Milky-Chocolaty Alco Dessert drink
I'm not too sure how traditional or typically Panamanian this recipe is, but it is very popular with the expat community in Bocas del Toro on Panama's Caribbean coast.
(this is a very quick and simple recipe)
1 cup (approx) of chopped or ground local cacao
1 bottle Seco (a popular sugar cane alcohol here in Bocas del Toro)
2 tins condensed milk
Soak the cacao in the Seco for about two weeks
Filter the mixture (keep the dried chocolate for baking or to use in smoothies.)
Mix the chocolaty Seco 50/50 with condensed milk
Put the resulting mix in freezer or fridge
Drink direct from the freezer over ice, or to add an extra zing to a black coffee use the bottle from the fridge instead of milk or cream. What a kick-start to your day.
Drink responsibly, although it is hard to do so with this stuff, as it is so tasty!!
Let me know what you think if you do try this.
Hi there. My name is Ian and I live in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast of Panama.
I'm going to show you today - I don't know really whether it's a traditional Panamanian desert - but it's an alcohol dessert drink that we make quite a lot here in Bocas del Toro and use quite often as an after-dinner drink.
Now, it's made with cacao, which is the raw material from which chocolate is made and this is a lump of raw cacao that I've bought from one of the locals here - she has a lot of cacao trees on her farm. She made me a big block of cacao, which cost me $20 (US$).
I've taken half of that and taken about a third of that half, so probably a sixth of my $20 block to make this dessert. What I've done with that piece of cacao there is taken a bottle of Seco, which is an alcohol made from sugar cane. It’s very common down here in Bocas del Toro.
This one cost me, from the local supermarket, $5.55 for a 750 ml. bottle. It comes in bigger sizes, too. This is a litre - I think it cost me $6.95 or so. I'm actually going to use, this is another 3/4 of a litter bottle. It's a plastic bottle and this one is really good, because it has a wider neck to put the drink back in.
So, a couple of weeks ago I took the bottle of Seco and the chunk of cacao and then simply chopped up the cacao into small pieces and put it in the tub and soaked it in the alcohol. I put the cacao in there, pour the alcohol over it and just left it for 2 weeks.
What we're now going to do is… we've got a real… that smells absolutely delightful… real chocolaty alcohol there. And I've got a piece of material. This is just actually mosquito mesh that I use on the windows here. It pretty works as a great filter for this stuff.
So I have a little bowl, just with some holes in the bottom and we're just going to filter it. The filtering through takes a bit of a time, so we'll leave that draining. This is one half of our mixture that we're going to make. Second ingredient, this is some condensed milk - $2.50 from the same super store.
Now, this is a lot easier to handle if it's warm - if the tin hasn't been in the fridge - because once it gets cold it gets much harder to pour. And the trick is to get this stuff into the bottle without getting it on over sides of the bottle. I'll do a very quick example, I try to drain this completely but part of the fun of making this drink is scraping out the tin afterwards.
So, let's see how our mix is going here. You can squeeze this out and it goes a lot quicker and at the end what you have, it's not quite yet there, but you have a very dry mixture of alcohol chocolate. And you can use this for all sorts of things. You can put it in chocolate-banana milk shakes or smoothies. You can use it for any other sort of drink or use it to make bread or cakes or whatever - there's a lot of uses for that.
What we're looking for is about a 50/50 mix - I need as much of chocolate Seco as I've got of condensed milk. We have about a 50/50 mix and we just want to mix that up, get it nice and mixed up into a nice chocolaty, milky-chocolaty drink.
And that's it. We're pretty muck done. I'll make two bottles of this today. I've got enough chocolate mix and a second tin of milk to make a second bottle of it, so two bottles. And what I'll do is, I'll put one in the freezer and have that for drinking. It's really, really nice when it comes icy-cold out of the freezer. The other bottle I just keep in the fridge and that makes an excellent addition to a cup of a black coffee. If you get your black coffee and just put this in instead of milk it gives you a really good cup of coffee with a bit of an extra kick.
