This past weekend, we traveled north to Los Robles, a tiny town on the outskirts of Jinotega. Jinotega rests in a small valley, encircled by mountains of cloud forests. Because of its altitude, the climate is vastly different than San Juan del Sur and the south of the country, providing cool nights and temperatures hovering between 18-22 degrees. Thanks to a wetter climate, the region stays green year-round.
Friends of ours were nice enough to invite us to stay on their organic coffee farm, Finca El Peten, which sits on the shores of Lago Apanas, Nicaragua’s first artificially created lake. The Apanas Lake is the most important provider of hydroelectric power in Nicaragua.
The farm produces organic sustainable shade grown estate coffee, which essentially means that they have large shade trees of many varieties at the highest canopy level and banana trees at a lower level. This not only maintains the biodiversity of the forest but also the habitat of the birds and animals.
After a semi-trecherous, dark drive along the Guayacan, the newly constructed highway out to Jinotega, we arrived just in time for a dinner of ribs, and a serenade from some local musicians who work on the farm. Combined with a few nica-libres, we all fell into a happy stupor of rum, carne, and song. As the night progressed, one by one, people excused themselves to their rooms in the rustic hotel for a deep sleep in the cool mountain air.
We awoke in the morning to a hearty breakfast of french toast, gallo pinto, and of course, coffee. While we ate, El Jefe, the father of many of the guests, set about stewing up a soup on the outdoor fire. For over 4 hours, the soup simmered slowly as he added various ingredients to the cauldron, including beef, plantains, cabbage, squash, and noodles. Like kids at a summer camp being summoned to the mess hall, El Jefe called us all to almuerzo (lunch) in the giant family-style kitchen just after 1 in the afternoon. Combined with a side of rice and a slice of avocado, everyone devoured the delicious sopa and promptly disappeared for mid-afternoon naps.
sweet tortillas made from young corn, and a bit of cuajada (fresh white cheese known to the northern regions of the country).