Agritourism Explained and Explored
|Puerto Rico is known for producing top-tier coffee, like these red beans (Kate Chandler)|
The vibrant culture of Puerto Rico is influenced by four centuries of Spanish colonization. Just a day's stroll along the narrow pink stone streets of Old San Juan touring historic structures gives a good impression of the island's Spanish Empire days. However, one of the best ways to experience the colorful culture is through its Latin Caribe-inspired cuisine and spirits.
Coffee, plantains, and rum are king here. And you can find a variety of foods and beverages laced with the flavors of these home-grown island products. Plantains are prepared in multiple ways for every meal including the national dish "mofongo," mashed fried plantains stuffed with pork, steak, or chicken. The best way to wash the entree down is with a Puerto Rican rum beverage. There are plenty of brands and types to choose from, as Puerto Rico claims the title of Rum Capital of the World. In fact, 77 percent of all rum sold in the United States comes from Puerto Rico. For a quick lesson on rum, consider a rum and food tasting dinner with Legends of Puerto Rico.
Touring distilleries and tasting rooms provides a good education on the history, farming of sugar cane, and creation of rum products in Puerto Rico. The family-operated Destileria Serralles offers a tasting room in Old San Juan for travelers to distinguish flavors among the range of their Don Q brand and other rums. Popular with the locals, Destileria Serralles has been around since 1865. Perched on a lush tropical landscaped hill, the family home, known as the Serralles Castle Museum, is open to the public and provides a greater perspective of the family's influence in Puerto Rican rum-making.
The Bacardi Corporation has by far the largest tourist facility on the island, with a 100-acre manufacturing plant that includes a visitor center. Plan to spend a few hours as you can enjoy free drinks in the open-air pavilion before beginning the tram tour into the factory where a history of sugar cane, rum-making, the Bacardi family history, and production processes are covered thoroughly by a Bacardi guide. And it's free.
DO: Seek out a smaller production distillery as they are making a splash with artisanal rums, such as Destileria Coqui, which makes island fruit-infused rums with tamarind, passion fruit, and guava to name a few. Attend the International Food & Rum Festival for a global perspective.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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