of orange, carrot, and beet. Supposedly a hang-over cure, but I'll take a fatty pork filled arepa instead.
Corn arepas stuffed with braised beef for Sunday morning breakfast on the street.
Pork filled arepa... same market.
Carmen is very well known in Spain as an authority on wines. She did presentations on vino and also did a water tasting. Her passion and knowledge are incredible.
From our 2nd night dinner... the pork was served with potatoes and guasacaca, a Venezuelan type guacamole.
Adrian's version of cachapa... taken to modern levels.
We're not sure exactly what the apio is except that it's probably a type of celery root. The culinary school team made a very nice soup of it served in tubes topped with casabe.
Some of the guys we had the pleasure of meeting. Ricky (on the left) and Adrian (second from right) were always helpful with whatever we needed for our presentations.
Daughter and Mother. These 2 are most responsible for the total organization of this culinary congress. Mrs. Ellie Nora (on the right) was an amazing woman... completely driven. She constantly juggled many things at once to make the event a success, and invited us back next year. I can't wait.
A study on Spanish wines by Carmen Garrobo.