But experienced rakija producers know exactly when it’s time for the next step. Ripening lasts from spring through summer for most fruit. Have you got your copy of the Croatian Desserts cookbook? Šporki Makaruli. A few examples are: Vilijamovka or kruškovača – from pearsJabukovača – from applesSadna rakija – from a fruit medleyDunjevača – from quincesKajsijevača – from apricotsDrenovača – from cornelian cherry. However, exact grape varieties are less important when it comes to rakija than when it comes to wine. Variations aside, one thing matters the most: domaća rakija [homemade brandy] is the best. Twice-distilled rakija is called prepečenica. Lozovača (also known as loza or lozova rakija) is created from grapes picked right off the vine. Other grapes are pressed for juice and wine while the pomace leftover is made into komovica. Don’t be ashamed if you didn’t know to sip it before your first foray into rakija drinking, however. 3.8 out of 5 stars. "Then, the fruit is left to grow up!" The most popular alcoholic drink in Croatia is, in fact, rakija. Here’s ones of the reasons šljivovica stands out. Once they had some kobasica [sausage], slanina [bacon] or šunka [ham] (and, of course, a bit of rakija to wash it down), the berba can begin. King of the Balkans’ backyard drinking scene, rakia is the traditional firewater of choice in Dubrovnik. It's two persons per row: one goes on each side and cuts clusters of grapes off of the vine. And this liquid is rakija. "We have people in our berba that are older than our vineyard", Đuka jokes, laughing with his parents. Croats say peći rakiju [to cook rakija]. When visiting any of the Balkan countries, it is inevitable that you will come across this spirit in more than one instance and it is imperative that you know how to drink it when you do! In Lika, for example, there is rakija made from hawthorns: glogova rakija or glogovača. While the berba is ongoing, another woman and I cook food for later. Grapes, on the other hand, are cut from the vine with gardening shears. Lika is also proud of drenovača or rakija od drijenka (cornelian cherry brandy). Ivanovo Brdo is part of the foothills of the Dilj Mountain, which straddles Slavonski Brod from the north, along with the Sava River from the south. Rakija is by far the most popular alcoholic drink in the country of Croatia. Blossoms are pollinated by bees, and then the tree or vine bear fruit. A commonly added herb is sage, thought to heal respiratory ailments and contain antibacterial properties. Rakija lowers blood pressure, making us feel colder. How to Travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by Bus, Train & Car, How to Get from Sarajevo to Mostar by Bus, Train, Car or Tour. See our privacy here. As its leaves turn from green to orange and gold, its fruit ferments. This is the case with smokovača [fig rakija], rogačica [carob rakija], and medica (honey rakija). You can learn how to bake Croatian sweets, of course, using rakija and liqueurs. To create this guide, we enlisted the master help of the Đurčević family. It’s a strong drink – domestic forms of rakija will have an alcohol content of over 40%, commercial brands slightly less – so it’s important to keep track of how much of the stuff you’re quaffing. click here to get a quote from WorldNomads, 8 Great Reasons to Visit Cartagena, Spain, The Best Coat for London Winter (or Spring & Autumn! – or the attention of too many hungry Slavonian rust mites. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Though you can certainly get mass-produced bottles of rakija from a supermarket or a liquor store throughout the Balkans, the majority of rakija is made at home and locals will assure you that the homemade stuff is the right one to drink. Thou shalt know what to say. Wine increases blood pressure, making us feel hotter. Rakia, rakija or Raki, is the collective term for fruit spirits popular in the Balkans. If you want to sip rakija off of an extensive menu with a knowledgable staff, head to Rakia Bar which is located not far at all from Republic Square. Once the fruit is mature it's time for the harvest. Grapes are then categorized. Standard Size 750 ml (1) Maraska Kosher Slivovitz 750ml. Take the quiz and get a tailor-made list of the best places to visit in Croatia. If you're looking to lowers your stress levels, throw in a few sprigs of thyme, too. Our most common dishes for the berba are chicken paprikaš [a hearty stew enriched with paprika spices] as well as prase na ražnju [pig on a spit]. Every culture has its spirit, and rakija is Croatia’s. You may also encounter Osjecko (in fact, the oldest beer in Croatia – first brewed in 1697 and from Osijek, again hence the name); the dark beer Tomislav an… You might even hear that something is žensko piće [a woman’s drink] if it’s not as strong as a real rakija. Simply put, rakija is a brandy that comes in various flavors, colors, and levels of intensity. The longer the fruit ferments, the bigger the krovina grows. •, get to know a culture is through its food. Rakija might be a classic souvenir to take home following a trip to Serbia, but it isn’t some sort of gimmick alone. Another is the immunity-boosting rosemary. After all has been eaten at the Đurčević family berba; only a few slices of makovnjača remain on the table. The most common fruit-based rakijas get their names after the fruit they are distilled from. Check your inbox for the email from Andrea Pisac. Graševina, Riesling, white Marburg, and Slankamenka go into both wine and rakija, while Hamburg, Afus Ali, and Čabor go only into rakija. Whether you're making rakija from a fruit grove or a vineyard, you'll have to participate in the springtime process of pruning – or rezidba in Croatian. Ica chimes in, "Guests can stay for a long time, though, it can turn into a party. Rakija is one of the more common liquors, resembling jet fuel in taste. The normal alcohol percentage of Rakia normally is 40%, but home made Rakia can be as strong as 80%. The grape-based lozovača might not be ready until fall, but plums, for example, can be distilled as early as July. The kazan used by the Đurčević family in their 2020 pečenje. Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. After that, it is left to ferment for a number of weeks — usually 3 weeks if making it in the warm late summer, when it is most common. ), Richmond Park Walks: A Perfect London Day Hike. Fruits like apples and plums are shaken from their branches and collected on the ground. The first sip is meant to be taken slowly and as it generally has quite a high alcohol content — it is altogether wiser to pace yourself while drinking, anyhow. In the Đurčević family, this process is overseen by the watchful eye of Ica or Đuka who make sure the fruits don't catch disease. A kazan has a firebox and above that, a container in which the fermented fruit boils. These drinks also contain high percentage of alcohol. Croatia’s old dining tradition is still strong, but it is changing as citizens shift their work hours, eating habits, and culinary awareness.. Breakfast & Gablec-- Western-style breakfast (doručak: eggs, pastries, meats, cereals) is served at larger hotels and restaurants throughout Croatia. We don't add any yeast, the yeast microorganisms on our grapes do their part.". 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