Still Picking Daily Produce For Lunch In Bulgaria

It is quite a bonus that even in mid November I am still picking fresh peppers and tomatoes from the factory farm daily for my lunch. Even though the main crops of tomatoes and peppers had been harvested and now stored for the winter, the growing continues alongside aubergines that are still being picked. How long these free lunch treats go on for I guess is in the hands of the weather. There is no forecast of sub-zero nights this week, so it will carry on I suppose – To Christmas? Who knows?

Cabbages have now been preserved are in a 240 litre barrel of salt water and some cut up peppers, green tomatoes and carrots and local herbs for salads through to April. A new batch of grape rakia was made last Tuesday, it took all night to distil with me loosing a complete night of sleep, but it was worth it with over 40 litres of 58% rakia now sitting. This should be ready to drink after being diluted with spring water once thirty days have passed, also with the addition of submerging mulberry wood for colour and cut apples dangling in a pair of tights. The quantity should therefore rise to around 45-47 litres. With the addition of the remainder of the previously distilled sliva rakia (30 litres) the rakia stock will be sure to last a year. So much for the taxing of home made rakia that exceeds 30 litres! I don’t know any Bulgarian who makes less that 30 litres and none who pay tax on excess of this.

Just in case you are interested the cost of making the 45 litres of 44% rakia is made up as follows:

  • 150 kg Grapes 45 leva
  • 20 kg sugar 28 leva
  • Rakia house fees 15 leva
  • Wood for the kazan 3 leva
  • Salt 0.15 leva
  • Bicarbonate of soda 2 leva
  • Sweets 2 leva
  • Flour for sealing the kazan 0.50 leva
  • Apples 3 leva

I bought the grapes from a friend at work and used raspberry flavoured hard-boiled sweets instead of coriander as an experiment. The total cost was 98.65 leva, say 100 leva with a little gas for transportation. This works out that one litre of home made rakia cost 2.22 leva which is about £1 or $1.50! The cheapest rakia in shops at 40% is priced at around 6-7 leva three time the cost and in most people’s opinion inferior. With this in mind you can see the appeal and why Bulgarian oppose the EU for trying to take this wonderful tradition say more a ritual, that remains in Bulgaria for the time being.

Perhaps this post is more pertaining to my Rakia Site, which has a poll running on whether tax should be paid on home made rakia.

In the meantime I hope to enjoy this last batch of rakia with family and friends with the stock of salads over the festive season and beyond. It is of course the life and soul of the Bulgarian kitchen table.

Sorry no pictures, still no digital camera right now.
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