Modern Tropical Delights: Culinary Travel in Costa Rica

Posted on: February 25th, 2014 by Sugar
Chef Gilad Chudler

Chef Gilad Chudler

Food has always been an important ingredient in the sensual experience of travel. Whether it’s a hot fresh beignet bought on a brick street in New Orleans, or a dish of Tonkatsu you’ve waited on line for in Tokyo, what you eat on a trip can leave an indelible memory. And not just for foodies. Science has shown that taste and smell are the senses that have the strongest connection to memory. The smell of your grandmother’s perfume might immediately recall a Sunday afternoon when you were nine, and decades after a trip to London, one bite of shahi paneer can send you right back to that foggy Soho street.

Culinary travel acknowledges this sensual relationship and takes it further, allowing the traveler to understand a unique culture through food.

Sugar Beach recently played host to Modern Tropical Delights, an immersive cooking event with Chef Gilad Chudler. Chudler is the founder of Plátano Verde, a company that offers cooking classes and culinary tours of Costa Rica. Based out of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Plátano Verde has access to some of the best local produce and artisan food purveyors in the country. In addition to the finest produce, Chudler uses only sustainably raised fish and meats.

On Sunday, February 15, 11 students met Chudler at the Beach House, a five bedroom villa tucked away at the southern end of our cove, with a full kitchen and a stunning view of the sunset. As the sun dropped into the Pacific, the class prepared a four course meal made with traditional ingredients and given a modern spin. All of the students were hands-on, making the dishes themselves, with guidance from Chudler. The result was a culinary triumph, one enjoyed by students and teacher under the stars, just steps away from the rolling surf.

Lettuce and basil salad

Lettuce and basil salad

Hands on

Hands on

We wish we could give you a taste, but you’ll have to settle for a description of the meal – a Costa Rican delight indeed.

  • Drunken Mango Ceviche Shots with Avocado Slices and Toasted Tortilla Strips (The “drunken” was improvised with jiggers of rum.)
  • Lettuce and Basil Salad with Seared Pineapple, Toasted Macadamia, Avocado, Red Wine Pickled Red Onions
  • Slow Roasted Coffee Rubbed Pork Rib, Crispy Spice Dusted Yucca and Chayote Picadillo
  • Papaya, Banana, Ginger, Passionfruit and Lime Salad with Warm Rum Sabayon

Sugar Beach will be hosting more of these events – please contact info@sugar-beach.com to find out how you can attend. And be sure to watch this blog for details about Surf n’ Turf Culinary Week, an extended course with Chef Chudler coming this November.

The Beach House

The Beach House