Friday, October 25th, 2019.

In this Daily: Desayuno Típico, the Costa Rican Breakfast

Desayuno típico is the typical Costa Rican breakfast, a simple, healthy meal that can be found in sodas and homes around the country. Much like the casado there are regional variations on a desayuno típico, but the staples of the meal are gallo pinto, fruit, fried plantains, eggs any style, and usually a grain like bread or corn tortilla with a spread like natilla.

Desayuno Tipico, Tico breakfast, Costa Rican breakfast A spread of desayuno típico, credit to Robin Subar Photography

Add in a cup of local coffee prepared traditional style, and frescos from fruit picked around the home, and you have a meal that forms a staple of the Costa Rican diet

The Origins of Desayuno Típico

The ingredients of a desayuno típico are comprised of ingredients that were historically available throughout the country, could be found fresh in many regions, and were affordable and easy to store, which made the meal accessible to everyone. These factors are still true to this day, and desayuno típico remains a meal that all Costa Ricans can enjoy. 

Another reason the desayuno típico has become a staple of the national diet is its nutritional balance. The breakfast has a balance of carbohydrates from rice and grains, lean proteins from eggs and beans, complex sugars and vitamins from fruit, calcium from bread or natilla, and the burst of caffeine from a cup of coffee. As a result, a desayuno típico offers energy immediately, as well in the short, medium, and long term, which gives the body the nutrients it needs to thrive day after day. Fresh fruits also provide a natural variation to each breakfast, which help keep desayuno típico interesting and satisfying day after day.

Desayuno Tipico, Tico breakfast, Costa Rican breakfast A selection of fresh fruit, avocado, and plantains as part of a desayuno típico, Robin Subar Photography

Chef Gilberto’s Desayuno Típico

Each family has their own slightly different preparation of a desayuno típico. Sometimes this comes in the form of adding some favorite spices or a little bit of meat to the gallo pinto, or mixing up the preparation of the eggs. In other cases it might be changing the grains and spreads from tortilla and natilla (a sour cream-like spread), introducing a sauce, or adding  seasonal fruit from local farmers’ markets or home gardens. 

Chef Gilberto shared his family’s version of a desayuno típico:

  • One pot of gallo pinto with onion, red pepper, and cilantro. Should be enough that everyone can have seconds and thirds. Maybe fourths.
  • A big plate of scrambled eggs made with butter and a pinch of salt. According to Gilberto, scrambled are best because you can pile them up on bread and wrap them in tortillas easiest.
  • A loaf or two of fresh baked bread with butter and jams from the Friday farmer’s markets (depending on how many people are eating). Gilberto’s mother loves good, fresh-baked french-style breads. She uses them to serve gallo pinto-avocado-and-egg sandwiches, or spread with butter and jam for a sweet, tart, and fruity treat.
  • One bottle of salsa Lizano, to add to the gallo pinto or spread on the eggs. According to Gilberto, it’s not a desayuno típico in his house unless there’s Lizano. 
  • Fried ripe plantains, sometimes with a little bit of cheese on top or a few extra spices like cajún or paprika. 
  • A bowl of fruit from the market down the road. Usually papaya, banana, with a seasonal fruit like a mamón chino from the stand on the corner.
  • Frescos made from the fruit trees in the yard. Cas, soursop, or lime are all easily blended up or squeezed, with a little bit of sugar but nothing else added.
  • Serve each dish on a big family table to pass around, and pass around to dig in.

Desayuno Tipico, Tico breakfast, Costa Rican breakfast Desayuno típico in Casa Azul, Robin Subar Photography

Where to Get it In Town

Staying in homes the Baranda and Bon Vivant collections, your house mom can prepare her family version of a desayuno típico for breakfast in the morning. The key ingredients -- rice, beans, plantains, breads and grains, sauces, and fruits -- are all available from Copper and Stone, and you can ask her about any special ingredients that she likes to add. 

House moms are always happy to share a taste of their hometown flavors, and sharing a breakfast with them is one of the many ways to settle into life in Guanacaste when you’re in town. 

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Try it when you're in town