In Costa Rica, Easter Holy Week isn’t complete without the chiverre (Cucurbita ficifolia), a type of local squash that is eaten during Semana Santa.
Chiverres are traditionally harvested a few weeks before Semana Santa so that Ticos can make sweet preserves or jam in time for the holidays. The recipe includes tapa de dulce (a traditional unrefined sugar), cinnamon and cloves. Chiverres also are used to make empanadas, or are spread on ice cream or cookies.
Feria del Chiverre
Since 2003, the village of Laguna de Zarcero, in Alajuela province northwest of San José, has paid tribute to the chiverre with an annual festival. Zarcero’s soil and climate have helped the area become the biggest producer of chiverres in the country. This year, the fair was held March 23-25.
Hundreds of families attended the event, which also featured cotton candy, churros (a delicious fried-dough pastry) and other sweets, and a cattle exhibition.
The fair is organized each year by the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Laguna de Álfaro Ruíz.