Day 6: Sweet Pineapples at Collin Street Bakery
The word "bakery" sealed the deal for me. In a country filled with panaderias, all producing delicious scents of baking bread, cakes and cookies, the processed baguettes and dry cake have always been a disappointment (with the exception of tres leches, an addictively sweet dessert). I craved a moist cake; one with thick icing made from real butter and sugar, and figured Collin Street Bakery would deliver the goods.
I wasn't quite sure of their connection with pineapples. I had, after all, signed up for their pineapple tour. But I was game for anything, as long as it involved some sort of delicious baked good.
As you approach Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, you can't help but notice the rambling fields of pineapple plants. The San Carlos plains, which extend from La Virgen de Sarapiqui to the town of Pital, provide the ideal climate and rainfall levels for pineapple production. Spurred by the increasing interest in educational and ecotourism, Collin Street Bakery of Corsicana, Texas, built a tourist facility in 2005 to welcome visitors to their pineapple farm in Costa Rica.
The 3,000-acre farm was founded in 1991 to ensure the highest quality pineapple and papaya for the bakery's famous fruit cake and other specialty items. Finca Corsicana features an outdoor restaurant and tourist center, and a tour of the entire pineapple harvesting process, from start to finish.
Along with 25 other visitors, I learned how pineapples came to be the fruit of kings, and how cultivating techniques evolved over time. Pulled by a customized tractor that evoked hayride memories, we motored through parts of the farm as we sampled fresh organic pineapple and watched workers harvest the fruit. Our group earned extra points for coolness by donning lunch lady hair nets before touring the processing and packing facility. The tour concluded with samples of Collin Street Bakery's tasty fruit cake that we washed down with creamy pina coladas.
That evening, I returned to the comfort of Posada Christina Andrea B & B, where I chatted with a few of the inn's other guests. The B&B serves one of the finest breakfasts in town, which includes homemade wheat bread, fresh fruits and eggs cooked any style. Owner Alex suggested I dine at La Casona, a popular Costa Rican-style restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood and meats. The garlic jumbo shrimp dinner was fabulous, and the restaurant's traditional meals are served in a funky, open-air rancho reminiscent of the farming tradition that inspires the entire area.