And that's it, it's sort of dessert drink for after dinner or add it to your coffee in the morning to give yourself a bit of a kick-start in the morning. It's a thick mix, pretty much like a very chocolaty Baileys.
I'll just give it a try. Ah, that is marvelous, mmm, very tasty indeed, but it will be a lot better when it's in the fridge or in the freezer for a couple of hours and gets icy-icy cold.
I have no idea what it's called, Milky-Chocolate Alcohol? I don't know, call it what you like but it's absolutely fantastic, and it's something that a lot of the expats down here in Bocas del Toro enjoy very much.
Give it a try, I hope you like it. Thank you.
The most typical Panamanian desserts are: sopa borracha, which is THE dessert for weddings, and sopa de gloria, as well. Also on desserts, are "bocado del rey" and "bocado de la reina", which varies in taste and toppings. These are very exquisite. As other contributors has mentioned, flan, tres leches, arroz con leche, volteado de piña, vente conmigo, tira-mizón are also very popular, and you can get them at any restaurant.
In addition, you can also get all kinds of fresh seasonal fruits salads and fruit shakes, with or without ice-cream or organic yogurts that make delicious and nutritional desserts, in a unique Panamanian style.
A Desperado for Raspado, Panamanian or Tucsonan
Shave Ice with Ice Pops
The shave ice trucks ply the body surfing beaches in Hawaii, and there is always a line. They serve the shaved ice in paper cones that always seem to leak out of the bottom. I recommend eating a drippy shave ice in a bathing suit; it is quite practical, you can just wash up by splashing in the pool later. I only order rainbow-style shave ice with stripes of my favorite flavors. I don’t care that I am basically eating sugar water with artificial flavoring and food coloring. I grew up on Kool-Aid and Hawaiian punch, and I am not the worse for wear. Far from it, I was quite happy, as Kui Lee (an old school Hawaiian singer-musician) once sang, “in the beautiful days of my youth.”
Shave Ice with Adzuki Beans (sweetened red bean paste)
“That’s not mine. You touched it with your hand,” he accused me. “Give me another.”
Later, I asked my husband if it were really necessary to have this fastidious family over to the house again.
You’ll need a spoon to get to the mashed beans. I use plastic spoons that I save from a frozen yogurt place. On the tape, I was babbling about not wanting kids to “break and crack ice.” What I meant to say was that you don’t want kids running around the pool area with breakable glass. Then again, if you have a mechanical shave ice machine, put the kids to work. As a youngster, that was my job, to turn the handle of the shave ice machine. It tastes better when you sweat for your shave ice.
Along with the sweet coldness of the shave ice, you’ll enjoy the adzuki beans for their rich texture. Shave ice with adzuki beans may be too much of a mind bender for some, but if you are in the Japanese food aisle, I recommend you bring it home and try it. It is not only delicious and substantial tasting, it is nutritious, too. I never mix the shaved ice with the adzuki. It is so exciting to know it is waiting for me at the bottom of the cup; it’s like the tootsie roll in the center of a tootsie pop. And it is worth waiting for the big payoff.
Shave Ice “Special”
For me, I love ice. Every night I share a beer with my husband, and he pours mine over ice. So this may look like a cocktail, but it really is an adult snow cone.
I served mine in a margarita glass made of plastic. I love plastic cups. They are light; you can tote them around and not worry if you trip over a dog and break your drinkware, and because you have fewer worries, you can drink in peace and serenity.
Pina Colada or Chi-Chi Shave Ice
That little Skyy vodka bottle is my traveling flask. I first brought it for us to contemplate the Russian River over a cranberry and vodka Cape Codder in our B&B. Why buy abroad when you can bring from home? In my traveling kit to Panama, I took along a cutting board and knife with a sheaf, so I could feed my husband those “unpronounceable fruits” from the open air market in El Valle, when we got back to Ivan Marquez’s Manglar Lodge. I think I learned these skills from the Girl Scouts, because traveling for me is similar to camping. And just like our brethren, the Boy Scouts, we Girl Scout also remember to “Be prepared.”
