hidden europe 21

National tipples

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: Everyday Russian life: kvass for sale from a yellow barrel (photo © hidden europe).


When did you last see a bottle of Unicum for sale outside Hungary? We try out a few drinks that are inexorably associated with a particular region: from Kvint to kvass, from Irn-Bru to Almdudler.

Say what you eat, and we'll tell you who you are. That was the simple punchline in an article we published last November in hidden europe 17. It explored the relationship between national identity in Europe and the dishes that are served up on our dinner tables. But what of drinks? Are not beverages equally revealing?

In the last issue of the magazine, we had an en passant referenc to Vov, a peculiarly Italian liqueur. It was in connection with Umberto Nobile’s journey to the North Pole in 1928. Only an Italian could possibly have suggested, upon having arrived at the North Pole, that the most obvious thing to do was to open a bottle of Vov.

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