Cabanaconde Boyo

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Boyo di Cabanaconde is a dessert made with yellow cabanita corn flour, and has an intense and sweet flavor. In the past the flour was ground using a mortar or a stone rolling pin called a q’onana. This ground not too finely ground flour was mixed with chucarapi sugar from the Tambo Valley, Lluta red salt, lard, eggs, milk, and water. Once everything was mixed water and yeast were gradually added. The mixture was then set to rest and afterwards small balls of dough were formed and then covered with raw eggs, which helped to make them golden brown upon baking. The yeast used for this dessert came from the fermentation of chichi, a traditional corn-based drink.

They boyos used to be prepared only once per year, in the days that the men from Cabanaconde went up to the Hualca Hualca glacier to mine; they did this to allow the water to pass through when the ice melted, directing the water to the fields where they had planted their wheat. These desserts kept their spirits up during the difficult journey up over 5,000 meters ASL and back down again. The younger men mined the ice in the highest zones, while the older ones stayed at a lower altitude.

However, for about thirty years now the inhabitants have set up a system so that a canal that crosses their lands is able to irrigate their fields as well; for this reason there is no more need to do the difficult mining work on the glacier. Thus there is no occasion to prepare these boyos, and so they have become a part of the diet year round.

In the Cabanaconde region bread was not consumed regularly. Breakfast consisted in cancha (toasted corn). The use of bread was limited to once or twice per week, while now boyos are consumed instead of bread. Today there are two pastry chefs who sell about fifty of the treats every day, while people also continue to make them in their homes.

Boyo di Cabanaconde risks disappearing because, though it is known by everybody in the region, not very many people know how to prepare it with the original recipe. The work on the glacier that was the traditional moment to make these treats doesn’t happen anymore, and so there is no general get together to prepare them. This dessert also risks being confused for modern boyos that are made with wheat flour and not the original Cabanita corn flour

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Bread and baked goods

Nominated by:Giacomo Stefano Bassilio Elliott