Distilling period of Tsikoudia in Crete has already started …
Tsikoudia (τσικουδιά) –or also commonly raki (ρακή) in the eastern part of Crete– is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume. Tsikoudia is made by distilling of pomace, i.e., the pieces of grapes (sometimes including the stems and seeds) that were pressed for the winemaking process. The pomace is kept for about six weeks after the grapes have been pressed, in a tightly-sealed barrel, and then the fermented mush is distilled.
It is similar to tsipouro made in mainland Greece, to the Spanish orujo, French marc, Georgian chacha, Portuguese bagaceira and Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian (in Istria: rakija and grappa), Romanian tescovină, Albanian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Turkish rakı. In the eastern part of Crete tsikoudia is commonly referred to as “raki“, but apparently less so in the west.
It is often home-produced by individuals in villages throughout Crete, and so the alcohol content varies by producer. Typically each Cretan village has one or two residents who are licensed to distill, and tsikoudia is produced continuously for two or three weeks in late October and early November.
Tsikoudia is sometimes served cold from a bottle kept in a freezer. This is commonly offered as an after dinner digestif and in most tavernas in Crete it is offered as a complimentaryaperitif with fruits and sweets after the meal.
“Festivalaki” is a contemporary festival coming from Crete! It is an annual, multifarious happening around Cretan Arts & Culture, created through public involvement and participation.
As a festival, but also as a community of people that share a common passion for Crete’s culture, it aims to guard, transmit and reproduce the artistic culture of Crete, through gathering and presenting – in an innovative way – the traditions and the new trends of Crete’s cultural activity (through concerts, happenings, exhibitions, workshops, dialog and participation) so as to bridge past with present towards inventing future.
It aims to create a step of expression for individuals and artists – inspired by Crete – and a dynamic core of protection, promotion, inspiration, reproduction and finally transmittion of the Cretan spirit both to locals and visitors of the island.
Indicative festival contents – thematic fields:
Video art & projections
Literature – Poetry