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PostSubject: Bulgarian Rakia   Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:37 am

[size=55:7hvaslfr]novinite 14 September 2010

Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU



Bulgaria will attempt to patent rakia with the EU as its national product in a bid to lower excise taxes and curb illegal production.

The procedure has been discussed with Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov and is currently under review from the Ministry of Economics.

Besides having a significance for the national traditions and spirit of member states, this move might well have beneficial effects to local producers and state budget alike.

First, a patenting of the alcoholic beverage would lead to the opportunity for Bulgaria to impose excise tax on rakia which is 50% of regular rates.

Second, representatives of the National Vine and Wine Chamber argue that that would lead to a curb in illegal production, and thus greater revenue for the state.

This move has been successfully applied in a number of EU member states.

According to data from the Chamber, there are officially around licensed 1100 producers of spirits, while their total number might reach as high as 20,000.

The chair of the Vine and Wine Chamber estimates that the share of the black market in alcohol might be as high as 50% or more.

A reduction in the black market might improve the quality of alcohol consumed by Bulgarians, but might also hit at some home distillers who produces some of the finest rakia in the country.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:24 pm

Well if they are successful it should go down well with some drinkers Bulgaria
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:37 pm

Even a watered down version of this could put a Horse to sleep for a week :Very funny 2:Here's some facts

Rakia is Bulgaria's national drink. It is part and parcel of everyday life here, and somehow Bulgaria wouldn't be the same without it.

"
Rakia and Salad"
, is a combination unsurpassed and is the perfect compliment of food and drink in Bulgaria.

For many generations rakia has been made in the Bulgarian villages, just like its younger sister, wine. There is much talk about who has the best rakia in the village and it seems that every household has the best rakia in the area! Bulgarian's are very proud of the rakia they make and are not shy in showing it off and forcing upon guests in rather large quantities.
Most rakia bought from supermarket, shops and drunk in restaurants and bars is commercially made and essentially made from grapes. Many good brands of grape rakia are about, along with a few commercial brands made from "
sliva"
, plum.
There remains an enormous market in Bulgaria for this and you will see bars, shops and supermarkets where the shelves have a greater selection of rakia than any other type of drink.
But far more interesting is the home made rakia, where standards and quality are as diverse as you could imagine. It is very common for home-made rakia to exceed the quality of top brand names. Bulgarian's by nature would back this up on every occasion, stating that their home-made rakia is far better than anything on the commercial market.

Rakia is basically made from wine which is then distilled into spirit. There are many types of rakia with different base ingredients.
The bulk of rakia is made from the sliva fruit, (plum). You will see countless sliva trees everywhere you look in Bulgaria.
he fruit comes in many colours from yellow through to pink and on to black. The size of the fruit also varies from a small marble size to a large egg size. Rakia is also made from grapes which usually come from the sediment left over from wine making. The fermenting process is restarted by adding more sugar and water.
Rakia is also made from apples, pears, melons and other fruits that are not suitable eaten or bottled. In essence the rakia is made from waste ingredients. it is a great joy and occasion to go and gather the sliva on a lovely dry summer's day. The time is chosen when the fruit is about to drop from the trees from the weight of their ripeness.

Bulgarians being so practical, do not pick the fruits but place a sheet under the trees, climb up the tree then violently shake the branches to a shower of sliva which lands on the sheet. The sheet is gathered up and the slivi picked over for twigs and leaf debris.
The crop is then taken to an outbuilding where the barrel is now filled to 1/3 full of sliva and topped up with a ratio of 3 litres of water to every 1 kg of sugar.
With a 240 litre barrel they add 75 litres of water and 25 kg of sugar. The mixture is then stirred and the fruits crushed by hand at least twice a day for the next three weeks, with the fermentation starting almost immediately in the warm August weather.
Once the mixture is no longer bubbling it is technically wine but not very nice to drink, this is the stuff from which rakia is made.
In every village and town there are rakia houses specially built for the use of the community. There can be anything from one to five stills in each house, and the smell once experienced tells you exactly where you are.
These houses are managed by a "
responsible person"
, usually a man, and are supervised by the Mayor who grants permission for the rakia to be made ensuring it is solely for personal consumption.
An appointment has to be booked well in advance, as from August through to the end of November these facilities are heavily used.
There is a charge of anything from 10 - 15 leva for the use of a still and the equipment there. A receipt is given, in triplicate of course, which is also accountable to the Mayor.

