Sunday, December 14, 2014
I'm Still a Winner!!!
I entered a coquito contest called the Coquito Masters on the suggestion of a friend.
I had been making and selling coquito for Thanksgiving and Christmas season for my family for years. I decided that I would start selling it to make some extra cash for Christmas presents.
I was hesitant to enter, and I never expected to win. It isn't that I don't believe in my product, but that I put so much pride and love into it, I was afraid to hear that it wasn't any good. I entered anyway, with no expectations, and I was one of two who won for my borough of the Bronx!
I was moving onto the Coquito Masters Finals!!!! Myself along with other winners from other boroughs came out and competed on Saturday December 13, 2014.
I was both excited and nervous. The event was held in the Gym of the Taino Towers.
I got there early to turn in my bottle of coquito. It is a blind test. Your mixture is taken and given a letter. It is brought out in a pitcher so no one knows which is which. The gym was huge and there were vendors selling their products. Most were products that were very rich in the Puerto Rican culture. The music playing was Latin Christmas tunes. The salsa rhythms made me want to jump up and dance bomba! So imagine my excitement when they had a troupe come out and perform!
They were great! And it made reminisce back to Christmas as a little girl. I remembered a night while I was settled for bed, and was awoken by loud music and singing. It was a good ole fashion Paranda. My family and friends had come to our apartment and everyone squeezed into our tiny living room. They played traditional songs, and my parents hurried to get them food and drinks. It was customary to feed them and give drinks! Since it was the holidays and Christmas was approaching Coquito was in order.
My dad loved cooking and he didn't know how to cook small portions. Everything was done in excess. So the bottles began to pour, and the night continued. I loved hearing the music and watching how happy everyone was. My nerves began to ease, at the memory.
During the event there were people interviewing the contestants. They asked why I entered, what Coquito meant to me, and how did I feel being the youngest contestant? I laughed and asked if I really was!
While being interviewed, it dawned on me, that our culture is slowly fading away. I realized that just by making Coquito, I was keeping up tradition and teaching my kids about their culture. I want my children to embrace their culture and keep up traditions.
Back to the contest, tasting began and all the tasters went out with their pencils and voting sheets.
I waited nervously as everyone tasted and casted their votes.
I didn't win the contest, but I am no loser! I left there with an experience and memories that I will look back at and chuckle about. I had an amazing bunch in my corner!!!!
I was blessed to be honored by some amazing people in my corner! Time is a very expensive gift, that I treasure more than anything! Thank you!!!!