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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Slovakia - The 2010 FIFA World Cup Bites and Boozes

Slovakia

A visit to Slovakia returns Bite and Booze to central Europe for day 10 at the World Cup.  Today they play against Paraguay which also played to a draw in their first game, which makes this match all the more important.  Slovakia is a landlocked country that sits in between Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Ukraine.  Despite their checkered past and previous communist rule the nation has been independent since 1993, is now in a financial rebound with an advanced economy, and has joined onto the Eurozone.  Today we'll look at a couple Slovakian dishes and a wine growing region that used to be part of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Jaternice is a Slovakian sausage that has close ties to the Czech Republic due to the now broken apart Czechoslovakia.  It is also reasonably similar to Cajun boudin in Louisiana.  The sausage uses all parts of the pig, the most popular animal for consumption in Slovakia.  Jaternice mostly contains pork liver, snout, and jowls that are all ground together with spices and grains.  Wild or white rice may be added to the sausage as filler and for flavoring.

Getting a little crazier, Bryndzové Halušky is a Slovakian national dish that roughly translates to potato dumplings with bryndza sheep cheese and bacon.  That doesn't sound so bad!  The boiled lumps of potato dough (similar to gnocchi) are the base for the dish.  The cooked dough is then mixed with the soft sheep cheese and usually topped with sprinkles of bacon or other smoked pork fat.  For the Man vs Food enthusiast in all of us there is a Bryndzové Halušky festival complete with an eating contest every year in the town of Turecka.         


Along the southern border of Slovakia that is shared with Hungary is a very productive wine growing region known as Tokaj.  Tokajsky wine comes from Furmint, Lipovina, and Yellow Muscat grapes to produce a multitude of wine varieties.  The hillsides are made up of volcanic soil and clay where wine production dates back to the 15th century.  Natural cellars are carved into the rock of the hills that provide ideal constant temperatures and humidity for the aging process.

For more information on Slovakian beer, check the BR Beer Scene!

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Thanks and Credits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovakia
http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--38631/jaternice-sausage.asp
http://www.hydinakk.sk/produkt-detail/jaternice/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryndzové_halušky
http://peniaze.pravda.sk/sk-pspotrebitel.asp?c=A080717_210826_sk-psporteb_p01
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokaj_(Slovakia)
http://www.hungarian-wines.co.uk/tokaji-aszu.html