Tradition turned to… powder? A look at the Peruvian “Chicha Morada”

One of those things you don’t want to miss while you are in Peru is certainly Chicha Morada. If you haven’t tried it yet, you probably have no idea or what I am talking about, but let’s just say that it is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage made from purple corn… that’s right… purple corn.

Beyond those fancy KFCs perfect aligned corns, in Latin America Mother Earth has given us a plenty variety of corn, in fact, finding a perfect aligned bright yellow corn in Latin America is weird… as our people itself, our corn has variety of forms and colors.

A basket full of Purple Corn

Even thought that I knew and had seen different types of corns that grow in my country, by the time I was in a supermarket in Peru and saw a basket full of purple corn I was simply surprised… that’s not something you see very often at a supermarket… at least you are Peruvian, of course… or perhaps Mexican.

As a matter of fact, Peruvians have been doing Chicha Morada since times before the Incas, so purple corn was kind of a big deal for them. Even when I put that in such words, for most of the civilizations that lived in the lands that now we call Latin America, corn (Maíz or Choclo) was sacred. Mayas called themselves “Men of Maize” and in the case of the Incas one of their most important rituals was based on the cult for corn.

Now, what do you think the Incas would say if they’d see this…?

Chicha Morada’sTang

That’s right, Chicha Morada’s Tang… Now you don’t need purple corn to prepare such an ancient beverage… Great!!! …Isn’t it?

Well, I am no one to judge the Peruvians and their love for a delicious drink, and we cannot deny that when goods are needed they will be always enterprises that will provide them in the easiest and affordable presentation for all… but… aren’t we going too far by replacing the sacred and unique purple corn with artificial colorants?

If you go to Peru… give Chicha Morada a try, you won’t regret that! It does taste really good! But please, make sure you go to a good traditional restaurant… so you won’t be drinking Tang

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The Peruvian Dog: A surprise in Trujillo, Peru

In my first trip to Peru I had the chance to visit the north city of Trujillo. With near one million of inhabitants, Trujillo is what you would normally expect of a heavily populated South American city: suburbs full of inequities among its population and a vibrant colonial historical center. But besides that, Trujillo is located between what’s left of the pre-Incas Mochica and Chimú civilizations, and therefore a well-known city for its tourism attractions.

Was during my visit to one of these tourism attractions (The Huaca de la Luna) that I saw something I’m sure I will never forget. Of course, the Huaca itself, a structure of that size built with adobe bricks, is alone something really impressive, but having the opportunity to experience both beauty and ugliness in a living creature you haven’t seen before, it’s something that stays with you.

I must confess that at first sight I wasn’t sure about what that creature was. I hadn’t read or heard anything about it before that day.  It definitely looked like an ugly big rat… a really big one and it wasn’t until the guide told us that this was the “famous” Peruvian Dog that I could understand what that was.

Peruvian Dog near Huaca de la Luna
Peruvian Dog near Huaca de la Luna

For a few seconds the sight of this hairless dog surrounded by the desert, sat there under the burning sun, looking at us like the genuine owner of the place, transported me to era Mochicas and Chimús and put a big smile on my face. Being in touch with the past made of this little “ugly” dog one of the cutest I have ever seen.