“Chicha” Cuzco, Peru 2008, Photography 36X24 $600
A chicheria is the Peruvian equivalent to a beer pub, only in Peru the beer is brewed from maize, by the woman of the house, using a thousand year old method. Chicherias have no signage, but are designated by the doors with a stick and a kind of red flag, made of plastic or cloth, at the end of it.
Typically when you enter a chicheria, you are given a small snack or the option to buy an inexpensive indigenous meal with your chicha. At many chicherias, it is customary not to receive a check, but to leave small change on the table, in the amount you see fit based on the chicha and service. Before sipping your chicha, it is customary by many Peruvians to toast to the honor of Pachamama (Mother Earth), by spilling a small amount of chicha on the floor, before drinking the rest. This toast is called challa and is made almost every day.
Everybody in Peru drinks chicha, but in several different forms. Children favor an unfermented and sweetened chicha, while adults favor the fermented type, which is about 3 to 5 percent alcohol. Each region has its special chicha; In the north, they add Pisco brandy; In the south, red berries; Village chicha is said to be made solely of corn and water. In Cuzco, they add fresh fruit in season, such as strawberries, to make chicha frutillado.
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