On October 16, Panama earned a new Guinness Record and I could not miss that, perhaps it is the only time in my life that I have the opportunity to witness one.
And how can you imagine this blog is about tourist sites that can be visited after reading the articles, but in this case, being a special event I decided to write a special one.
I invited my mom and I joined with a friend to share transportation.
Many people went, the majority arrived by bus, of course at a cost.The event was free to the public, where anyone who wanted could go.
The event was in the Emberá Ipeti Choco Community, one hour after Bayano and still within the province of Panama.
Once we arrived we had to pay $3.00 per person, then we found out that it was to enter by car, from the Panamericana to the place it was approximately 2.5km, which was not much to walk, but with cameras and some rain, it was better arrive by car.
We parked at the entrance and entered hahaha.
Once inside, there were several stalls with the fabric with which they wear as skirts, at some moments, when the visitors arrived, there were some indigenous people receiving them with music and dancing.
Then just to the right was the kitchen area for the largest patacón and the first thing I saw was the large steel frying pan, made especially for the activity and I was already getting excited.
The area had to be clean, so you could see it from the outside, although it was not far, there were no walls, so everything was very visible.
Also once everything started, the cooks wore hairnets, gloves, copper boots, and even had their mouths covered.
We walked around, we still had a little time before it started, there was a stand area with Emberá handicrafts, and in an elevated house (without walls), there were some musicians and some women and girls dancing. We stayed there for a while.
There was a basketball court, where there was a platform for presentations for visitors.
While the largest patacón in the world was made and near there was the stands of the sponsors.
After knowing the place, it was time to stay in a good place to take photos. Fortunately I can be in the press area.
At 10:00 am the check of the workstations began and Mr. Carlos Tapia from Guinness World Records along with volunteers and chefs went through each place checking that everything was in order, until the grill was placed on the frying pan and it was raised by means of a pulley with a weight, because one of the most important things is that it weighs it, it only weighs the patacón and not the frying pan.
Clarify: this is a Guinness Record Entry, this means that it has never been done, so the company that gives this award gave some parameters, which are: look like a patacón, be whole, weighing at least 100 kilos, must be distributed Among the attendees without wasting anything, the health measures must be keeping, there must be specialized personnel as a witness.
Size is not a parameter, although the prize is given to the largest patacón.
To reach that weight, several tests were carried out and each time indicated that more plantain had to be used, Chef Rachel explained that when the plantain is fried, it loses weight.
Once everything was checked, a few words were given and at approximately 11:00 am the largest patacón began to be made, I did not move, I could not miss that.
Sara Omi, Emberá Traditional Authority, was where we were, the press, and gave us a few words, she also thanked her mother for the support, and they hugged each other, this may be the most emotional moment of the day.
1,200 plantains were peeled and chopped, placed in baskets (like the ones they use to make fries in franchises), approximately each group of plantains was fried in 5 minutes and they only placed as 6 baskets at a time.
From there it went to the grinding station, where the manual machines that we use to grind the corn for the Panamanian tortillas were used.
There were 7 grinders, with two people each, while one grind at lightning speed (they seemed to be on camera fast).
The other person added the plantains and pushed them with a crush stick.
Once it was ground, it went to another table with plantain leaves, where the women were kneading it, flattening it and uniting it (as if they were making a cookie).
It must be considering that the plantains just came out of the pan 3 minutes ago, I imagine it was hot.
They were put it to the grill, which also had plantain leaves and there they were forming the largest patacón.
Above, there were some women almost dressed as astronauts to maintain hygiene.
The plantain leaves are used in the tamale and they were used so that the patacón did not stick to the grill.
Once everything was armed, it was the width of the grill, 3.5m, some men with gloves for heat took it to the pan, there were some tubes that prevented it from submerging.
Then they placed on the pulley, removed the tubes and little by little they were gone down, unfortunately the grill bent a little, so it had to be gone up, rotated (not flipped) and submerged again so that it will cook well.
As each station completes its work completely, it done a cry of joy.
The little rain stopped and the sun came out, those present gave us paper hand fans with a patacón design.
Once the time had passed, the tubes went up and placed again so that it only be the pan and thus the oil drained.
After a while the evaluation began, the judge checked that the patacón looked cooked, it was not broken and perhaps other things more, but that was what I could see.
Then, the moment of truth came, had we exceeded the minimum weight? It was a moment of suspense.
I think my heart stopped at that moment, 3, 2, 1 and the weigh was taken,111.40 kilos, it had exceeded the weight, all happy, however, the judge was not yet enacted.
The largest patacón moved to the basketball court, where the table was waiting for it and all the assistants who quickly moved to the area.
I placed myself, supposedly in a good place, just behind the human security line, the one that prevented us from approaching the patacón.
And in a second, the tallest men in all of Panama have placed themselves in front of me with everything and their cameras, even if I jumped, I couldn´t see something. If I only stretched a little I could see something.
The judge arrived, the moment of truth, indicates the weight and says YOUR ARE OFFICIALLY AMAZING, translation to Panamanian, You got the Guinness for the Largest Patacón.
We could already scream and jump with joy. Then the organizers spoke, the Chef, Sara, the Chief Rodolfo Cunampio and other people.
The largest Patacón began to be eaten, despite the fact that there were many people who distributed it very quickly.
It was very organized, you could add tomato sauce, salt and if you wanted there were also some chefs who made a special sauce made with plantain created by Chef Alonso García and it was very good, they told me that they are going to leave the recipe in the community so that they can make it and maybe even sell it.
From the beginning of the check of the stations until the patacón was distributed, it could have been about 4 and a half hours, and in case you were wondering, yes, there was food, water and soda for sale.
There were also dance performances, music, handicrafts and jagua painting.
All the activity was very relaxed, of course without losing the seriousness that they are rating us, the men worked happily, the judge went to each station to see how they were doing, he even gave us a few words to those of us who were closest.
The large pan will stay in the community for your future events.
- 6 months of preparation and training
- 4 tests (one with 5 plantains, one with 100, another with 200 and an official test with 1000)
- 3 hours of work
- 2250 liters of oil
- 1200 plantains
- Patacón of 3.5m diameter
- More than 80 emberá women in the kitchen, trained and with the necessary cards to handle food.
- 100 kilos minimum weight required
- 111.40 kilos weight achieved
- Place: Emberá Ipeti Choco Community
- Rachel Pol – Chef in charge
- Title awarded: The world´s largest patacón.
- Moises Espino – metrologies
- Chef Joaquin Aizpura
- MINSA Health Inspectorate
- Adrian Ayala – Food Engineer
Guinness World Records Judge
- Carlos Tapia
Ipeti Choco is an Emberá community that is an hour after Bayano, Google Maps has it signposted, at least until the entrance.
It is not a tourist community, but if one day you will pass by there, someone will surely assist you and tell you about its traditions.
Other places you may like
- 7 Churches of Casco Antiguo
- Ancón Hill, Tropical Humid Forest and Viewpoint of Panama City
- Botones Museum, The Museum to see the Bilbo´s Button
- 10 Sitios Imperdibles de Panamá
- Visiting Miraflores Visitor Center of Panama Canal