This is the week so many folks in Boquete have been waiting for - BOQUETE’S 5th ANNUAL JAZZ FESTIVAL!

Jazz musicians from Canada, United States and Panama will gather at the BCP Theater in central Boquete to present three days of world-class musical entertainment. Band members will be hosted in Boquete by local residents and hotels throughout the area, and all their meals will be provided for them during their visit.

I, as the “Boquete Gourmet”, just had to get involved with providing a “Welcome Dinner” and a couple of the lunches during their visit. What to serve such distinguished guests would be an interesting project for me.

The first dinner would need to be prepared by our local tamale chef, Betty Rivera. Betty’s tamales are the best typical Panamanian dish that any visitor to Boquete could hope to enjoy. Betty contributed her “famous” recipe to the “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook” and it’s one of the recipes that takes a complete page to describe.

Notice that Betty’s tamale is wrapped in banana leaves, not corn husks. These tamales take 24 hours to make from dried corn pieces, not an easy project for Betty. When the diner opens the leaves, a lovely soft block of cooked corn meal and chicken appears, just right to be covered with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, chopped apples, cole slaw and any number of the many flavors of hot sauces available in Boquete.

Tamales are the most popular dish to serve in Boquete at any meal time, it’s typical Panamanian style cooking, just exactly right for these very talented jazz musicians from Canada. For dessert, I’ll make up a big batch of Snickerdoodles, easy to grab and run to their next performance.

I’d better have lots of cold Panama beer on hand for them as well, don’t you think? Talk about fine Boquete Jazz Festival Fare!

Enjoy the festival!