Two traditional desserts came together to the delight of the palates of millions of Peruvians and tourists. What is the origin of our delicious cocktail?
The perfect combination exists and was discovered by the Peruvians. La mazamorra morada y el arroz con leche are two traditional desserts of Peruvian gastronomy that together form the famous combination. Each of them has its own history and personality, dating back several centuries.
El Arroz con Leche:
El arroz con leche (a slow-cooked dessert of milk, rice and sugar) began its history in Asia. It was the Arabs who made it known to Spain during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, between 711 and 1492.
From Spain it reached Peru and the rest of the New World. Today there are several varieties of rice pudding throughout Latin America, each with its own particularities. In Peru, in addition to the traditional one, we also have a variety called “arroz zambito”, which includes chancaca, a kind of dark-colored paste derived from the juice of sugar cane.
In our country, rice pudding has become popular since the time of the Viceroyalty. Since then, it has been part of the national cuisine and Peruvian culture, and has been adapted to local customs.
Even Ricardo Palma, in his Peruvian Traditions, mentions the famous dessert. One of his stories tells the story of a friar who, in 1615, was imprisoned in the convent because of his licentious life. Visiting a dying friend, who was acting like his buddy in adventures, he said, “What the hell, man! I come for you to take you to a party, where there are girls with rice pudding and cinnamon. The friar, «bringing the bottle of liquor closer to the patient’s mouth, made him take a good sip.» And so, between drinks, the deceased “bequeathed half of his estate to the convents, which in those days was enough for a Christian to have Saint Peter open the gates of heaven wide open.”
La Mazamorra Morada:
The other half of the Peruvian favorite dessert is la mazamorra morada. Its history is linked to pre-Hispanic cuisine, since corn was a very important ingredient in the Inca culture and in its predecessors throughout the national territory. Purple corn, native to the Andes, gives the mazamorra its characteristic tone.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the ancient Peruvians already prepared a dessert similar to what we know today as mazamorra, but it was made from yellow corn and was called ishkupcha. After the conquest, the recipe changed and ingredients brought by the Spanish were added, such as cloves, cinnamon and quince. The variation was also created with this curious purple corn that ended up making the dessert even more popular. Today it is part of our gastronomy and we cannot live without it.
The combination of both desserts is also known throughout the country as «clásico», the same name given to the soccer match between the two most important clubs in the country, Alianza Lima and Universitario de Deportes. This is because the purple colors of the mazamorra and the cream of the rice pudding represent the jerseys of both teams.
The mixture of Andean, Spanish and Asian ingredients gave birth to the combined or classic. This fusion and the great variety of cultures present in a dish are what make the national gastronomy conquer the world. The soft texture of the porridge and the creaminess of the rice pudding combine as well as the diversity of our origins as Peruvians.