Saturday, August 24, 2013


Remember the young Chilango who stopped me to ask where the Starbucks was located in Melaque?  (starbucks no aqui)

It appears I indulged in a bit of Soviet disinformation when I told him we did not have one.  We do.  And I should have remembered it.

For the past few months, a local farmer has set himself up as a barista (or should that be "baca-ista")* on the highway at the Barra de Navidad junction.  There is no mermaid with fins akimbo.  But the fauna is every bit as exotic.

At first, I thought he and his wife were simply selling milk on the hoof.  He always has a cow and her calf tied to his trailer.  As well as either a steer or a bull.  (I did not notice the defining distinction.)

I was half right.  He is selling fresh milk.  But in the form of a "coffee" drink.  The perfect way for a driver to get a little jolt on the morning commute.

The drink is called parajete  -- or palomo -- or chereka.  Just like at your local Starbucks.  Drinks with the same ingredients, but more names than Elizabeth Taylor.

As Kurt Vonnegut would say: And this is how you make one.

Spoon a large measure of crushed chocolate in a glass.  Add a good measure of either sugar -- or honey.  And, as a customer told me, just "a touch of alcohol."  To my eye, it looked like two shots worth of pure sugar cane alcohol -- the type of fuel that could power a Saturn rocket.

I almost forgot.  You add just a pinch of
Nescafé.  I suspect that ingredient is to give plausible deniability to drivers stopped by the police.  "Really, officer, I only had three coffees."

Then comes the true art of the cowpuccino.

After swirling the ingredients in the glass, the baca-ista places the glass under the cow and squeezes out enough milk to top off the glass.  Giving steamed milk a whole new meaning.

And, just like Starbucks, the drink comes in various sizes.  Priced at 10/20/25/25 pesos.  Or 75 cents (US) to $1.90.  Try walking out of your local Starbucks after slapping down three Washington rounds.

OK.  I know you are waiting to hear how it tasted.  After all, Omnivorous Steve, who has downed grasshoppers and ant eggs certainly is not squeamish about a bit of unpasteurized milk.

I'm not.  But I am not an alcohol consumer.  So, I passed. 

I will leave it up to one of you to report on the virtues of parajete.

* -- Three readers have emailed me to ask if I am aware that vaca -- the Spanish word for "cow" -- is spelled with a "v" (but pronounced as a "b").  I am.  "Baca" simply works better as a visual pun.  There are times where punnery trumps purity. This is one.

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