Breakfast in Antigua

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Antigua is an artsy town. It feels cultured and intellectual, as if each piece of cobblestone was lain down based with an artist’s eye. It is the type of place that begs for long, thoughtful meals– staring out at the surrounding volcanos and the tips of church steeples in the background. Morning sun spreads a wide pattern of shadows and postcard moments here, so it was only appropriate that we ate breakfast twice one day: once on the rooftop of our hostel and second time at the macadamia nut farm outside of town.

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We almost missed a trip out to this little macadamia farm on the outskirts of Antigua. Thankfully, the culture of hostels leads to near constant conversation about travel: what to see, where to go… We went from uninformed to informed in a single morning. Before we finished our meal of fresh cheese, pureed black beans, and fried plantains, we were planning our next feast: macadamia nut pancakes from the local farm.

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The farm was a short bus ride outside of town. The little shops and cobbled sidewalks faded gracefully as a countryside of flowing hills and little bridges came into view. We were toured through the farm by one of the local workers, who proudly spent a significant amount of time explaining to us how the orchard has promoted good living in the region.

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We learned that the Macadamia trees, while not native, provide a source of sustainable farming for the region. The trees can produce fruit for well over 100 years, extinguishing the need for slash burning or other clearing processes. The wood harvested from trimming is significant, and is a hard, sturdy wood usable for such things as furniture (for the larger branches) and slow burning firewood for the smaller ones. The high market value and high demand for macadamia products allows the more compassionate farms to provide livable wages to workers.

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And macadamias are delicious. We can prove this by showing the following picture:

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Our second breakfast. A plate of macadamia nut pancakes (mixed from macadamia nut flour) with macadamia butter and blueberry preserves. Delicious. Crisp and light yet dense with sweetness and a texture nearing on butter– we won’t soon forget how good they were. We’ll now be on a mission to figure out how to recreate these at home. The macadamia, despite it’s popularity, just might be underrated.

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