San Juan, Puerto Rico (November 13, 2006) – Travelling to Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving is an opportunity to experience an exquisite variation of the traditional American holiday. Most Americans do not realize that Thanksgiving is celebrated throughout the island – Puerto Ricans use the holiday to mark the beginning of the Christmas season, hold large family gatherings and begin decorating for Christmas.
As on the mainland United States, emphasis is given to the Thanksgiving meal, which intricately fuses traditional American culinary traditions with the tropical cuisine of Puerto Rico. The lavish Puerto Rican Thanksgiving feast begins with a variety of appetizers, which may include guineitos en escabeche (boiled bananas in a spiced garlic sauce), tostones (salted fried green plantains) and platanutres (fried plantain chips) dipped in mojo (a garlic and lime dipping sauce).
For the main course, turkey stuffed with the ever-popular mofongo (mashed fried green plantains with garlic, bacon, pork and olive oil) is widely served. The turkey is sometimes marinated in the same fashion as lechón asado, or roast pork, which is sometimes served as a substitute. The marinade is typically made of orange juice, vinegar, garlic and other spices.
As sides, it is not uncommon to find amarillos (fried sweet plantains with sugar), morcilla (blood sausage) and arroz con gandules (slowly simmered rice and pigeon pies) at the table. Finally, for dessert, typical Puerto Rican sweets are served, and may include tembleque (coconut custard), guayaba con queso (guava shells with cream cheese) and dulce de mamey (mango preserve).
Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico does not end with the meal. The all-American shopping tradition has been adopted by the people of the island and stores throughout the island hold impressive sales. The Plaza Las Americas mall, the Caribbean’s largest, is an island favourite featuring more than 250 shops comparable to those in any great American mall. Beltz and Prime Factory Outlet also offers very low prices on high-end retail merchandise. Finally, all around, visitors can find great bargains on Puerto Rican arts and crafts. The colourful folkloric products are great souvenirs to bring home as a reminder of the fabulous tropical weather of the island, the amazing cuisine and excellent shopping that make Puerto Rico an ideal destination for Thanksgiving.
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press time; however, we suggest you confirm all details and prices
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