Bright strawberries dotted the gardens in front of us. The puppy and little boys charged down the path between the rows, risking the safety of the berries and the promise of a sweet, juicy explosion. “Son todos orgánicos. Los utilizo para hacer la chicha morada. Siéntense y pruébenla.” These are all organic. I use them to make strawberry chicha morada. Come sit and try some. We gladly sat in the tippy chairs with the puppy chewing at our ankles. A big pitcher of purple liquid was set in front of us along with a shaker of cinnamon.
It would have been easy to end the conversation with “Está muy rica!” This tastes great! – and then go on with our meal by ourselves, wondering about the sweet and tangy drink. But by being curious and asking a few questions, we learned so much more about local culture, made friends with a kind Peruvian chef, and now have something wonderful to share with you: A lesson on how to make strawberry chicha morada from Cusco’s Sacred Valley.
It was our first evening in Huarán, Peru – a tiny town about an hour outside of Cusco along the Sacred Valley highway. After landing in Cusco, we wanted to spend the first day at lower elevation to acclimatize (learn more about how to avoid altitude sickness here and here) before we spent time in the city 2,000 feet higher than the valley. The next day we would head to Moray and Maras to see Incan ruins, but that night, we found Doña Nalia’s café along the road just a short walk from our AirBNB.
With just a little bit of Spanish, I was able to explain that I wanted to understand how she made such a wonderful drink.
All I had to do was ask. “¿Me puedes explicar en video cómo se hace la chicha?”
Doña Nalia explains how she makes chicha morada: