Chicha Morada Sorbet (Purple Corn Sorbet)

Chicha Morada Sorbet (Purple Corn Sorbet)

Chicha Morada Sorbet (Purple Corn Sorbet)

There is no denying that there is a very sweet connection between Italy and Peru. They say that the Chilcano de Pisco cocktail was invented by Italian immigrants. And it’s rumored that the Panettone is more popular in Lima than it is in Milano, the place where it was born. Two years ago, Astrid & Gaston even did a tasting menu, “The Journey,” to honor the Italian immigrants in Peru. And in the Andean Negroni, a classic Italian cocktail was infused with the spirit of the Andes. All which prepares us for this dessert — Chicha Morada Sorbet, a traditional Italian sorbet, with the vibrant colors and flavors of Peruvian purple corn.

While researching the history of the sorbet, one origin story points to the Roman Emperor Nero, who is said to have mixed snow with honey and wine in his banquet hall. But the interesting part is that snow from the mountains was transported by runners, in much the same way that fresh fish was carried by Inca runners from the Peruvian coast to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, over 200 miles away. Which clearly shows that in both Italy and Peru, people literally crossed mountains in order to make a savory dish or a sweet dessert. Now, that is passion for food, and in this dessert you can have a taste of the sweet passion between Italy and Peru.

  • 4 cups chicha morada elixir
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • 1 apple for garnish
  • 1 orange for zesting
  • fresh mint for garnish

In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need ice cube trays, a blender, a deep tupperware with lid, and a long spoon or spatula.

  1. Prepare 4 cups of chicha morada elixir, let cool before using.
  2. Combine the elixir, lime juice, and simple syrup, stir to mix well.
  3. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  4. Use a blender to crush the ice cubes, 3 or 4 cubes at a time.
  5. With a long spoon or spatula, transfer the crushed ice to a deep tupperware container.
  6. Seal the container and store in the freezer overnight.
  7. To serve, use two table spoons to scoop and shape the gelato.
  8. Serve on porcelain soup spoons.
  9. Garnish with diced apple, minced mint, and orange zest.
  10. Enjoy before it melts.

About 24 servings, depending on the size of the serving spoons.


Start planning this dessert 2-3 days before serving. In order to get an accurate measure, I used silicone ice cube trays with 3 x 5 cubes, 1 oz. per cube. When scooping and shaping the sorbet, dip the tablespoons in a small jar with cold water. To zest the orange, peel a thin slice and mince with a knife, this works better than using a zester or grater. Be careful to clean up any spills or drips as the purple corn elixir is very colorful and can stain.