Wild Quince Rakija
Distilled and fermented beverages - Serbia
Wild quince rakija is produced with fully matured quince fruits. Quince was brought to Serbia by Turks during Ottoman empire. This traditional brandy has its origins in Rajac, Negotinska Krajina and some other areas in Serbia. Quince possess a relatively low sugar content. 70 kg of fruit is necessary to produce 1 liter of brandy. The fruit is milled and left to ferment from autumn to spring. A few kilograms of fresh, healthy quince fruits are preserved for this moment to be chopped and added to strengthen the aroma of the brandy. A beautiful, fruity aroma without a high alcohol percentage makes this brandy easy to drink. However, despite it's high quality, it is difficult to sell for more than €20 per liter, even though it should be more expensive when compared to brandy made with cultivated quince,which is less aromatic. Recently, this brandy gained some popularity and the slightly higher prices are attracting many cheap imitations; often, alcohol is enriched by artificial aromas or chemicals or sugar is added in the process. These imitations lead to a decrease in price for real quince brandies, it difficult for producers of the traditional rakija to compete and survive. In intensive agriculture zones, hedgerows are being removed together with quince trees, and in abandoned rural areas, there is no population to collect the fruits. It is scattered around fields making it time consuming and cost inefficient to collect. The timing that must be followed in the production process also limits the number of producers willing to make the wild quince brandy, making this traditional product quite rare today.