Once booked, the day is eagerly anticipated, as it is an excuse for eating, drinking and talking with the expectation of a year's supply of rakia. This is also a day where there would be no time for work anywhere else as the process takes up to 5-6 hours.
Distillation day has arrived, but much preparation has to be made the day before. The use of the rakia house is one thing, but everything has to be supplied and taken to the rakia house by trailer or cart.
For a start, how do you lift a 240 litres barrel of wine onto a trailer or cart? Bulgarians don't! An empty barrel is placed on the cart and a bucket is used to transfer the wine from one to the other. This is also a team effort where at least two, and in some case up to five people help. With trailer or cart being shared by more than one family this is quite common.
There is the wood for the fire which has to be provided which also has to be taken to the rakia house. This is loaded up around the barrel jamming it against the sides of the cart to stop it toppling over on the rough tracks en route to the still. Then there is the flour that has also to be taken to use as a seal for the copper stills.

The ingredients are ready and outside the rakia house for the distilling operation.

The still is primed with a little coriander seed and other, "
family secret"
additives. Once the wine has been transferred by a chain of helpers and buckets from the barrel, the flour, which is mixed with a little water to make a dough, is then moulded around the still and pipes to seal them and make them air tight.
The fire is lit and the waiting begins. It takes about an hour before the wine is hot enough to produce steam which is then forced through the sealed pipes into the cooling condenser. In the meantime, the fire heating the wine is used to cook food on a grate.
Whilst the waiting goes on, other villagers' rakia is sampled and beer and wine is brought in along with food by the wives who set up a picnic in the house.

The first drops of rakia are eventually produced, turning into a continuous stream of spirit that subsequently runs into a bucket. This is transferred into a plastic container which is measured every so often for the alcohol content.
The first samples are usually between 65-70% proof but as the process carries on it drops to 50%. The last trickles can be as low as 25-30% and are stored separately as it is not good enough to drink and added to the next batch of distillation. In effect being double distilled.
Nothing is wasted in Bulgaria. From a 240 litre barrel of slivi wine there should be about 30 litres of rakia whose overall proof should be around 45-55%. The optimum proof level is between 45-50% and mineral water is added to bring this down.

The fresh rakia is now back at home, but it is another three weeks before it becomes drinkable. Peeled and cut apples are put in a net bag and a certain type of wood placed in the rakia barrel. This is to change the colour from crystal clear to a distinctly rakia smoky coloured spirit.
There are normally two rakia making sessions during the season. The sliva rakia taking place in August to September and the grape rakia from the end of September to the end of November.
The grape rakia is an every day drink, but home made sliva is a much prized item and drunk on special occasions.

Rakia making is part of the way of life in Bulgaria. In the villages and smaller towns it is part of their seasonal routine.
It is now big news that this home-made rakia will become a thing of the past with Bulgaria's inclusion in the European Union. Officially, this will be the end of home-made rakia in Bulgaria, but being Bulgaria, the art will still go on.

It was believed that rakia was first created in the 16th century in the Balkans, the location unknown, but the recent discovery of wording on on a sherd of pottery (Аз пих ракиня на празника - I have drunk rakinja at the celebration (rakinja being the old word for rakia)) may indicate its presence in 14th century Bulgaria. This discovery may strengthen the case for rakija's Bulgarian origins and allow its designation by the European Union as a national drink, with a consequent allowance to lower excise duty domestically.
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:47 pm

According to data from the Chamber, there are officially around licensed 1100 producers of spirits, while their total number might reach as high as 20,000.
Quote :

Try about 6 million licences? This will push the village stills inside the properties.Might see a load of Lada's running around painted up like the 'General-Lee' doing the Rakia runs like in the Dukes of Hazzard!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:00 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
According to data from the Chamber, there are officially around licensed 1100 producers of spirits, while their total number might reach as high as 20,000.
Quote :

Try about 6 million licences? This will push the village stills inside the properties.Might see a load of Lada's running around painted up like the 'General-Lee' doing the Rakia runs like in the Dukes of Hazzard!!!


You do have a good point there but what do you mean by licences
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:15 pm

the villagers can always label it as antifreeze or whatever else they use it for! they have 101 uses for it! mainly elbow de-grease lol

in england jack and jill used vinegar and brown paper when jack bumped his head,
the villagers just use a dirty hanky and rakia!

