Zivania (also Zivana) ( _el. Ζιβανία) is a traditional Cypriot beverage, a
distillateproduced in the island of Cyprusfrom pomace(or marcs), the residue of grapes that were pressed during the winemaking process (including the stems and seeds) mixed with high-quality dry wines produced from the local grape varieties of Cyprus. The pomace/wine mixture is then distilled in special traditional distillation apparatus, producing zivania. Zivania is characterized by its typical taste and aroma. It is colorless and it has a pleasant alcoholic with light aroma of raisins. The typical alcoholcontent is 45% by volume. It contains no sugars and has no acidity.
Zivania has been produced in Cyprus since the time the
Republic of Veniceruled the island, around the end of the 14th century. Evidence of its continued production during the Ottoman and British occupation of the island comes from writers such as the British writer Samuel Bakerwho in 1879 reports: "...the refuse of skins and stalks is laid upon one side to ferment for the manufacture of raki, or spirit, by distillation...". [cite book | author = Samuel W. Baker | title = Cyprus, as I Saw it in 1879 | page = 120 | year = 1879 | publisher = Project Gutenberg (Etext edition, 2003) | url = http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3656] Since 2004, Zivania has been protected under EU regulations as a product unique to Cyprus and as such cannot be produced in any other country and marketed under that name ["EU declares zivania uniquely Cypriot, Cyprus Mail archive article - Thursday, October 26, 2006" [http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id=28640&archive=1] ] .
In order to produce zivania of the highest quality, mature healthy grapes of the best quality are used. The grape
mustto be used for the fermentation should be of less than 13° Baumé, in order to get perfect fermentation. As soon as the fermentation process is complete (i.e. less or equal to 0° Baumé reading) the wine and pomace are transferred to the main container of the distillation apparatus, "kazani" (Greek: καζάνι), and the distillation process begins. The last zivania coming out of the apparatus is called "porakos" (Greek: πόρακος) and it has a low alcohol content. There are mainly three types of distillation processes:
* Only wine is used for the distillation
* Wine and pomace are used for the distillation
* Pomace with water and weak zivania ("porakos") are used
Depending on the distillation process, different qualities of zivania can be produced.
torage and Transportation
Zivania is usually stored in clean wooden or
galvanisedmetal containers that can be sealed in order to contain evaporation. During transportation good care is taken not to damage the containers or allowing leakage or evaporation of zivania.
Other than enjoying zivania as an alcoholic drink, it is used in Cyprus for several other purposes. It is used to treat wounds, for massaging sore body parts, as a remedy for colds, toothaches or as a warming-up drink during the cold months of winter, especially at villages on the
Troodosmountains. In the old times, the main alcoholic drinks Cypriots consumed were wine and zivania. In some villages of Cyprus, cinnamonwas added to zivania giving it a nice red color and a fine aroma and flavor. As zivania ages it becomes better and more aromatic. Aged zivania was valued very high and was kept for consumption during special occasions or as a treat for visitors. Even nowadays at some villages in Cyprus, visitors will be welcomed to a home with zivania served together with almonds, walnuts, loukoumi, soutzoukosor small appetizers like loukaniko(traditional Cypriot sausage), or lountza(traditional Cypriot smoked pork loin).
To establish the authenticity of zivania chemical studies were contacted to investigate which of the metals analyzed constitute diagnostic parameters that establish authenticity. The results of the studies establish that zivania is related to the unique geological and climatic conditions existing on the island of Cyprus. ["Authenticity of the Traditional Cypriot Spirit "Zivania" on the Basis of H NMR Spectroscopy Diagnostic Parameters and Statistical Analysis" [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/2005/53/i13/abs/jf0495800.html] ] ["Authenticity of the traditional Cypriot spirit zivania" [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14518949&dopt=Abstract] ]
Zivania is served ice-cold with the local
meze, soutzoukosor dried fruit and nuts.
Pomace brandySpirits similar to zivania are Greek tsipouro, Cretan tsikoudia(or raki), Balkan rakia, piscoand Italian grappa.
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