Colada Morada y Guaguas de Pan

Colada Morada in the foreground and Guaguas de Pan in the back.

In anticipation of Día de Difuntos, or what is better known in the United States as The Day of the Dead, every cafe in Quito offers Colada Morada and Guagaus de Pan. And while a picture is worth a thousand words, a description of both is in order!


Close up of the Colada Morada so that you can see the bits of fruit.

Colada Morada is a drink. However, it is a pretty thick drink and it includes chunks of fruit. I found it best if I ate it more like a soup. The one I purchased at a local cafe to bring home was a delicious concoction of blackberries, strawberries, pineapple, water, sugar, herbs and spices (this later is a secret, I am sure, so that no one can duplicate this cafe’s special recipe). Two other fruits are included but they don’t have translations. The babaco is a long, green-yellow fruit shaped somewhat like star fruit but much larger with a creamy white interior. It’s incredibly juicy and is most often served as a drink. The naranjilla is related to the tomato. The fruit is small and round, the size of mandarin. Although the fruit is orange colored, its juice is green and acidic. Again, you’ll find it offered as a juice more often than not.

The Spanish word Colada means wash. We would often interpret to mean laundry, as in “Bring in the laundry” or “Bring in the wash”. Morada means purple. I wouldn’t be surprised if many a person drinking Colada Morada was washed purple from the bright hue of the purple fruits.

Guaguas de Pan

Guaguas de Pan are sweet rolls made in the shapes of babies. The word Guagua means baby in Quechua. Pan is the Spanish word for bread. Since they are eaten in honor of the Day of the Dead, some people believe the origin of making them in the shape of children is to honor those children who have died. Guaguas de Pan can come with many different fillings in the middle – chocolate, dulce de leche, or all kinds of fruit jellies.

Traditionally, the drink and bread are served on November 2, the actual Día de Difuntos but the combination is so beloved by the Quiteños that a good week before everyone is meeting to partake of the classic combo.

I have eaten them twice this week already!

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