Costa Rica always has nice surprises for us.
A Tica just arrived at our gate, carrying a bucket and the contents covered with a dish towel. She removed the towel and revealed her treasures - tamales that she made herself and was selling for just one mil (1,000 colones).
Costa Rican tamales differ from the Mexican tamales, which are small and wrapped in corn husks. Tamales here are the perfect size for a light dinner and are wrapped in banana leaves. They are labor intensive to make, taking up to two days, and are usually made at Christmas.
They are wrapped with string in a pair, called a piña, and boiled for about an hour to cook. I can reheat them by boiling for a short while. We will appreciate the labor of love by our Tica lady as we enjoy our tamales with a cup of coffee.