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In Costa Rica, there is a a popular expression that says, ”where there is a Tico, there is Salsa Lizano”! Why is that so important for the local culture?
Salsa Lizano is a delicious tangy, slightly sweet, and very slightly spicy brown sauce. It is made from water, sugar, salt, carrots, chili peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, dry mustard, celery spice, turmeric, and molasses. The sauce is smooth and a bit runny.
Salsa Lizano is pretty much delicious on everything. Costa Rican’s typically use it in their Gallo pinto and tamale recipes, among other traditional dishes. It is also used on eggs and breakfast items, fish, chicken, pork, steak, hamburgers, and pretty much on anything else one’s heart and stomach desires. While some immediately fall in love with it, others find it to be a more acquired taste. However, once you acquire a taste for it, you will crave it!
The origin and history
In 1920, a man from the province of Alajuela named Prospero Jimenez created a sauce that would quickly and forever become Costa Rica’s national sauce.
Prospero owned a bar in the middle of town between Central Street and 4th Avenue. He had been playing around with pickling recipes and eventually created a boca (what Costa Ricans call a snack) of pickled vegetables. Due to popular demand, he began mass producing his creation and started selling it to local grocery stores. He was a natural businessman.
A few years later, Lea and Perrin Worcestershire sauce hit the shelves in Costa Rica. Prospero tasted this newly popular sauce and decided that he could make a way better version himself. So, that’s what he essentially did and the sauce that we now know and love as Lizano Sauce was born.
It wasn’t until 1950 that Prospero shared his secret recipe with a long-time trusted employee named Claudio Rojas Araya and decided to expand the business. Claudio took the recipe to a man named Prospero Lizano who owned a factory with the means to mass produce it. The sauce was officially named after the owner of the factory.
It has truly become the national sauce of Costa Rica. In the grocery stores, beware of the imitations. Stick to the real and original Lizano sauce and you will enjoy a taste of Costa Rican culture and history. A must during your holiday in Costa Rica!
The company is now owned by Knorr, which in turn is owned by Unilever.