Jim Guittard’s Place

Боза или Boza

Posted in Bulgaria by guittard on October 29, 2006

Today I bought some BOZA on my own.  What is getting into me?  For those of you not in Bulgaria, the drink is a thick grainy barley-like sugary brown drink that tastes different and strange.  Check this out from Wikipedia: 

Boza enjoyed its golden age under the Ottomans, and boza making became one of the principal trades in towns and cities from the early Ottoman period. Until the 16th century boza was drunk freely everywhere, but the custom of making the so-called Tartar boza laced with opium brought the wrath of the authorities down on the drink, and it was prohibited by Sultan Selim II (1566-1574). He describes a type of non-alcoholic sweet boza of a milk white color made for the most part by Albanians

In the 17th century Sultan Mehmed IV (1648-1687) prohibited alcoholic drinks, in which category he included boza, and closed down all the boza shops. The 17th century Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi tells us that boza was widely drunk at this time, and that there were 300 boza shops employing 1005 people in Istanbul alone. At this period boza was widely drunk by janissaries in the army. Boza contained only a low level of alcohol, so as long as it was not consumed in sufficient quantities to cause drunkenness, it was tolerated on the grounds that it was a warming and strengthening beverage for soldiers. As Evliya Çelebi explained, ‘These boza makers are numerous in the army. To drink sufficient boza to cause intoxication is sinful but, unlike wine, in small quantities it is not condemned.’ In the 19th century the sweet and non-alcoholic Albanian boza preferred at the Ottoman palace became increasingly popular, while the sour and alcoholic type of boza that had generally been produced by the Armenians went out of favor. In 1876 Haci Ibrahim and Haci Sadik brothers established a boza shop in the Istanbul district of Vefa, close to the then center of entertainment, Direklerarası. This boza, with its thick consistency and tart flavor, became famous throughout the city, and is the only boza shop dating from that period still in business today. The firm is now run by Haci Sadik and Haci Ibrahim’s great- great-grandchildren.

 It goes with the morning pastry banitsa.  Bulgarians seem to live by it and me well I like to try things.  I have had Boza maybe 5 or 6 times since being here and I do not dislike it.

I have also been drinking the yogurt drink Ayran.  I like it.  In America, I had this drink before with mint leaves but it seemed to be carbonated and from Iran.  Funny how the name is Ayran.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boza