May 8, 2009

To Chicha or Not to Chicha.....


Everywhere you go in Peru, and I mean everywhere, there are places called Chicherias, locales that sale chicha which is a local beer like drink made from fermented maize or corn. The chica drink goes back to ancient times, and for the locals it is a must for sure. The places that sell chica have a chicha pole, a long extended tree limb, with a red plastic bag or red balloon attached, signaling to any passerby that fresh chica is available. Not all chicha has alcohol, the fresh batch does not, once fermented then yes. We did not try any chicha on this trip, but certainly enjoyed hearing all the stories from David, our guide about chica production and customs. One in particular, which I am not sure is actually true, but the story is told, if in the Inca world, you were misbehaving or had committed some sort of crime, you would be encouraged to drink lots and lots of cured chicha and then placed somewhere close to a cliff, your life expectancy at great risk due to the chicha effects.