A Strange Cocktail in Chachapoyas

Taking a photo of the ant cocktail

For some clients from Japan, I had asked David the chef at Batan del Tayta in Chachapoyas to prepare a surprise dinner. On other occasions I had really enjoyed the innovative Chachapoyas style cuisine that David has brought to the table. David is from the nearby town of Lamud in the Province of Luya, trained to be a chef in Lima and now his restaurant is setting a new standard of cooking and presentation for Chachapoyas.  The Batan del Tayta is definitely quirky. 

The first and second courses were local dishes, David style: papa a la huancaina (potato with a creamy sauce) and dried pork with a puree of high altitude tubers. The dessert was simple yet superb: marinated tree tomatoes in syrup made from the juice of the same fruit.

The ant cocktail with six ants for decoration.

At the end the strange cocktail appeared. Normally one would have the cocktail before the dinner, but David had left the best surprise to last. From a distance there seemed to be some decoration on the glass. From close up we could see there were five ants hanging on to the edge of the glass and another floating in the middle. The ants had been collected from an anthill and put in to a bottle and left to soak in locally made rum. David said the ants have a sweet taste when they are fresh and he was experimenting to see how this could be used in drinks. I tried an ant and it tasted like nothing particlular with the texture of a pen top. The cocktail was certainly sweet and tasty, though I couldn’t decide if there was any special flavour brought about by the six legged creatures.

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