[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you happen to be traveling through the department of Boyacá this festive long weekend, then try to make it to Tibasosa where starting Saturday July 2nd until the holiday Monday July 4th the colonial town will host the 29th edition of the Festival de la Feijoa.
Here, this unassuming, tubular green fruit is celebrated not only for its delicious taste but for being an important contributor to the department’s economy. With a cobble stone plaza and 16th century church, nestled among flowering bourganvilla, the locals will sell you feijoa as jam, arequipe and a creamy green eggnog known as sabajón. In fact, given the months of preparation it takes to make a Bailey’s-like sabajón, the drink is 14% alcohol proof, so best sample it in a shot glass, before consuming an entire bottle.
Among the long list of Colombia’s tropical fruits – from maracuya to guanabana, gulupa to zapote – the small feijoa can be eaten raw or blended into juice. And if you are really adventurous in the kitchen, you could even make a chutney from its thick flesh.
The cold mornings and warm days of the Sogamoso valley are ideal for growing feijoa. This year’s feijoa festival tributes the 12-string miniature guitar typical of the Boyacá department and known as the tiple. Several youth ensembles have been invited to perform Andean music as part of the “Feijoa de Oro” cultural agenda, and a regional dance festival will also be showcased on the stage at the heart of this picture-perfect Boyacá town.
If you decide on celebrating this fruit then make reservations with plenty of time, as there are limited options for staying near Tibasosa. One of the more elegant lodgings is the Hacienda Suescún, a graceful colonial hotel where Simon Bolívar stayed several nights before facing his decisive independence battle against the Spaniards at the Puente de Boyacá. There are many nice hotels with hot thermal springs in nearby Paipa, a town known for its origin-certified cheese. Between the cheese and hot chocolate of Paipa, a chilled Reisling from a Puntalarga winery and Tibasosa’s feijoa liqueur, the weekend will introduce you to the richness cultivated in one of Boyacá’s most loved valleys.