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Sunday, September 16, 2007

A little burcak and cheese...

We have been experiencing a babí léto, literally a grandmother's summer, which is the equivalent to our Indian summer back home. Part of the yearly transition from summer to autumn is Burčák which is derived from fermenting grape juice, known as must, shortly after the grapes have been crushed. At a point determined by the winegrower, the must is deemed worthy of consumption and a part of it is sold as burčák. The rest is allowed to mature into adult wine. The alcohol content of burcak is 5-8%, so it gives quite a kick. But since it is so sweet it can sneak up on the unsuspecting drinker. The country’s best burčák is found in Moravia (the eastern half of the Czech Republic), but plenty of it ends up in Prague.

Today the three of us when to the grounds of Troja palace, next to the Prague zoo, to see vinobraní, the traditional festival celebrating the new wine harvest and burcak. We picked up a litre of burcak and walked the grounds of the castle which still has acres of vineyards. Because of the festival they also had food vendors and music in addition to the dozens of burcak vendors. The processes and recipes of the burcak is closely guarded by each maker so there is a variety of tastes. The first one we tried used white grapes as a base, and we chose it because we prefer white wine to red. The burcak we bought was sweet and tasty, and though it was cloudy, it did not look as much likel muddy water as most of the others, so we decided to just buy a litre rather than continue sampling (plus, I had to drive, so I could only sample a little).

There wasn't much for Noah (no games or anything special for kids) so we stayed an hour and headed home.

Here is what burcak looks like. It tastes better than it looks.

Folks enjoy their burcak overlooking the maze on the grounds of Troja Palace.

One of the bands at the festival. Yes, that's an accordion.

More drinkers. Overlooking the vineyards and Troja palace.

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