Rising cost of a traditional Easter favorite
Traditional Dominican sweet beans. Image from diariolibre.com
Santo Domingo.- The cost of making habichuelas con dulce – sweet cream of beans – will depend on the number of people, size and quality of the products used in this traditional Dominican Semana Santa favorite.
Habichuelas con dulce combined with a traditional Semana Santa lunch in one day could make a big dent in the household economy. The cost of the basic economic basket of goods for the first quintile is about RD$13,717.16 per month according to February 2018 figures from the Central Bank.
According to these estimates, a family with ten members (taking into account extended family members, guests and/or neighbors) the cost is between RD$900 and RD$1,200. One pound of beans costs around RD$55, brown sugar is RD$24, a can of coconut milk is between RD$35 and RD$50, evaporated milk (315g) is about RD$45, a pound of sweet potato varies between RD$17 and RD$24 according to quantity and quality, spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg cost RD$30 per sachet, cookies are from RD$7 to RD$32, vanilla 8 oz costs RD$19 for white and RD$25 for brown, and raisins cost up to RD$110.
Combined with the sweet beans, preparing one of the traditional Easter meals can end up being very expensive for a middle-income family.
One pound of codfish ranges from RD$147 to RD$278, herring is around RD$100 to RD$274, a pound of eggplant costs RD$16, a pound of dorado fish is RD$140, hake is between RD$65 and RD$80, tilapia from RD$70 to RD$85, salmon fillet starts at RD$260 and carite, depending on quality, costs at least RD$200, a can of low-cost tuna can be between RD$40 and RD$60, just to mention a few.