“It is the only place on the planet you will receive such a taste.”
Rancho Cielo Alto
“Which way? Is it through the gate, or do I turn right?”
“Baaahhhh!” said the goat.
Well that didn’t help me.
Atop a mountain after an intense curvy drive, we are looking at a massive wooden gate, which can only be the entrance, right? Farm animals on the left with a cluster of possibly the wisest goats and the happiest little chickens dotting the earth. Each time I pointed forward they made a acknowledging noise, so forward it is. Thank goodness the car has 4 wheel drive to get up the summit.
Along our journey through the entire country of Costa Rica, our Toyota Rush received the name Limbaugh. Since I haven’t driven a standard since I was 14 years old, we rented an automatic. “Come on Limbaugh, just a little…”
Mid sentence stop, ocean view, open air kitchen with a wood burning grill, we have arrived. Only in dreams have I seen such a place. Jazimne welcomed us with glowing skin, a wide smile and open heart, “Renee?”
“Welcome to Ranch Cielo Alto. I’m Jazmine.”
Limbaugh made it just fine.
The creator of such a space made my grin stretch to my cheeks hurt. Holding back an instant hug, I shook Jazmine’s hand with honor and immediately was looking forward to the dinner. Two long tables, center cut slabs of trees, polished, varnished acted as the table tops with tree stumps with cushions as stools.
The kitchen was completely open air and pristine, with letters strung together like musical notes….”medicinal herbs”…”organic”…. “farm”…. every crimson fruit, lime green vegetable, and flowering herb that was on the menu was showcased at the entrance of the pristine open-air kitchen.
A syrupy caramel smokey nuance pulled my eyes near the open air wood burning fire. A pineapple rested on the embers. A conversation a few days earlier jogged my memory, that will be a part of the dessert, and my smile broadened a bit bigger.
While waiting for the other guests, Jazmine was kind enough to share a few stories with us about her life that led her to that particular moment in time. She grew up in a household of healers. Her mom is the local “medicine woman.”
All her life Jazmine has been surrounded by the healing wisdom of the earth. Part intuition, part passed down knowledge from generations. She grew up knowing how to cook with culinary and medicinal herbs and helping her mother’s clients heal with food from their garden.
To gain a different education, Jazmine ventured to the United States and found herself extremely successful. Along the journey, fell in love and started a family. Yearning for the roots of Costa Rica and family she was tugged and pulled back to her home. A piece of property perched on the edge of a mountain nestled in the jungle in southern Costa Rica just on the outskirts of Dominical.
Jazmine grew up where the plants have memories of the land and the medicine runs deep into the soil as veins of wisdom, feeding generations.
With a bit of work, a clearing was made, to reveal a remarkable view of the ocean. From there, a small pristine open air kitchen was crafted with bright reds leaving plenty of room for nature to mingle, and decorate creating a treehouse feel.
Candles were lit on the tables as we took a minute to honor the sunset. Jazmine welcomed everyone with open arms, then began cooking with her assistant in the kitchen.
The first course arrived with beautiful flowers adorning the sides and a few medicinal herbs as fringe. Jazimine eloquently explained, we didn’t have to eat the garnish, because she’s already used those ingredients to make our bodies feel great in the recipes. The garnish is just an added benefit and to help us identify what she was using.
Not only was she cooking, and nourishing our bodies, but she was teaching and passing along wisdom. Every cell in my body was doing summersaults of joy at the first bites.
Each course, Jazmine would share in detail the ingredients and it’s benefits. On occasion, she would disappear on the property, come back with an herb or flower, give it a wash and we could find it on our next plate.
To be cooked for with such love and care and receive the basic necessity of healing enriched life is a rarity now days. She was feeding my soul. There was so much love in one bite, I was full after the first plate, but how could I turn down a person who has that much to give. It was a true honor to be in her presence and witness her gift in motion.
Yes, the plants that grow on the property contribute to the land and help all of us heal.
Yes, the wisdom of her ancestors that has been passed down through generations is ever present.
Having Jazmine be the conductor with such joy and abundance is to have a true divine experience.
Just as the candles where burning low, the caramel smoky nuance floated back in front of me. This time, on the plate, with a bit of ice cream and candied cashew fruit, a signature of Rancho Cielo Alto.
Long ago, Jazmine’s family had a pineapple farm which burned. Instead of throwing the pineapples away, they cut the charred skins and ate pineapple on everything, every time of day. The pineapple flesh was sweet, tender, slightly smoky, with a light caramel, creme brulé finish. If a pineapple Starburst, met a Worther’s Original hopped on a BBQ grill then floated away in Dove Chocolate covered ice-cream bar…..
The best way to savor this dessert is one nibble at a time. It is the only place on the planet you will receive such a taste.
The moment of truth about any meal I have is when I leave a table.
I didn’t want to leave.
I also knew I would feel amazing the next day and I want to learn from Jazmine.
That my friends is a memory. That night is a stamp in my life to talk about for eternity and pass along to as many hearts as possible.
Who knew the goats were serenading us to the most nourishing evening of my life.
With gratitude, honor, a sprinkle of sass
Keep your fire burning bright-
Rancho Cielo Alto
1 km noroeste de la Escuela de Playa Hermosa., Uvita, Costa Rica
+506 8555 2322