As Cold Comes, Ponche de Habas Warms Cuzco

Ponche de Habas

The cold season is on its way. As a result, our caseras, vendors, are getting ready to sell the popular ponche de habas. This drink is a hot drink made from toasted and ground broad beans (habas), cinnamon, and cloves. They in themselves are wonderful ingredients, but together they make an excellent group come together.

Cinnamon and cloves are ingredients that cannot be lacking in our desserts. They also make their way into drinks such as the ponche de habas, as well a hot chocolate, tea, and others. Cloves are also good, they say, for toothache. Whenever anyone in the family has this complaint, they take a clove and put it on the tooth that hurts. After a few minutes the ache goes away.

Besides being sold in the street, this very popular ponche is also prepared at home for Cuzco’s families. They have it after mass in Cuzco’s various churches.

Every time a family member dies, the family organizes a mass for the dead. They send invitations to all their friends. The women of the family take charge of preparing and serving a delicious cup of ponche de habas, to which they add a bit of cañazo, a distilled cane liquor, mixed with airampo, a colored extract from local cactuses, in order to warm the bodies of all the guests.

Toasted Beans to Make a Delicious Ponche de Habas
Toasted Beans to Make a Delicious Ponche de Habas

To prepare a delicious broad bean punch, you first mix the flour resulting from grinding toasted habas and serving it, with water. Then you stir it until the flour is completely dissolved. One day before doing this you leave the cloves and cinnamon soaking in the water you are going to use so that the water takes on the flavor of the spices. Then you beat an egg white. You add it to the pot of ponche and begin to stir it all over heat with a large spoon. You cook until it takes on foam and then you whip it up by stirring vigorously. You now can serve it to your guests.

This hot beverage is widely drunk by our people, thanks to the quantity of vitamins it has. It is also one of the most well known beverages in the city. You can have it for breakfast, snack, or when it is just very cold out.

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