miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2016

In the land of Pisco... Pisco Gatherings Meeting Doctor Pisco: Part I

Here we share this article that will be separated into three parts. We found it to be very interesting! Enjoy!

César Ángeles Caballero, the prominent academic who dedicated a great portion of his intellectual work to the research and subsequent demonstration and defense of the “Peruvianness” of the word Pisco.

Whether or not Pisco was Peruvian was never previously discussed. It was simply a given. The tiresome, dry and not very well defined argument about whether or not Pisco is from Peru is a more recent phenomenon. The Chileans argue that if they had not industrialized and exported their firewater in the proportion that they do (and there is no way to negate this), it is posible that we never would have had the least concern about it. It’s a possibility. 

One of the first people, if not the first, to bring out into the open this controversy was Dr. César Ángeles Caballero. In 1972 he published a book regarding the “Peruvianness of Pisco.” However, after its publication, the battles between the two countries regarding the denomination of origin of the firewater did not develop in the areas in which the author postulated. And even today, 34 years later, his original thesis is widely unknown.

Pisco’s Document of National Identity
Although Dr. Cesar Angeles has retired from the academic life, he has not left study and research, his life-long passion. According to the title of this article, one would expect him to be an oenologist, or at least an eminent pisco-drinker. However, we find an academic who finds refuge in a sea of knowledge rather than firewaters, in books, rather than distilled grapes. His location is in a prodigious library, not a distillery.

However, he is the undeniable “Dr. Pisco,” as his knowledge has given us the best resources in order to feel more proud than ever of our “silver elixir.” He has a doctorate in literature and journalism, is the former dean and founding president of the San Luis Gonzaga de Ica National University, where he is president emeritus today. He is not from Ica, as we would expect, but from Ancash. “From Caraz, sweety; perhaps that is why I am diabetic,” he laughs quietly, as if he were laughing on the inside.

What has been Dr. Pisco’s contribution to our national culture? Everything began in 1969, eight years after he visited Ica for the first time, as the dean of the Department of Education. He had proposed research regarding everything that was representative of Ica, and he began with the area’s literature. “I have written about, since that year, Peruvian literature by each department in the country.” While developing his bibliography, he ran into a Chilean magazine “Hechos Mundiales” and he saw inside the magazine a picture of a bottle of Chilean firewater that said “Pisco Valley of Elqui.” He became upset and decided instead to investigate the “Peruvianness” of Pisco.

But his proposal did not follow the paths which had been taken with international organizations in order to defend Peru.  “How can I prove that Pisco is Peruvian? I asked myself. It was very simple; I would demonstrate that the word “Pisco” is a Peruvian word.”

Up until that point, there was no scandal regarding Pisco. As a professor of the course of Investigative Methods (and author of the manual that is used in all universities for many years), one had to state the hypothesis of the case. “Just like the National Document of Identity (DNI) describes you and gives you an identity, the DNI of Peruvian firewater is the word Pisco. Those Peruvians among us that want to fight with Chile are silly. The only thing that we need to do is demonstrate that the word Pisco is, in fact, Peruvian.

Written By: Manuel Cadenas Mujica
Translate by Katrina Heimark
The editors

martes, 17 de mayo de 2016

In the land of Pisco... A Rural Legend

This legend was told to me years ago by workers in one of the Villacuri Country Estates. 

Every year, Jose and Mario, who were neighbors, competed to see who had the best grape harvest in Ica, Peru. Both were very good farmers who passionately and carefully dedicated themselves to their grapevines. But one day in July, Jose found that his grape leaves had been eaten by his donkey, Jacinto. He became so angry that he followed him all around the countryside with a whip in hand.

Meanwhile, Mario watched Jose and said “You’ve forgotten to put a fence around your fields! That is why Jacinto and other animals get in your grapevines. Put a fence up!” Jose nodded, but remained astonished by the disaster that had occurred.

Weeks went by and spring came to the countryside.
Just like he did every day, Jose got to his fields early in the morning and he was amazed! His grapevines had germinated like he had never seen before, and they were full of grapes! He compared his fields with Mario, and despite Jacinto’s efforts, Jose’s fields were splendid! “What had happened?”

Simple! Jacinto the donkey had taught them a secret that had not been revealed until then: The pruning of the grapevine. From then on, this became a very important step in the cultivation of grapes. That year Jose and Mario celebrated the harvest and the discovery with a big party.


Translate by Katrina Heimark