Chulpe Corn (Zea mays amylosaccharata), originally from southern Colombia and common in all Andine regions, is typical in the regions of Nariño and Cauca. Some cultivations of Chulpe corn can also be found in Ecuador, in the region of Carchi, and in Peru, in the region of Cusco.
Chulpe corn is almost exclusively consumed toasted with a bit of salt. Its kernels are of a particular shape, slightly corrugated, but when heated they expand and become soft. Chulpe corn can have different colors, the most common, however, is yellow. Its flavor is sweet and delicate.
In the south of Colombia the elder ladies have seen a decline in the cultivation of Chulpe corn over the last 10-15 years. Many young people do not even know about its existence.
In 2015 the “Guardianes” network has launched a campaign to save this type of corn at risk of extinction, and to give it back the recognition it once had, when it was grown in the fields and used to prepare many dishes.
Many farmers are not interested in growing Chulpe corn anymore because its cultivation requires a lot of attention: it needs to be kept at a distance from other types of corn, as it does not resist to cross-pollination and will lose its typical characteristics if crossed with another species.
Chulpe corn is toasted in big terracotta pans placed directly on a heat source, or cooked on a low fire with a little bit of oil or butter, onions and salt.
It can be consumed as an appetizer or to accompany some soups or traditional Colombian dishes. Farmers usually eat it as a roadside snack, together with pork rinds.
It is nowadays cultivated by the indigenous communities Los Pastos, Quillacingas and some farming communities.