Monday, May 9, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: Black Gold and a Queen

Municipal market chef with platter of frijoles volteados. Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

On my very first foray into Antigua's municipal market, I met the chef-owner of one of the market cafes. An exuberant, charismatic woman, she introduced me, as a drug dealer might, to a seductive substance called frijoles volteados. I'm embarrassed that I cannot remember her name. And that my photos suck.

But moving on ....

Municipal market chef. Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

Literally, "frijoles volteados" means "flipped [or turned] beans."

The color comes from small black beans.

The texture is like the loamiest, most fertile, most lovingly-worked-over earth. A soil so rich that fruit pushes out from its depths, like a baby being born.

The flavor, too, is earthy, bean-y, with a hint of chocolate.

For my meals, I spread it sparingly on my bread, so as not to consume it too quickly.

My Spanish teacher, that ever-pragmatic, never-romantic woman, told me I could get the same thing in a can at Walmart. That she had done so herself when visiting the US.

"No!" I exclaimed. We must be talking about two different things! It is not possible that this sacred stuff could come in a can, buyable at .... Walmart!

Municipal market chef. Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

I've not yet tried any canned version of the frijoles volteados. Some day.

But here's a recipe.

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