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Picking leaves from the forest to make wine yeast

QUANG TRI – Taking advantage of the beautiful sunny days at the end of the Tan Suu year, Mrs. Ho Thi Nai went to Truong Son forest to pick leaves to make traditional wine yeast.

In the early morning, dew spread all over the roofs and trees, Mrs. Nai (65 years old, residing in A Doi Do village, A Doi commune, Huong Hoa district) carried a bag and knife to the forest and then walked towards the hill at the end of the village. After 2 hours, she reached the place where the forest leaves needed to be picked.

Among the leaves, the leaves are the most important, determining the quality of the yeast. Professionals keep this card a secret. Ms. Nai chooses to cut medium old branches, leaving the roots and large branches for the next time to be harvested.

Picking leaves from the forest to make wine yeast
Many people in the mountainous area of ​​Quang Tri still keep the traditional way of making leaf enamel. Photo: Hoang Apple

While cutting the forest, Ms. Nai said: “The most important thing is to know how to get the ingredients from the roots and leaves of the forest trees at the right age to have the most intense yeast”. This is the secret drawn by many generations in her family and only taught to her descendants to maintain the precious profession of her ancestors.

Just like that, Mrs. Nai traced the forest along the trail to find the necessary leaves and bark. In order to have enough materials, she had to spend many days in the forest, sometimes when she arrived, the wild animals ate all the leaves. Because these leaves have the effect of detoxifying, clearing heat, stimulating digestion… so wild animals often come to eat.

In addition to some roots and leaves collected from the forest, according to the Van Kieu language, ralong a pound, na noai, ta ven, xa bamboot, xa a ta moi, ra peta vi, leaf enamel is also made from a number of species. Roots and leaves are attached to daily life such as chili leaves, pepper, sugar cane, cinnamon leaves. In total, about 15 types of roots and leaves are used to make wine yeast.

According to Mr. Ho Van Ven, who makes leaves in A Doi Do, the forest leaves picked are cut, pounded, mixed and incubated, then rolled into balls, dried, and dried on fire in a sticky house on stilts. Thanks to keeping on the stove, the yeast can be used well after 2 to 3 years.

The glaze beam is finished upstairs in the kitchen, so it can be used after 2 to 3 years. Photo: Hoang Apple

Leaves yeast is brewed with rice or sticky rice, soaked in jars for 7 to 10 days before being distilled. During the distillation process, people have to use firewood to cook the fire evenly, neither too big nor too small for the wine to come out slowly.

“The wine I cook is very clean because it is made from natural yeast. The drinker will not have headaches, digestion is good. I am very proud to be able to make a product like this,” said Mr. Ven.

Today, although there are many types of beverages, specialties of yeast used to process alcohol are still preserved and developed by the Van Kieu people in the mountainous district of Huong Hoa, Dakrong. For them, wine is indispensable in festivals and gifts for visiting guests.

Mr. Hoang Khanh Hoa, Vice Chairman of A Doi Commune People’s Committee, assessed that leaf enamel is a unique product of the Van Kieu people. People go to the forest to pick leaves, brew yeast to cook wine just to treat guests. In addition, during important festivals such as the field-keeping ceremony, the new rice ceremony, the burial of graves, etc., leaf wine is an indispensable drink.

“We mobilized people to stick with the profession of making leaf enamel, and at the same time, developed leaf yeast into a typical product in the program of one product per commune, contributing to the transmission of their longstanding cultural identity. “, said Mr. Hoa.

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