No one is happier than Maritza Cabeza when preparing her cocadas. She usually gets down to it from Tuesday afternoon onwards. On Mondays, she travels to Borbón to acquire her ingredients and materials: raisins, chocolate, coconut and plastic wrappings.
She also buys coal to cook with, and sugar cane, the central component of her recipe, which she obtains straight from her back yard. Her family and seven others live in El Capricho, a tiny community whose name derives from the old sawmill that worked there over twenty years ago.
Photo: Martín Jaramillo.
From the sugar cane reed, Maritza obtains the juice that she soon transforms into a liquid honey. And this is the defining ingredient of her delicacies: no processed sugar, coupled with all the love she puts into her cooking. Although her work usually begins at 4:00 a.m. and finishes around 8:00 p.m., following hours of stirring the ingredients in a broad brass cauldron over low heat, nothing relaxes her more than concocting this energizing treat.
That is why, when you visit her at her workshop, the first thing you see, before you even try her deliciousproduct, is her bright, hospitable smile. It’s a delight to buy blocks of cocada for friends, family and oneself, and stay chatting a while by the riverside.