Saturday, August 24, 2013
Remember the young Chilango who stopped me to ask where the Starbucks was located in Melaque? (starbucks no aqui)
It appears I indulged in a bit of Soviet disinformation when I told him we did not have one. We do. And I should have remembered it.
For the past few months, a local farmer has set himself up as a barista (or should that be "baca-ista")* on the highway at the Barra de Navidad junction. There is no mermaid with fins akimbo. But the fauna is every bit as exotic.
At first, I thought he and his wife were simply selling milk on the hoof. He always has a cow and her calf tied to his trailer. As well as either a steer or a bull. (I did not notice the defining distinction.)
I was half right. He is selling fresh milk. But in the form of a "coffee" drink. The perfect way for a driver to get a little jolt on the morning commute.
The drink is called parajete -- or palomo -- or chereka. Just like at your local Starbucks. Drinks with the same ingredients, but more names than Elizabeth Taylor.
As Kurt Vonnegut would say: And this is how you make one.
Spoon a large measure of crushed chocolate in a glass. Add a good measure of either sugar -- or honey. And, as a customer told me, just "a touch of alcohol." To my eye, it looked like two shots worth of pure sugar cane alcohol -- the type of fuel that could power a Saturn rocket.
I almost forgot. You add just a pinch of Nescafé. I suspect that ingredient is to give plausible deniability to drivers stopped by the police. "Really, officer, I only had three coffees."
Then comes the true art of the cowpuccino.
After swirling the ingredients in the glass, the baca-ista places the glass under the cow and squeezes out enough milk to top off the glass. Giving steamed milk a whole new meaning.
And, just like Starbucks, the drink comes in various sizes. Priced at 10/20/25/25 pesos. Or 75 cents (US) to $1.90. Try walking out of your local Starbucks after slapping down three Washington rounds.
OK. I know you are waiting to hear how it tasted. After all, Omnivorous Steve, who has downed grasshoppers and ant eggs certainly is not squeamish about a bit of unpasteurized milk.
I'm not. But I am not an alcohol consumer. So, I passed.
I will leave it up to one of you to report on the virtues of parajete.
* -- Three readers have emailed me to ask if I am aware that vaca -- the Spanish word for "cow" -- is spelled with a "v" (but pronounced as a "b"). I am. "Baca" simply works better as a visual pun. There are times where punnery trumps purity. This is one.