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Meet the Tacaco, a Costa Rican Culinary Treasure!

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Have you ever tried the Tacaco? It's a tasty little green fruit, eaten like a vegetable...

The scientific name of this funny little fruit is Sechium tacaco. It is a climbing plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, closely related to the chayote, a type of squash found in many Latin American cuisines.

The Tacaco is truly unique! It is only grown and enjoyed in Costa Rica. If you have ever visited the land of pura vida, you have likely tasted the tacaco in a traditional olla de carne (Costa Rica's beef stew) or in a picadillo (Tico comfort food). From Tilarán in Guanacaste to Coto Brus in the south, the tacaco grows at between an altitude of 500 m -1,800 m.



Preparing Tacaco...


To cook this small green football-shaped vegetable,  you boil them for about 10 minutes, peel off the skin, and cut it half. It contains a small, white pit in the center, but the pit is quite bitter and discarded. The remaining fruit is delicious... and you can eat it in a variety of ways. By itself, some foodies serve it up with mayonnaise or even stuffed with seasoned tuna. 


Some of our up-and-coming Tico chefs are incorporating this yummy ingredient into their modern re-inventions of Latino cuisine. For example, some chefs like Jose Gonzalez (Almercat) incorporates finely sliced Tacaco to bring deliver an inviting crunchy texture to their tart and tasty tuna ceviche. But personally, I just love it in my abuela's Sunday stew.



Back to the roots


More than delicious, tacacos are an excellent source of fiber, folic acid, potassium and vitamin C. But despite all of the nutritional and culinary benefits of this one-of-a-kind ingredient, we still know little about tacaco. Fortunately though, this is changing with our millenials and the younger generation of visitors to Costa Rica who are very interested in buying local, eating local and supporting restaurants that source local.


We are promoting the use of this fruit during the foodie tours as it is an authentic representation of our gastronomy. Chefs love the challenge of becoming creative to use it in new ways and rediscover its flavors mixing it with other ingredients.



Join us for the Costa Rican Farm to Table Foodie Tour to learn more about the Tacaco, but also about the many quirky, distinctive and delicious local fruits and vegetables that are driving forward a new gastronomic boom in trendy neighbourhoods like Escalante. By visiting a cluster of restaurants and meeting their innovative chefs, our foodie tours are a window to the past, the present and the future of Costa Rican gastronomy


If you love to eat, take foodie pics and be ahead of the curve for culinary tourism, this is the tour for you! Follow us on Instagram @Foodietourscr and join us on an adventure focussed on authentic food experiences in San Jose. And don't worry... we can find time for coffee and craft beer experiences too : )


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