Category Archives: Europe

Plum Brandy – Palinca, Slivovitz, Rakia

20130531_172331The wonders of Eastern Europe! The food is cheap, clothes expensive, women are beautiful, and liquor is distilled in everyone’s backyard. One of my favorite liquors around the world include one from Eastern Europe, influenced by my very German mothers side, and further grown through a Romanian relationship. Plum Brandy has got to be one of the tastiest liquors out there. And it is much more popular than one would think, just not in the United States.

20130602_180700There are many variants. Basically the majority of families living in Eastern Europe grow their own food, raise their own live-stock, and distill their own liquor. And what better ingredient to use than the plum, apple, and pear trees which may have spoiled or looks to get close.

Here are a list of common names and where you will find them:

Palinca: Hungary, Romania, and Austria
Slivovitz: Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria
Rakia: Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia

tuica-in-bottlesThe funny thing, everybody stores them in random unused bottles. When individuals travel through the airport, if questioned, they claim it is holy water for their mother. And another juicy nugget, if you ask for Tuica (sri-ca), which simply means fruit mashed liquor / wine, at any bar, even an established chain, you will likely get to sample all the bar tenders home distilled fruit brandy, along with going a very far way to get to know the locals. Try it!

Common Ingredients: plums, apricots, apples, pears, cherries, any fruit that is lying around really. You cannot go wrong.

20130528_145355You can take it a step further and really impress the locals by ordering Ciorba de Burta (Romanian), which is cow stomach stewed in oil, butter, and garlic. I still haven’t mastered that one. Remember to keep the Palinca close by.

Side Notes:

  • Traffic in the city is crazy!
  • Do not drive at night time due to Pot Holes and Night Thieves
  • Don’t be too friendly to stray dogs, it’s a common problem
  • Enjoy! It’s Amazing

Augustiner Braustueberl, Salzburg Austria – Beer Hall Glory!

Lindhofstrasse 7Salzburg A-5020Austria

It was more than ten years since I have been to this Bavarian Beer Hall. And my story just continues to morph as I continue to tell it. Maybe this post will straighten things out a bit.

We were basically kids at the time, exploring Europe on a backpacking trip, when we ran into an English Teacher in our Hostel (best way to find new things). He invited us out and took us to the Augustiner Braustueberl Beer Hall, a local pub.

Augustiner_Braustueberl_entranceWe must have entered in the back because I remember seeing large arched doorways in all wood. I did find a picture of the front. They have tons of Bicycle racks.

After getting in, it was time to select what size mug you want, obviously we all chose the large compared to the small. The mugs were regularly being cleaned out and re-stacked like clock-work.Augustiner_Braustueberl_mugs

Augustiner_Braustueberl_mug_cleanIt was a good idea to make sure you also did a follow up rinse. Not to worry, the alcohol content in the beer will take care of any germs. I remember telling the story as the rinsing station was really a fountain of beer. I guess after a couple my story got a bit convoluted. The real beer was out of wooden casks that stayed in cool temperatures naturally cooling the booz.

Augustiner_Braustueberl_crowdOnce you grab your food and drink, you can either sit outside or inside. We visited in the Winter time so naturally the inside hall was packed. What happened next, is something that I had never really seen before. It must of been a special event or this happens every day. Everyone was dressed in a very dutch style, lederhosen and all. Before we knew it, the locals were putting their arms around us, inviting us to dance, be merry, and joyful. It was quite an experience. Very highly recommended. So much so that I had to post about my adventure 10 years ago.

To date, Salzburg Austria remains to be one of my favorites in the world. The tiny city that sits in between a river and cliff ledge being the Alp Mountains. We went skiing shortly after and extended our original 2 day trip to 5 days, because we enjoyed ourselves, the view, the locals, and the food / drinks so much!