During the holiday of El Día de Los Difuntos, or Day of the Deceased, families gather together to remember and visit their relatives at the cemetery – see previous post.  But they also spend time together celebrating each other.  In many households, it is the tradition to cook a sweet, thick, fruity drink called Colada Morada.  To learn more about any Ecuadorian tradition, I always ask my Spanish Teacher, Leticia.  So, when I asked her about this special drink, she invited me to her home to find out for myself.  I spent all day cooking and learning and laughing with her wonderful family.  I’m so grateful to them for sharing their day with me. 
This is Leticia with Solomé, her niece, who is a student at my school.  To make Colada Morada, you start by sorting, cleaning and cooking wild blueberries.  
This is Leticia’s daughter Scarlett, cutting a fruit called babaco into chunks.
Babaco is a fruit in the papaya family. 
Everybody in the the family helped to prepare this feast and Leticia’s dad, Victor,
was tasked with the pineapple. 
My job was to cut up the strawberries. 
Colada Morada takes a lot of fruit. 
In the meantime, Leticia was adding two different kinds of blackberries to the blueberries and cooking them all together. 
Then, we strained the berries and blended them into a thick syrup. 

I recognize that!  I have seen those herbs being sold in bunches on the street corners.  Leticia’s mom, Maria, and her sister, Marcela, put them into a pot with water, and added the peelings and cores of all the fruits we had cut up.  They also added cinnamon sticks and cloves,
cooking it together for a long time to make a flavorful broth.
In the meantime, her brother and dad, both named Victor, had started a fire outside on the grill.  
The pureed berries and strained broth were all added to a mixture of sugar and corn flour.

Finally, we added the chunked up fruit mixture and cooked and stirred for a long time.  To keep the coals intense, I watched Leticia’s brother blow air through a pipe.  Ingenious!

Meanwhile, Marcela started cooking pristiños, small fried bread, to accompany our fruity treat. 
I was helping make the bread and decided to make my own version of “Guagua de Pan”
When all was cooked, we filled our mugs and had a feast on this thick, flavorful drink, which is the definition of “Colada” in Spanish.  “Morada” is the color purple.  Looking at the huge kettle of Colada Morada, I asked Maria how long it will take her family to drink all of that.  
She laughed, and replied, “It will be gone in less than a week.”
It was delicious!