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:28 pm

I tell you what its brilliant for removing stains too
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:32 pm

Rakia has nearly as many uses as Vinegar.

Drink one is fine g

Two and I am in love H

Three and I'll fight anyone

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:15 pm

I NEED TO BE "
PIANKERED"
TO DRINK THE STUFF

IF I RUB IT ON THE WIFE, WILL SHE GO AWAY??? LMAO!!! ::

ONLY JOKING STEPH LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:45 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Even a watered down version of this could put a Horse to sleep for a week

Your right Sallyann unfortunately the one I drank was more akin to battery acid. I felt it burn all the way down my throat until it reached my stomach, luckily for my digestive system it had no after affects!!

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:40 pm

My wife,s parents make gallons of it every year, we have always got a bottle or two here in UK, i am not a great fan but do drink it just to be sociable, although it was very nice hot and sweetened the other Xmas (whilst the dirty deed with the pig was going on).
Some of the more expensive shop bought ones are not too bad, the best one I have tasted was from the Burgas area.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:48 pm

mike&tanya wrote:
My wife,s parents make gallons of it every year, we have always got a bottle or two here in UK, i am not a great fan but do drink it just to be sociable, although it was very nice hot and sweetened the other Xmas (whilst the dirty deed with the pig was going on).
Some of the more expensive shop bought ones are not too bad, the best one I have tasted was from the Burgas area.

Well done Mike. Like me at least you have tried it, and given the stuff fair trial g.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:49 am

The best I've ever tasted was home-made by our neighbour, Ivan.

Fortunately, he's an ambulance driver and used to 'assisting people get home' [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:45 am

I remember a couple of years ago being called round to a neighbours house to have a look at his brew and when he lifted the lid to give it a stir there was all sorts in it including dead and live flies so that put me off trying any home made stuff. I know the alcohol would have destroyed all bacteria but still it was the thought of drinking dead flies etc that made me think twice about ever drinking it so for me its a no!
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria to Try to Patent Rakia in the EU   Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:11 pm

[size=55:18fi4iz4]novinite

Bulgaria Cracks Down on Poor Quality Rakia, Wine

Bulgarian producers and sellers of alcoholic drinks of suspicious origin will face hefty fines, the government decided on Wednesday, bringing local laws in line with EU legislation.

Fines will range fro BGN 3 000 to BGN 30 000.

The executive vine and wine agency, which is part of the Agriculture Ministry, will be required to make public the names of legal alcohol producers on its website.

They in turn will be obliged to describe the content of the alcoholic drinks and and the technological process for its production in special logs.

The new regulations stipulate that wine should be made of grapes only and fix the minimum alcohol content – for the traditional alcoholic drink rakia it has been set at 37,5%.

The ethyl alcohol used in alcoholic drinks must be obtained solely by fermentation of agricultural products, under the new rules.

The number of methyl alcohol poisoning cases has been on the increase in Bulgaria over recent years after illegal producers started using methylated spirit, meant for spirit burners and camping stoves.

Methanol, a toxic industrial alcohol, is often used to make stronger cheap, home-made brew. It can cause blindness or death.

For Bulgarians drinking the locally produced alcoholic drink rakia has turned into nothing short of a cultural activity.

A shopska salad with a glass of rakia has long been the epitome of Bulgarian hospitality, while its touted role of a flawless trouble-shooter - a standing joke among Bulgarians themselves.

The popular local drink, made of well fermented, stewed grapes or plums and sold in glass narrow-necked bottles, is most loved when produced in the micro distilleries of small villages.

In Bulgaria the liquor, taken as some to be a digestive, is taken before the meal, which to many foreigners is one of the first culture shocks they face here.

Many Bulgarians have become almost professionals in the art of drinking, turning it into one of the more notable traits of the nation – they are generally capable of gulping down amazing quantities of hard liquor before tumbling into unconsciousness.

Besides, home-brewed rakia comes out much less demanding on the wallet than a visit to the theatre or cinema. It is small wonder than scenes of teens hitting the bottle, suffering binge misadventures on holidays or overindulging on weekend nights are quite common.

Even today foreigners who visit the country are swooned by the low drink prices and often surpass their usual quota.

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