Arizona-Style Shave Ice or Raspado
Because I never got to taste the traditional Panamanian dessert, I am assuming that Chris Frochaux ‘s recipe (whose knowledge about Panama seems to be encyclopedic) was accurate and typical. Accordingly, a Panamanian raspado is shave ice enlivened with flavored syrup and made creamy with sweetened condensed milk as a final flourish. That sounds like a perfectly wonderful treat to eat while walking around a plaza during Carnival. If you loved Chris’s version, you’ll love mine, too, Arizona style.
Clear the decks; this is the best way to eat shave ice in the western world. The best way in the eastern world is Filipino halo-halo (a topic for another conversation). Shave ice with fruit syrup is good. Shave ice with fruit syrup and real fruit is great. Shave ice with fruit syrup, real fruit and sweetened condensed milk is inspired. But shave ice with fruit syrup, real fruit, sweetened condensed milk and ice cream, proves that God loves us. So go to church and thank Him.
There was a nice guy, a street vendor that my husband met in Casco Viejo. On our last day, my husband bought an inexpensive ring from him, for me, just because he wanted to support that man’s business endeavors. I think, if that man set himself up with a raspado cart, just as I described, he’d be making money hand over fist, enough to move next door to the presidential palace. If you see him, give him this idea and bankroll him. Think of it as a cultural exchange. And save a little for the cats of Casco.
Shave ice Vietnamese- style
The last entry was because I was thinking about the coffee of Boquete, and how this should be a typical Panamanian desert or merienda. I can just imagine all those hip retirees after their yoga class stopping in for the Boquete coffee raspado before dashing off to happy hour.
My husband doesn’t like hot coffee in the morning, or really even drink coffee at all. But he does like it when I occasionally serve him cold coffee drinks in the afternoon, when he needs a little pick-me-up. This coffee raspado is also laden with fewer calories, and it’s less likely to make him want to dash off to the gym to work off his love handles, which he is doing right now, and I only offered to make him a raspado!
Hope you enjoy my riff on Panamanian desserts, shave ice and raspados. It will be 103 F around here tomorrow, and my raspado will be considered a preventative measure to battle the heat. So keep cool out there in the Best Places In The World To Retire!
Typical Panamanian desserts are not exclusively Panamanian. Restaurant staples are "flan casero" (homemade custard) which is of French origin, or "tres leches" (called cuatro leches when it's topped with caramel), a delicious dessert originally from Nicaragua, or some variation of cheesecake. There is however a special dessert, which is traditionally served in Panama to celebrate a baby's first tooth: ARROZ CON LECHE, a delicious rice pudding. It's easy to prepare, at least according to Rita, my Panamanian wife. This is how she prepares it:
Serve the Arroz con Leche in small individual cups, sprinkle a little cinnamon powder, and refrigerate. Buen provecho! (Bon appétit!).
My favorite typical Panamanian dessert is DULCE DE PIÑA (pineapple pie). You are not likely to find the recipe over the Internet, as it varies according to family traditions, but here's some insider information. Depending on your location, it might be difficult to get your hands on the ingredients, since nothing is processed and everything is fresh (get used to it!). Please note that in Panama it's easy to find a fresh pineapple, just the right golden color, and also a real coconut (punch a hole, drink the coconut water, put it in a plastic bag and smash it on a concrete floor).
My truly favorite typical Panamanian dessert is called PLÁTANOS EN TENTACIÓN and the funny thing is that for most Panamanians it's technically not a dessert. They have a point since it's not enjoyed after a meal, but during the meal and it goes fantastically well with white rice for example, but for me it always will be a dessert and I always look forward to it. I'm at a loss to provide a competent translation... but you might translate it as "Tempting Sweet Plantains Dish". I'm a Realtor, not a chef, but my friends keep asking me for the family recipes, so here it is...
