Dominicans love to celebrate — and the entire month of February is one big party known as Carnaval!
Carnaval is the most important cultural season of the year in the Dominican Republic. It’s celebrated for six weekends — not just the days preceding Lent — in every major city and province.
Giant street parades, concerts and parties are held every Sunday afternoon from the first of February through early March. Drummers, masked troupes, flag bearers, musicians, elaborately costumed marchers and dancers wind through the streets. They strut, chant, dance and perform in celebration.
The largest parade during Carnaval is held on Dominican Independence Day, Feb. 27.
The Dominican Repulic has a long history of fighting for its freedom. It first was seized by Spain in 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived and established Santo Domingo. Later, it was ruled by France. Its last occupier was Haiti, the country with which it shares the the island of Hispanola.
The Dominican Republic declared its independence from Haiti in 1844.
Villa Verde will hold a celebration at the restaurant on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Popular Dominican stew Sancocho will be on special, along with Presidente Beer and nonalcoholic pina coladas.
Sancocho is a hearty Caribbean meat and vegetable stew.
Every Latin American country has its own version of the dish. A wide variety of meats and vegetables may be included, but it’s all prepared the same way — just put all of the ingredients in a pot and let it cook for a long time.
“Villa Verde’s Sancocho is an earthy soup,” says Eridania, who owns the restaurant with her husband Yordanys. “It has chicken, steak, pork, yucca, potatoes, carrots, green plantains, corn and other ingredients.”
It’s not always on the menu at Villa Verde, because of its long cooking time and abundance of ingredients. But it is available on special days, like Dominican Indepdence Day on Feb. 27.
Don’t miss a chance to try this delicious Dominican specialty!
Come celebrate freedom and good food with Villa Verde!
Follow the Facebook page for Villa Verde Dominican Restaurant in Greenville, NC for specials and updates.
(Photos of Carnaval in the Dominican Republic via LilyLilyPhotography.com)