What do we eat in the Inti Raymi?

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The Inti Raymi Festival allows us to be part of a cultural ritual with great value for the Andean indigenous people, who endow a profound spiritual meaning to all the objects on Earth. The main festivity takes place in Cayambe on June 21, when the sunlight lasts longer. It’s a celebration to honor the “Taita Inti” (Father Sun in Quechua), for allowing fecundity in the Pachamama (Mother Earth), which is why several grains, fruits and other products are offered in his honor.

Corn and other Andean products:

During the celebrations, locals gather on a sort of huge picnic where everyone brings some meal to share with the community, it’s called the “Pambamesa” and it’s basically a big white tablecloth on the ground with many meals, fruits and grains that will be consumed by all the participants. The corn (hominy, toasted corn and corn itself) is one of the main grains for this festivals along with potatoes, beans, geese and other products. It’s a one big cooperational meal where men, women and children participate on the preparation of the food, the ultimate goal is to share and be thankful for the generous harvest.

Roasted “Cuy” with potatoes:

The consumption of meat in indigenous rituals was reserved only for parties of great importance. Thus, in the Inti Raymi celebrations only the best tributes were offered to thank the Pachamama for the crops.

The communities strive and prepare the “cuy”, guinea pig, with great dedication to offer an outstanding dish with an incomparable flavor because, let me say it once again, Mother Earth receives only the best in this indigenous ceremony.

“Guarango”, ceremonial drink:

This special drink is prepared with a sweet water from the agave plant. Only the blue agaves of more than 15 years can be used to extract the “Mishqui”, a natural sweet liquid in the plant’s core which is later fermented, at least two days, to obtain the ‘guarango’, a strong alcoholic beverage. Currently, it is served in different presentations even mixed with fruit juices that gives the Guarango a special flavor.

“Uchu jacu”, ancient food:

With a flour obtained from the mixture of white, yellow and black corn; in addition of peas, beans and barley, a very nutritious soup is prepared: Uchu jacu The stew is accompanied with potatoes, onion, hominy, eggs, fresh cheese and guinea pig. The soup gives strength to the dancers during the Inti Raymi and now a days, this soup can often be consumed in certain places that still prepare it on the traditional way, although the soup is representative of the Inti Raymi festival.

“Chicha de Jora”, malted corn chicha:

Considered the most important beverage for the Incas, it’s a traditional drink that uses germinated corn (for about 7 days) and it is consumed from the pre-Inca times and since then considered sacred. Several indigenous communities drink it in parties and ceremonies. Its fermentation process requires raw sugar and some days of rest in clay pots to give it its special flavor.

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