In a Panamanian grocery or supermarket, it's very easy to find plátanos... they look like bananas on steroids. You can pick them green (which you could slice and deep fry, and would be called "tostones" or "patacones" - a "patacón" being the equivalent of a silver dollar). You could select them when they look their best, like a huge yellow banana (you could cut them into longitudinal slices and sauté them in a pan with a little butter), but for this recipe you need to select plantains when they look their ugliest: overripe and turning black ("plátanos maduros").
One of the most traditional Panamanian desserts is RASPADO, which you actually pronounce RASPA'O (try saying "RASS" like in grass and "POW"). Following the extensive research of Jet Metier, who's an authority on the subject, there's not much that I could possibly add... Some would say a raspado is basically a snow cone, so all you need is to pour a sugary concoction over shaved ice (or real snow, preferably white). However, they would miss the point... The raspado is not something Panamanians prepare at home, it's a treat usually enjoyed on a busy street corner.
You can find snow cones in many parts of the world, so it's not exclusive to Panama. However, what is typically Panamanian is the witty raspado street vendor and his colorful "carretilla" or handmade pushcart; so colorful indeed that last year some of the most renowned Panamanian artists gathered on the lovely Plaza de Francia, in front of the French Consulate in Casco Viejo, to apply paint to several dozens of wooden carts - with spectacular results! Some of those artists routinely charge several thousands of dollars for a painting, but they joyfully worked for free, to the delight of the vendors and the gathering of onlookers. Street vendors carry a block of ice and shave it vigorously directly into a paper cone, which they douse with red sugarcane syrup. I usually skip the final touch consisting in a generous sprinkling of condensed milk.
Just the other day, while enjoying a raspado, in front of a local bank, I witnessed a conversation between the vendor and a customer soliciting a five-dollar loan. The customer, who turned out to be a cousin, wanted to know why exactly he could not get the loan, which he promised to return the next day. The raspado seller motioned towards the bank and insisted that was out of the question - because he had a business agreement with the banker. Pressed for an explanation, he added, "as long as I don't make loans, he won't sell raspados!"
Panamanians have a sweet tooth! try their cocaditas, which is coconut balls put together with raspadura or miel me sabe. That will give you a sugar boost!
But if you want to connect with Panama`s earth, then go to the interior and ask for fruits from the area. Papaya, mango, sandia and bananas are all well, but what about jobo (small, yellow fruit) or nance ( there is mesada de nance and chicha de nance (juice version). Be careful with nance, it is quite powerful! While you know cajou nut, have you tried the fruit ? it is called marañon and it is delicious. Some make marmalade out of it. Another fruit that is part of everyone`s childhood is "mamón". Watch out for the nut inside! don´t bite, just suck at it. That`s the real treat of Panama, explore, taste, enjoy!
Arroz con Leche
Rice pudding in other words - rice cooked in milk and lots of cinnamon added.
Pineapples and watermelons are wonderful in Panama, these chopped into small pieces, maybe with some mango or other fruits. Served cool from the fridge.
"Bienmesabe" which could be translated into "it tastes good to me" is a traditional dessert dish in Panama, most common in Chiriqui. The main ingredients are milk, grated sugar cane and flour. They are mixed together and cooked for about 4 hours, then cut in pieces and wrapped in plantain leaves. It is traditionally eaten together with white cheese.
Panamanians love deserts.
Here in Panama you will find different kinds of cake stores with exquisite desserts.
But if you want to know the typical desserts, I will, say that "voletado de piña" (pineapple upside down) is super. Also "pesada de nance" is a dessert make with nance (a fruit) is really good. I’m a fanatic of desserts and here in Panama you will find typical and international ones.
Take a look of this picture of "pesada de nance".
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