On a visit to Kırklareli on December 20th 1930, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had called for hardaliye being declared a national drink. Hardaliye is a non-alcoholic beverage made from mature and fresh papazkarası grapes, sour cherry and quince leaves and black mustard seed in and around Kırklareli.
Hardaliye is made from scented and dark coloured grapes being pressed for their juice and the addition of sour cherry and quince leaves, mustard seeds as well as calcium sorbate and sodium benzoate as preservatives. The mustards seed added during production prevent the drink from becoming fermented and developing alcohol.
Hardaliye is prepared during the grape harvest, at which time grapes are at their most mature. Production continues throughout September, October and November. Scented and dark grapes are washed carefully. They are placed in a barrel until about five finger widths of empty space remain. It is topped off with a layer of sour cherry leaves and layer of black mustard seeds. Finally the grape juice and grape sugar are added. Hardaliye matures at temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees centigrade. More grape juice is added every other day from the top of the barrel. It will become ready to drink in between 20 and 25 days, when it will be filtered before being served.
For centuries, grape growing has been an important occupation in Kırklareli. One of the old names of the town in Bulgarian is Lozengrad, which means “the town of grapes.” The district of Üsküp has the most developed vineyards in the province. In the past almost all of the grapes used in winemaking in the inner parts of Thrace were grown in Üsküp. The production of hardaliye probably started in Ottoman times as a natural means of preserving grape juice. It is known that hardaliye was being sold in Istanbul in the 1900s. During the Republican era, when Ataturk visited Kırklareli on December 20th 1930, he was offered hardaliye by a municipal worker and liked it so much that he called for it being made a national drink at a gathering of the mayor and leading figures of the town. Unfortunately hardaliye was only produced domestically until 2010, when a group of entrepreneurs established a hardaliye plant in the Kırklareli Kızılcıkdere Industrial Park, thereby beginning mechanised production of the drink.
While in the past only papazkarası and pamit varieties of grapes were used to make hardaliye, with the advent of mechanised production cardinal, alphonse, cinsaut, cabernet and öküzgözü grapes have also begun to be used.
By Mete Ersöz

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