Corn Ulpada

Ark of taste
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Ulpada de mais

Ulpada is a drink prepared with sugar water and either corn or fava bean flour. The corn flour used most often and traditionally is the yellow variety. Ulpada is the name of both the flour used to make the drink and the drink itself, once it is mixed with sugar water. This is a traditional product from northern Argentina, and many indigenous communities drink it, mainly at breakfast. Its roots lie way back in Incan tradition, where it was drunk for an energy boost, and by whom it was also known as the traveler’s drink. This drink can be consumed immediately or conserved for a few days. During long voyages the flour and water are carried separately and mixed only when the consumer is ready to drink. The product is an invitation to friendly chats during breaks from long trips or work. When traveling through the mountains a bit of alcohol is often mixed to the Ulpada.

This product is at serious risk of disappearing because the younger generations prefer other carbonated energy drinks or commercial fruit juices and so they are forgetting this millenary tradition. In Argentina the drink is widespread in the Salta, Jujuy, and Tucumán provinces. It is also found in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, although in these countries some of the ingredients are different. The exact amount produced every year is not currently known, as it is only produced for personal consumption and is not sold on the market. Ulpada is tied to the Diaguita-Calchaquí indigenous community which has about 30,000 members, from northeastern Argentina, who inherited the product directly from the Incans.

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Indigenous community: Diaguita-calchaquí