Hey everyone! How are you doing? So yeah, let's see how my student exchange is going here in Bratislava. The days are getting colder and greyer. But yesterday the Christmas market was officially opened and it was a wonderful evening. And it also reminded me that I still haven't written about wine festival that I am planing to for, oh, last two months. :) I am feeling at home here, for real now. Not holidays, not some sort of limited time studying here, just home. And it is nice but it also makes me a bit sick, thinking about February when I will need to leave for sure. That's why I don't think about it much. :) I have some really nice experiences with people and I got some weirdo experiences, that occur surprisingly often randomly on the street. No idea what's up with that, I am not used to it. But all in all Blava is still wonderful. I was hoping I will travel around a bit more, but the planed road trips fell apart due to the fact that it is getting late for most castles and a lot of them are under construction. Shucks.
But to the wine festival. In September, the western Slovakia has the wine festivals, the annual ones occurring in Pezinok and Modra, they call it burčiak festival. Burčiak is a very young wine, the tour guide calls it grape cider. Burčiak tastes amazing, like a very good grape juice with tiny, soft bubbles, but it does consist of alcohol, according to Mr. Google, from 4 to 6% of it. So it can bite you in the ass, I mean, you drink it like water. It helps that 2 dcl cost, ladies and gentlemen, 60 cents. Oh yeah. So on 21st September we went to the lovely city of Pezinok. The bus connections Bratislava - Pezinok are really great. The lady at the counter gave as an absurd price for the ticket, but when we got on the bus, we payed only 1.20 for the ride, so maybe she was just messing with us. When you get to Pezinok, you can already see small stands locals put out, in front of their houses, offering their own burčiak. They just bring a table and a couple of chairs on the sidewalk and wait for customers, it looks amusing. :) The road gets completely packed as you approach the city center, so get off the bus as soon as you see the traffic jam.
The crowd on the festival is unbelievable. I usually don't freak out in that kind of crowd only on concerts, I am not a person to be in a large, slowly moving crowd for a very long time. But the food was excellent and burčiak yummy and we managed. I tried a Slovak sweet for the very first time, called trdelník. It originated from Hungary, but is part of Slovak and Czech culinary culture as well. It is essentially a dough, wrapped around a thick stick, then fried and rolled around in whatever flavour you want - cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, walnut ... it does not sound much in theory, but it is crazy good. I of course am a cinnamon addict, so I took cinnamon one and it was heavenly. I also tried lokše, they are some sort of potato pancakes, but they were not good, also my flatmate said this is not how lokše are supposed to taste. So I need to try them somewhere else, right now they are not on my good food list.
Oh yes, the festival itself is actually quite big. I expected a very small town (really not that small), with a very small square (again, not that small) and a couple of stands, offering wine and some food (in fact three long streets of stands on both sides, offering everything from wine, burčiak, cheese, fried food, sweets, spirits, honey, to jewelry, small tourist gifts, and all kinds of toys for children). There was a stage with live music (I was unlucky enough to stumble upon Abba tribute band right as we went there) and on the other side even a small fair, that we did not visit, so I can't tell you much of it. The prices were very decent, they did not overprice their product on the stands (like they are doing now on Christmas market), so you should get your stuff there without feeling guilty about it. :)
It was a lovely event, just be prepared for the crowd. The public transportation from Bratislava is excellent and very cheap, you can get there and back without a problem. And enjoy the burčiak! Lots of it! If you plan on buying it for home, don't forget that it is still fermenting when served and after a week it will change into different kind of beverage.
The church in the middle of the festival, all around it were the stands. No other decent photos of the festival itself, I am afraid, too many people on the photos or they turned out shaky. Ever mentioned I need a new camera?
So if you have a chance and are around Bratislava in the end of September, I do recommend a visit of one of their wine festivals (Rača, Pezinok, Modra, those I know, there is probably many more). :)
Slovak word of the chapter: burčiak [means young wine, or grape cider. A professor of Slovak in Slovenia told me we call it mlado vino].
Thank you for reading and commenting!