Taste Test: Chicha July 4, 2011 It was Corpus, one of the biggest celebrations of the year around here, and we were in the middle of watching a mule loading contest – that’s loading of sugarcane – in the street when a woman came up to Wilfredo and me. She put her hand on my shoulder and asked if we’d like to come to her house around the corner so that I could try chicha. Why not, right?
Chicha is a typical drink in rural Colombia, although apparently they do serve it in a couple bars in the bigger cities. It’s made similar to beer, but from corn and panela and sometimes yuca, potatoes or pineapple or other fruits. (In some areas, the corn is actually ground and chewed in the mouths of the people making the chicha, but fingers crossed this wasn’t.) The woman went into her kitchen while we waited in her pretty patio with flowers growing in all corners. She brought out a tray with two glasses filled with a yellow, milky liquid that smelled like a beer. Turned out it tasted more like hard cider. Wilfredo practically inhaled his. I sipped slowly trying to figure out what it was made of. I didn’t particularly like it (I don’t like beer or hard cider) but it was worth trying. This shows, once again, the amazing friendliness and hospitality I’ve found in Colombia. When we finished, we thanked her and waved goodbye. She gave us a grin and waved with one hand, holding the tray with our empty glasses in the other and we went back to the mules. I tried to get the recipe out of Wilfredo, but he didn’t know besides “corn and panela”. More on the mules with photos later on, by the way! To consider for the comments: Have you ever tried chicha? Thoughts? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Happy 4th of July to all you Americans out there!