Sunday, 15 November 2009

Buying Grapes For Rakia For Bulgarians Without Gardens

Buying Grapes For Rakia For Bulgarians Without Gardens

What do you do if you are in Bulgaria and haven’t your own grape production or your vines have failed you this year? Very simple, buy someone else’s grapes. There are so many people I know here who live in an high rise block apartment and just don’t have vines to harvest therefore now stock for rakia making. They still have their year supply of rakia before Christmas as it is made out of grapes that have been bought and some pretty good deals are around for grapes in the height of the harvesting season.

Even though I produced my own grapes, these were made into twine and I personally purchased 150 kg of grapes form a Bulgarian friend whose “Muscat” variety of grape was being sold at 30 stotinki per kilogram. This of course would add to the price of the finished rakia but even taking this into account the rakia produced would still be superior to commercial rakia and of course a fraction of the cost. This is why so many Bulgarians follow this ritual and fight hard to retain the custom that has been with them for as long as they can remember. The EU has other ideas and they have a massive fight on their hands even to the point of revolution over the issue, (Seriously.)

From a point of interest the cost of home produced rakia that include the purchase of grapes from a third party works out at around 2.22 BG Leva (£1 or US$1.50) per litre just for the drinking rakia. This would be reduced to around half (1.11 BG Leva (£0.50 or US$0.75)) if I used my own grape production in the process This compares to the retail cost of between 6 and 7 leva for the cheapest commercial rakia and in most Bulgarian’s opinion, ‘inferior’ compared to their own produced rakia that is created with tender love and affection.
Here are the costs of my grape rakia production this year:

  • 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
  • Raspberry Flavoured Hard Boiled Sweets 2 leva
  • Flour for sealing the kazan 0.50 leva
  • Apples 3 leva
  • Gas for transportation 2 leva

Buying Grapes For Rakia For Bulgarians Without Gardens

The total comes to around 100 BG leva and for the 45 litres of 44% rakia, plus 1.5 litres of 70% rakia for medicinal purposes and 10 litres of sub 40% rakia to be added to the next distilling session. You may think that this is a bargain if ever you saw one but this has increased overt he last few years and the 8 million Bulgarians who just don’t want to lose this massive perk of living here fell hard done by as their income has not risen in line with the increased costs.

DIT rakia making really is the spirit of Bulgaria in more than one sense. Without rakia making in Bulgaria is unimaginable for the vast majority of Bulgarians and the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov included! At least 20% of the conversations that take place at work are about rakia making.

Note: (This really should be read)
The 100 BG leva for this rakia production is equivalent of one week’s minimum wages in Bulgaria or nearly a month’s worth of pension payment so in relevant terms of the cost to the Bulgarian it is expensive just to put the cost in perspective.
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