Have you ever wondered why some many people love palinka all around the world? It is not easy to answer such questions but one thing is for sure: palinka or in other words, fruit brandy is an all time favourite among consumers for whom quality and 100% fruit content is extremely important. Some say that anyone can make palinka at home. This statement is not true but there is truth in it. Anyone can make some kind of distillate at home but making true, high-quality palinka requires lots of experience, effort, endurance and of course, love of fruit that we all share at Szicsek Palinka Distillery. We believe that the quality of fruit hugely defines the taste and the aroma of the end product. In order to understand which fruit is the best for making palinka, we gathered some interesting pieces of information so the reader can get a glimpse of how palinka production looks like from the very beginning to the end, in other words, from the tree to the bottle. Let’s dive into the world of Hungarian fruit brandy production and see what we can find there. Are you ready?
Fruits are not exactly the same: the importance of species & varieties
There is a saying in Hungary that many people know: what can be used for making jam is also good for making palinka. This statement is partially true because the process of making high quality palinka is long and requires high quality fruit. Of course, both quality jam and palinka need ’first class’ fruit. The basic ingredient of the excellent mash is excellent pieces of fruit. Award-wining palinka distillers know it very well that rotten or damaged fruit is not suitable for making good quality fruit brandy.
On the other hand, the type and species of fruit is extremely important when it comes to fruity firewater. Each variety has a different sugar content, flavor and – most importantly – different aroma. When you make palinka from different varieties of a particular fruit species, the differences might be surprising. Some species are more fragrant, some are less aromatic, but this does not necessarily mean that the less aromatic fruit species are useless. They can be great ingredients in fruit juice or jams.
Which fruit is the best for palinka production?
One of the most popular palinka fruits is apricot. Yellow like summer sun and sweet like the sweetest candy: these are some of the characteristics that make apricot so attractive for palinka distillers. Some varieties of apricot (for instance, Gönci or Pannonia) are better than the other varieties because they have excellent taste and the tree provides plenty of fruit each year.
Plum is also favourite of many when it comes to Hungarian fruit brandy production due to its special, distinctive aroma. Palinka lovers say that the finest and most delicious palinka is made from the plum variety called ’Besztercei’. Its heavenly taste and nice acidity make it the perfect palinka of all time.
Pear (especially Williams pear), cherry, sour cherry and even quince are fantastic palinka fruits but another surprising yet amazing fruit for palinka production is the underrated apple. Yes, many people would not think of apple as a great palinka ingredient, but it is actually. Autum apple varieties (like Jonathan and Jonagold) are better because their sugar content is higher and they are more succulent than those ripening during the summer season.