Ark of taste
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The term “Ilicha” refers to a few plants belonging to the Amaranth family, among which quinoa, cañihua and other woodland plants originally from the Andes.

In the Arequipa and Puno departments, consumption of these vegetables was already widespread in the centuries prior to Spanish dominion. The Iberian journalist Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala describes the indigenous Peruvian situation and mentions the Ilicha and some of its uses in his work “Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno”.

These plants grow spontaneously on the plateaus and in cultivated gardens growing mostly tubers; the young leaves are gathered between December and February when they are still tender and the plant has not yet flowered and produced seeds. Thus the risk of bitter leaves is avoided.

The most common gastronomic use is using the leaves in a salad, cooked as a side dish or in soups; in the Arequipa area, especially in the Characato district, the local farmers use the Ilicha leaves on Christmas Eve, after they have finished their field work. In homes and picanterias (typical Arequipa eateries) this vegetable was cooked slowly, seasoned in various ways and served with boiled potatoes.

In addition, in traditional medicine in the Andean communities, the leaves are used to make tisanes to cure liver or stomach ailments, and to purify the blood.
It is consumed strictly at home.

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Dauro Mattia Zocchi and Benita Quicaño





Production area:Characato district (Arequipa)

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Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Nominated by:Dauro Mattia Zocchi e Benita Quicaño