The potential for traditional food and drink products in Eastern Europe: Fruit processing — especially brandy (“tuica”) distilling —in Romania
The traditional peasant way of life has involved the maximum use of local resources for subsistence with a surplus for commercial activity where local supplies and market conditions allow. In the Subcarpathian region of Romania fruit constitute a major resource and plums have been valued for their usefulness in supplying jam, dried fruit and brandy. The latter product (“tuica”) is still finding a considerable commercial outlet despite the competition from urban-based distilleries and from imported spirits. Despite the discouragement of distilling in rural areas under communism (especially in areas that were collectivised) there are good opportunities today in the context of farm diversification and pluriactivity which is crucial for the survival of small farms in the hill regions of the country. The paper outlines the ways in which plums may be valorised, examines the particular significance of plum brandy and considers the potential for future expansion.