La Tortilla Cooking School | Granada | Nicaragua

Nicaragua was the perfect spring break getaway from a busy year. We spent one evening at La Tortilla Cooking School. The fresh ingredients and expertise of a local chef made for a delightful evening! While the class was conducted in Spanish, English translation was provided. Should you find yourself in the charming town of Granada (or in Antigua, Guatemala), definitely look them up.

Through the course of the evening, we learned how to make:

-fresco de gramma, a traditional drink made from hay but surprisingly tasty

- indio viejo, a traditional party dish topped with sofrito de tomate and accompanied by fresh tortillas and rice (side note: after living abroad, I am still fascinated at how each culture takes rice, such a basic ingredient, and turns it into something completely different!)

- buñelos, an interesting dessert made by combining yucca, salty cheese, and spices.

The finished products:

Ouro Preto | Minas Gerais | Brazil

This time last year, Felipe and I were getting ready to say farewell to Brazil. But before we left, there was one festival that we knew we wouldn't have the chance to see again: Easter in Ouro Preto. Aside from being a well-preserved architectural gem, Ouro Preto is a historical hub for the mining roots of the Minas Gerais region. The rolling cobblestone hills topped with church spires are a sight to behold.

But for Easter, this charming town pulls out all of the stops. We arose early in the morning to hit the streets to see the tapetes de serragem, or sawdust carpets, that fill the streets Easter morning.

Some religious designs, some not, these colorful patterns fill the streets to mark the route of the Procissão da Ressurreição or Resurrection Procession. Following the throngs of locals and tourists, we took in the beauty of these temporary works of art on our way to the starting church.

Every year, the main churches in the city trade off being host to the starting position of the procession and dress up as different Biblical characters to illustrate different stories. When we arrived at the church, the participants were were preparing for the walk.