Tchapalo Millet Beer

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Tchapalo

Millet beer is an ancestral product from the Sahel area. It represents a traditional product for the Senufo, the Lobi and the Koulango communities, and is known in Ivory Coast’s northern regions as Tchapalo. The preparation of tchapalo takes a few days and is traditionally made by women. They first deep the millet in water for 7 to 10 hours, then let it germinate whilst covering it with manioc or taro leaves to keep it wet. Later it is put to dry in the sun for 3 days. Once dried, the millet is ground, put in a pot (called canari) with water and boiled for 6 to 8 hours. The filtered liquid obtained is called “tossé”. Yeast is added to the liquid and it is left to ferment overnight, sometimes adding spices or pepper. The result is tchapalo, a fermented, alcoholic beverage that keeps on fermenting as time passes, thus increasing its alcoholic degree.   Tchapalo used to be made by older women in the Senufo tribe, who used to learn the process during their initiation in the Sandogo, an authoritative women secrete society. Today, knowledge has been passed down to younger women, and those who follow the tribe’s tradition still prepare this beverage. Tchapalo is highly recommended during pregnancy and is said to have laxative properties and help control weight. Tchapalo is also used during rituals to honor ancestors and spirits. It is used as a way to communicate between this world and the non-tangible one. People can drink it only after offering it to the spirits. Since it does not keep for a long time, tchapalo is only sold locally and has to be drunk shortly after its production. This, and competition with imported beers makes it difficult for the tradition to keep on going, as people tend to consume products with a longer shelf life.

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Territory

StateIvory Coast
Region

Savanes

Other info

Categories

Distilled and fermented beverages

Indigenous community:Senufo, Lobi and Koulango