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Posted by Sashee Chandran

As we have taken our virtual trip around the globe learning and experiencing what it's like to enjoy teatime rituals in different countries and cultures, one factor seems to hold steady: teatime is about so much more than drinking a warm drink and eating delicious treats. Teatime is synonymous with "social hour," a time to reconnect and spend time with those who mean the most to you, whether that be friends, family, or both. Whether we're in Ireland or Turkey--it seems--tea is a reason to take a respite from the hustle and bustle of the day. 

Today, we have found our way to the beautiful South American country of Peru, where teatime has a beautiful name: lonche. Translated from the word "lunch," this actually stands for the tradition of enjoying tea in the afternoon. Traditionally, lonche was a customary addition between lunch and dinnertime. However, in today's modern world, many people choose to pick whether to engage in lonche or a suppertime meal.

You will see that the scheduling of lonche reflects Peru's colonial past with its similarity to the English High Tea and similarly is also a time for visitors to be invited into the home. In Peru, lonche often carries on as the conversation grows.

Peruvian teatime models its breakfast offerings, with a spread consisting of sweet rolls, breads, cheese, butter, jam, and olives. Cakes, empanadas, tamales, and chancay (find a recipe for this delightful brioche-like bread later on in the post) are also common fare here. Modern lonche is enjoyed with family and is also a time for friends to catch up in cafes. 

During their tea hour, Peruvians may sip the traditional mate de coca tea, an herbal infusion named for the tree from which the leaves are harvested. Coca tea is prepared by either steeping a teabag or simply the actual tea leaves in a hot cup of water. 

With a taste reminiscent of the light but bitter green tea, it does boast a natural hint of sweetness. It also possesses a bit of a stimulant effect that is comparable to a cup of coffee or some teas. With a slight base in the cocaine plant, it is illegal in the United States unless it has been de-cocainized--one could say this modest-looking beverage definitely has quite an exciting alternate identity!

A light but delightful meal, lonche sounds like a fun, delicious, and simple tradition to enjoy with loved ones and friends--new and old. 

Chancay Bread owes its nameake an old Peruvian civilization that dates back to pre-Colonial times. A coastal people who were masters at pottery and basket-weaving, they pre-dated the Incan Empire, existing circa 1000-1500 A.D. 

Invented and named in 1883, Chancays are subtly sweet breads, flavored with a sesame seed topping and anise on the inside. Find the recipe for this traditional tea time treat below:

(Photo Credit: One Perfect Bite)

Chancay Bread

Total time: ~ 4.5 hours

Ingredients:

For The Sponge:

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour

3 TBSPNs sugar

1 egg

2 TSP instant yeast

1 1/2 C warm water

For The Bread:

3 1/2 C all purpose flour

4 TBSPN butter, softened

4 TBSPN vegetable shortening, softened

1/2 C light brown sugar

2 TSP salt

1 TSP yeast

1 egg

1/2 to 1 C water

1/2 TSP anise flavoring

1/4 TSP cinnamon

Sesame seeds for sprinkling on rolls

4 TBSP melted butter for brushing onto rolls

 

Directions: For the sponge - stir all ingredients together with a spoon, alternating kneading by hand as needed, until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl with your dough in it with saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 to 3 hours. 

For the dough: Mix the remaining TSP of yeast into a 1/2 C of lukewarm water. Add 3 1/2 C of flour, brown sugar, yeast, egg, anise, cinnamon, and softened butter as well as shortening to the sponge. Knead dough gently while adding 1/2 cup of the water and yeast mixture gradually. More water can be added in small amounts as needed as you knead so that your dough's texture is smooth, shiny, and stretchy. This would run about 10 minutes in a stand mixer using the dough hook, or 20 minutes by hand.

Lightly coat a bowl with oil and place dough inside, covering loosely with saran wrap. Allow dough to rest for 1 hour. 

Punch down dough and knead a final time. Cut into 20 pieces, roll into balls, and place on an oiled cookie sheet approximately 1 inch apart. 

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Lightly brush dough balls with remaining butter and sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Bake for a total of 20 minutes, reducing your heat to 350 halfway through, or until rolls are a golden brown.

Enjoy!

Recipe Source: About - South American Food

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