November 28, 2008

Boza Drinking Boza
Varna, Bulgaria

Tatiana said that she Googled her name some time ago and came up with information about a Balkans drink called 'Boza' (which also happens to be her father's last name). Here in Bulgaria, we're seeing the stuff for the first time, and thought it fitting to snap a photo of the popular drink that sports one of her surnames.

Tatiana with a bottle of boza (written as 'Боза' in the Cyrillic alphabet)

My guidebook states that tasting boza is something you've got to try in the country, but cautions that it's an "ill-tasting fermented soft drink". However, that's certainly not an opinion shared by us—we like it.

The think brown liquid reminds me of the cooked barley that we've made ourselves for breakfast (nice with a little honey), or blended with other foodstuffs for Aidric. We're quite accustomed to the strong taste of such things, though have a feeling that most tourists gag on the stuff.

From Wikipedia:

Boza is a popular fermented beverage in Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, parts of Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. It's a malt drink, made from corn and wheat in Albania, fermented wheat in Turkey and wheat or millet in Bulgaria and Romania.

It has a thick consistency and a low alcohol content (usually around 1%). One litre of boza contains a thousand calories, four types of vitamins A and B, and vitamin E.

Boza was initially begun to be made by the Central Asian Turks in the 900s.Later on, it spread to the Caucuses and Balkans. It enjoyed its golden age under the Ottomans, and boza making became one of the principal trades in towns and cities from the early Ottoman period. Until the 16th century boza was drunk freely everywhere, but the custom of making the so-called Tartar boza laced with opium brought the wrath of the authorities down on the drink, and it was prohibited by Sultan Selim II (1566-1574).

Boza allegedly has the ability to enlarge women's breasts. It's also recommended to women during their lactation period soon after they give birth as boza stimulates the production of milk.

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