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CHICHA DE JORA

chicha de joraChicha is a term used in some regions of South and Central America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, many derived from maize,and similar non-alcoholic beverages. Chicha can also be made from manioc root (also called yuca or cassava), grape, apple or various other fruits.

While chicha is most commonly associated with maize, the word is used in the Andes for almost any homemade fermented drink, and many unfermented drinks. Many different grains or fruits are used to make "chicha" in different regions.

Use

Chicha de jora has been prepared and consumed in communities throughout in the Andes for millennia. The Inca used chicha for ritual purposes and consumed it in vast quantities during religious festivals. Mills in which it was probably made were found at Machu Picchu.
During the Inca Empire women were taught the techniques of brewing chicha in Aqlla Wasi (feminine schools).

In recent years, however, the traditionally prepared chicha is becoming increasingly rare. Only in a small number of towns and villages in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and in Costa Rica, is it still prepared.

It is still very popular throughout southern Peru, sold in every small town and the residential neighborhoods of the larger cities. Normally sold in 'chicherias' consisting of an unused room or a corner of the patio of a home, these generally unlicensed businesses can provide a significant boost to a family's income. They're generally identified by a bamboo pole sticking out the open door, adorned with (often red) flags, flowers, ribbons or colored plastic bags.

Normally sold in large caporal (1/2 liter) glasses to be drunk on location, or by liter if it's taken home, chicha is generally sold straight from the earthenware chomba where it was brewed. In the Cuzco area often the recipient will first drip a portion of the foamy head on the ground with the phrase "Pachamama, santa tierra" (Pachamama is Quechua for "Earth Mother". Santa tierra is Spanish for "blessed ground"), a tradition dating from the time of the Spanish conquest.

Chicha Morada is said to reduce blood pressure. It is also under investigation that Chicha de Jora acts as an anti-inflammatory on the prostate.
Chicha can be mixed with Coca Sek, a Colombian beverage made from coca leaf.

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