Biska, Medica, Teran Liqueur – The Rise of Istrian Spirits

Total Croatia News

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Croatia’s largest peninsula, Istria, is already well established and known amongst gourmets, especially in Austria, Italy and Germany. The olive oil, truffles, the traditional dishes (influenced by Slavic, Mediterranean and Austrian cuisine) and the creativity of the Chef’s at a handful of the best restaurants have found their way into the most renowned European restaurant guides, many of the country’s celebrity Chef’s and food-trendsetters are also based here. Istrian winemakers have, in a joint effort (!), also positioned the peninsula as the country’s top wine region. (Wine Enthusiasts) placed Istria among the Top 10 Wine-Travel-Destinations of 2015 worldwide. But the Terra Magica still offers lesser known and authentic specialties – meet Biska, Medica (Medovača, Medenica) and the Teran liqueur.

Biska – the Istrian cure for all diseases. Biska is a pomace brandy (pomace brandy, also called marc in both English and French, grappa in Italy, etc., is a liquor distilled from pomace that is left over from winemaking after the grapes are pressed) based spirit enriched through maceration of mistletoe (Viscum album) leafs and herbs in the brandy. Its origin dates back some 2000 years and was brought to Istria by the Celts. Biska is served cold as aperitif or digestive, and of course as an all-curing medicine.

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Medica (Medenica, Medovača) – welcoming drink. The most popular of the Istrian spirits – pomace brandy mixed with good quality Istrian/Croatian honey. Best when served ice-cold in small cold glasses. Traditionally served as welcoming drink and at all festive occasions in Istria.

Teran Liqueur – born out of poverty. The year is long and the booze tends to run out to quickly, the daily hardships are too much to conquer sober and so the hard working Istrian peasant had to learn to make the best he could with very scarce means. The revival of the Teranel or Teranino branded Teran wine based liqueur began only a few years ago, but the sweet liqueur is slowly becoming the star of Istrian spirits. The region’s top distillers have put great effort into creating their own special recipe from late harvest teran grapes, pomace and herbs and you can taste it’s something special.

The best Istrian Biska, Medica and Teran liqueurs come from the following Istrian family owned and run distilleries:

Sinković, San Mauro, Momjan – best price-quality ratio

Aura, Buzet – best designed bottles

Rossi, Bajkini-Vižinada.

The best place and time to taste all the Istrian spirits described here and many more is during the annual Istrian spirits fair which takes place in October in Hum, the world’s smallest town and Istrian spirits capital.


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