Only the yellow and red berries are perfect for making the local spirit, aguardente de Medronho. In the old days whole families walked through the serra to pick berries. It was a social happening. Nowadays, this tradition is slowly dying, because the younger generations do not have the time for this and many of them are leaving the countryside to live and work in the cities.
It takes between 7 and 10 kilograms of fruit (depending on the quality) to make 1 liter of medronho. The picked fruit is stored in barrels, sealed with a waterlock and has to ferment for approximately 2-3 months. The actual distillation takes place in a straight pipe alembic made from copper, heated by a slow fire. This method of distilling was passed from generation to generation for hundreds of years.
When European law wanted to stop this old tradition , a lot of farmers went "underground" and the good stuff is now unfortunately only available "under the table". Legally you are allowed to make 30 liters of medronho for your own use only.
To recognise a good quality medronho you put a little amount of it on your hands, rub them together and smell. If you can smell the fruit after the alcohol evaporates, you can be sure to enjoy a good mendronho.
And then you propose a toast: A nossa saude ! (On our good health!)
In : food and drink
Tags: medronho aguardente strawberry tree arbutus unedo