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Palinka - Willi Johnson

How great it feels to be back home after so many years. I wish I would have done it earlier. When I think about it, I don’t know for sure why I had to wait so long to return. I could have done it a few years back. Maybe that would have been wiser. 

Anyway, point is that I am loving it. Within the past two weeks I have been meeting a lot of people: old friends, cousins, other family members, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances, and so on. All of them welcomed me and received me so well. It made my staying so enjoyable, so worriesless. 

The Eastern European hospitality is well known world wide. If you never travelled so far throughout Eastern Europe, take my word: you ought to do it. Besides the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful pittoresque cities, and  the delicious cuisine, the warmth of the people is amazing. Wherever I have been, everyone tried to feed me, offered me drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages). They even gave me some as giveaways or souvenirs. 

Unfortunately I won’t be allowed to bring back home more than two liters of alcohol. Otherwise I would have had my suitcase filled with bottles of the local homemade brandy which is made out of fruits. This brandy is called Palinka. I don’t think I have ever tasted something more smoother than this drink. 

Can you believe it that they made it so strong that some of it reach ninety degrees? It makes your mouth and throat be on fire! But it’s the good type of fire. It does not burn your tongue, esophagus or your guts. It’s healthy! Actually the locals drink a shot of it on empty stomach before each meal. They say it kills germs and creates the appetite. I tried it too. I drank on empty stomach and I ate as much as a hungry wolf would. I could not believe the amount of food I had for breakfast after having a shot of Palinka. 

A few years back, I looked for the Palinka in the SAQ and LCBO stores. I could not find anything similar to it. Luckily, I met someone who knows how to make it. While I was waiting for my wife who was having her varicose vein treatment Rosemere, I ran into an old acquaintance from my home country. I knew he had emigrated as well, but I did not know a lot of details about his life. All I knew was that he was working in IT for a Montreal based company.


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