Fiona is a Naturopathic Registered Nutritional Therapist and Colon Hydrotherapist specialising in gastrointestinal health, menopausal issues, chronic fatigue and weight issues.
Tel: 07817 921916   Email: fiona@fionacorliss.co.uk

Photo of Fiona Corliss, nutritionist and colon hydrotherapist

Costa Rica

I had the privilege of going to Costa Rica in early March 2023 and as a Naturopath, this magical country resonated with me. The country has rich, lava-fed soils and the Costa Rican ethos is very much embedded in the organic world. They are proud of their natural farming practices and their sustainability. Rainforests and Cloud forests which were once being destroyed, have been allowed to regrow. Wildlife is protected. Tourism is their business and they have pleasure, and rightly so, in demonstrating their pure way of life. 

A COSTA RICAN FAMILY GARDEN:

As part of my trip, I visited a Costa Rican family who revelled in showing me their wonderful, large organic garden, alongside which, a meandering river flowed. The temperature is consistently warm and tropical year round in Costa Rica, averaging between 22 and 28 degrees C, with regular rainfall, and daily rainfall during the rainy season between May and November, so the climate is conducive to perfect growing conditions.

Their land was full of exotic fruits;- mangoes, star fruit, grapefruit, oranges, avocados, pineapples, water apples, cocoa bushes (covered in pods in different stages of ripening) and coffee bushes (laden with beans).

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Coffee bean bush

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Raw coffee beans

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Water apple & star fruit

They prepared a star fruit and water apple for me to sample. Both delicious.

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Preparing the fruit

Interestingly, the vegetable area had a great array of produce including all-year-round kale (this surprised me as this is something that grows well in a cold climate), but it seems to thrive there. The other particularly fascinating crop was the cassava root which just manifests as a stick in the ground. 

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Cassava stick

The starchy tuberous root is the source of food. Before using the root, it has to be properly detoxified by soaking, drying and scraping as it contains cyanogenic glycosides which could give cyanide poisoning! They described how they use it; they slice the root and use it to make chips as it has a similar texture to potato. It is also made into tapioca by peeling and grating the root to catch the milky fluid. The starch is then soaked in water for a few days, kneaded, strained to remove impurities, sifted and then dried. In the UK we mostly see it as tapioca flour.

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Cassava root

REAL COSTA RICAN CHOCOLATE!

The family showed me the different stages of the Criollo cocoa bean (native to Central America), from flower to fully ripened bean.

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Cacao bean bush

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Cacao bean flowers

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Cacao Bean pods developing

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Cacao bean pods ripening

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Cacao bean pod fully ripe

They then took me inside to demonstrate how real chocolate is made.

The ripe cocoa bean exterior is so hard that the only way to open it is to smash it with a stone. Inside are the beans covered in a white membrane.

These are removed from the pod and wrapped in a banana palm leaf for a week to ferment. They are then dried in the sun for a further week. Once dry, the beans are roasted for 15 minutes at high temperature. They come out of the oven with a crunchy shell which is smashed and the cocoa nibs inside removed.

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Inside the cacao pod

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Roasted cacao beans

Costa Rican coffee bush, in a family garden

Cacao bean paste

These are put through a grinding machine and emerge as a paste because whole bean is used containing the cacao and the butter.

Sugar and vanilla to taste are then added to the paste and the mixture pressed into moulds. This creates a dark chocolate (If milk chocolate is desired, then milk powder can be added to taste).

Costa Rican coffee beans, straight off the plant

Fiona pressing paste into moulds

Next it is refrigerated for half an hour and subsequently turned out of the moulds.

Chocolate bars!

I was encouraged to eat them! They were exquisite and very dark, so just to my taste.

Contact details

Tel: 07817 921916

The Chilston Clinic
12 Rusthall Rd
Tunbridge Wells
TN4 8RA

The Wellington Centre
44 Wellington Sq
Hastings TN34 1PN

“Any clinic would be incredibly lucky to have your experience and expertise. You are the consummate professional and definitely provide a 5 star service!!”

S. Houghton, Kent.

"I met Fiona at a networking event about two years ago where she was giving a talk on Colon Hydrotherapy, and was immediately impressed with her knowledge and quiet, calm manner. I have been seeing Fiona for nutritional advice and regular colon hydrotherapy treatments ever since and highly recommend her. (I had been looking for someone to go to for colonics for years, and was very happy to finally find someone I felt comfortable with). Fiona gives regular talks to groups and offers her excellent treatments in Tunbridge Wells, Battle and Hastings.  She works to a very high professional standard and is gentle, caring and sensitive. I recommend her to many of my own clients as I feel that nutrition and colon hydrotherapy is so key to overall health and well being - certainly critical to skin condition!"

A Pattihis - East Sussex

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