Tasty beverages from Podgurschi House
Short distance from the ”Casa Parinteasca” Museum we will find the Podgurchi House, included in the culinary route with two special products: brandy prepared from homemade wine, and fruit liqueur. The householders Tatiana and Dumitru Podgurschi welcome their visitors with open hearts and arms, to tell their ancestors `s history and to speak about their special products which they are so proud of.
In the big courtyard, Tatiana Podgurschi lays the tasting table under a splendid walnut tree. Our host tells us stories about their ancestors, who came here to help building the Hârjauca monastery (which is located at a distance of 3 km from here). Their grandfathers, great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers have lived in Palanca since those times. The Podgurschi House is located in the old yard of Dumitru Podgurschi`s grandfather, from whom they inherited two fruit trees: the walnut tree which hosts us under its branches, and the pear tree which bear the fruits out of which the brandy is made. Both trees are vigorous, despite the fact they are well past 10 years. The grandfather`s house was surrounded by 7 hectares of a plantation with a native variety of wine, called Lidia, though is more known as `black strawberry`. From these old times our hosts inherited the secrets of vineyard care and homemade wine/special liquors manufacturing.
„Once, in older times, we were able to gather 13 boxes of walnuts only from this old walnut tree, tells Tatiana. Nowadays, as a result of the frequent droughts, along with the tree`s old age, the harvest is less significant. Instead, there is room for everybody under the walnut tree – the entire family gets together here”.
The brandy, as well as the fruit liquors, are served traditionally with `balabuște`. These are a sort of Ukrainian baking specialty, made of wheat flour and water, in which salt is added. The house wife makes them as big as a walnut`s size, cuts them in half, and then adds a slice of salted lard bacon. Everything is sprinkled with garlic sauce and garden greens (dill, parsley, thyme). The taste is very particular, and is especially good after a sip of traditional brandy!
The recipe for preparing the liquors is also special – this is a combination between the local winemaking tradition and the householders` secret about proportions, types and combination of the products, a secret which has been polished and refined over the years. The brandy masters say the brandy is prepared out of homemade wine, after it reaches summertime and is perfectly ready to begin a new life. The brandy tasting is a genuine ritual – you need a pear cut in half, core emptied, and filled with brandy. After you take the sip, you have to eat the fruit, which combines perfectly with the taste and flavor of the brandy.
The fruit liquor is made of brandy mixed the fresh fruits, well-ripe and juicy. Sour cherries, peaches, plums, pears, green walnuts – these are the fruits which give the drink truly exceptional savor and taste. The fruits are also served fresh during tasting. We can find there on the table pickled fruits and vegetables, homemade cookies, marigold, basil and mint leaves. All the products are local, organic, grown by the culinary route hosts and their relatives – an extended family which reaches around 40 individuals.
„Our guests are able, besides tasting our products, also to take part in the making process of the products. For example, if they visit us during autumn, they can involve during grape harvest, grape crushing, wine pressing or stum (young wine) tasting. If they would like to come during spring or early summer, they can participate in brandy production”, says, with excitement, Tatiana Podgurschi.
After a long experience of 15 years in the „Casa Parinteasca” Museum team, Tatiana Podgurschi and her husband, are opening wide their gates towards the visitors who want to taste traditional culinary products.
Text in Romanian language: Lilia Curchi
Translation and adjustment: Silvia Ursul and Elena Scobioala