Burčák, also known as young wine, is a popular late summer/early fall beverage in various European countries. But Burčák is not just young – it is partially-fermented wine in an earlier stage of production. Czechs feel strongly about the six-week Burčák season and some even believe that it is healthiest to drink at least seven liters (49 glasses) of it every year. Even though it typically has only 4% alcohol and is super sweet, it has a kick to it and can really sneak up on you.
What is Burčák?
Burcak (In Czech written as Burčák and pronuounced boorchaak) is a young, partially fermented wine. It is also known as Federweisser in Germany, in France as bourru or vernache, and in other places it is know as must. Burcak is what happens when freshly pressed grape juice ferments – it becomes must. Although I have personally tried it in Germany, the real thing comes from the Czech Republic. This is similar to Prosecco, which is only ‘real’ when it comes from specific regions of Italy.
“Czechs but especially Moravians have a very deep, traditional relationship with Burčák, because it is a traditional Moravian beverage. Though Austrians and Germans also produce and consume young wine, only Czechs have Burčák, the name now protected under new legislation within the new EU. Following EU accession the only true Burčák can come strictly from Moravian or Czech grapes.”Radio.cz
Is Burčák Actually Healthy?
Alcohol is like poison to our bodies, so most alcoholic beverages don’t do anything positive when consumed. However, in countries like the Czech Republic, people claim that having a beer a day is healthy. In Ukraine, on the other hand, a shot of vodka is believed to keep away colds and kill viruses. Many doctors around the world do claim that wine actually does have some health benefits – when consumed in moderation. But Burčák is also supposed to be relatively healthy.
Even kombucha is said to contain low levels of alcohol and it is known for being healthy. Burčák also has some benefits from its fermentation process:
“So not only does this wine taste deliciously sweet, apparently there are some health benefits in every glass. It contains lactic acids, Vitamins B1, B2 as well as the vitamins and minerals contained by the grapes. The yeast by-products and lactic acids help purify the body. Wow, why isn’t this stuff on tap year round?”Spicie Foodie
Burčák is one of the few things that I have missed since leaving Europe, but it is also one of the few things that there is no alternative for in the USA (or Asia for that matter.) But the USA is a huge country, so I am still holding out hope that someone, somewhere makes Burčák and is willing to share it with me. It is also a great excuse for me to visit home during Burčák season when travel is possible again.
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