This is one of my favourite memories of living in the Yucatan jungle .
One day whilst visiting me Candelario seemed different. His eyes where sparkling with mischievousness and a smile as broad as could be. Is everything O K, I asked, si si si, he replied ,all the time me thinking what is he up to.
In the background the sound of a venders bell was ringing at first far away then closer it came.Without hesitating Candalario jumped up from the chair and dashed off, my words ringing in the air.Where are you going ,I said and he shouted back, the Tepache man the Tepache man! Who is the Tepache man I hollered … wait and see wait and see.. he said laughing all the way down the driveway.
He came back with two clear plastic bags one small and the other large.. filled with liquid , ice and a straw sticking out of the tied up bag.Whats this I asked …Nada nada he said drink it , its good!
I took a wary sip, my eyes looking towards Candealrio who is still laughing at this point.Mmm not bad but it reminds me of something and I couldn’t quite figure it out at that moment.It was fruity, a little sweet and the other taste still not sure and I drank with pleasure until he mentioned that when his father drinks it he falls asleep for the afternoon.By this time I had drunk quite an amount ,( it was a hot day and the drink was refreshing )and my head was feeling a little light-headed. THEN it struck me …. its fermented juice made from pineapple!
Candelario what have you done ? What if people come for dinner now as Im feeling like I want to go to sleep. and not work !…His reaction was to keep on laughing and chuckling at my predicament but all I could do was laugh too. He has a very infectious laugh and one cannot help but laugh with him.
I like to partake of wine or alchol on occasions but never when I work so now I find that even with one glass of wine it is sufficient for me and sometimes I dont even finish it.So you can imagine then how quickly the fermented pineapple affected me.
So now I stay away from the Tepache man when I hear his bell but the memory will always be there.
Tepache is a drink made from pineapple with brown sugar added and left to ferment….Its a very typical Mexican drink
Recipe for Tepache.
1 1/2 kilos of piloncillo (brown sugar in the form of cones)
5 litres of water
Wash pineapple well,peel,cut into chunks and add to a clay pot with the water.Dissolve the raw brown sugar then add the skin of the pineapple. Leave for 4 days with the lid on the pot . When the four days have elapsed it should be ready.Serve cold with ice.
For a different flavour you can add cinnamon and cloves.