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UN Adds Serbian Plum Brandy to Cultural Heritage List


A barman looks at a glass with plum brandy in a bar in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
UN Adds Serbian Plum Brandy to Cultural Heritage List
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Serbia’s traditional plum brandy sljivovica is being added to the United Nation’s cultural heritage list.

UNESCO experts gathered in Morocco this week to decide on new admissions to the list. They said the “social practices and knowledge related to the preparation and use” of sljivovica deserve U.N. recognition as an example of an important cultural tradition, Serbia’s Ministry of Culture said.

The ministry officially requested the recognition in 2021. The request described the whole process - from growing plums to using the brandy. It also described how widespread a tradition the alcohol is, the ministry said.

Sljivovica has been made by hand in Serbia for hundreds of years, over time becoming part of its national identity, experts say. The tradition remains common in rural areas of the Balkan country despite an increase in modern distilleries.

Sljivovica is made from locally grown fruits: plums. The brandy is made and enjoyed by families and local communities.

Serbs drink sljivovica when they celebrate and mark important events. People often save their best bottles for weddings, the birth of a child and funerals, making the Serbian traditional spirit part of everyday lives for generations.

Sljivovica is also an important Serbian export and a draw for visitors. Small businesses producing sljivovica and other fruit brandies have appeared in recent years, offering modern packaging with creative designs.

For improved quality, sljivovica is sometimes kept in oak wood containers that color the liquid to a dark brown. The brandy improves as it ages.

I’m John Russell.

John Russell adapted this story from an Associated Press report.

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Words in This Story

plum – n. a round, juicy fruit that has red or purple skin, sweet yellow flesh, and a hard seed at the center

brandy – n. a kind of alcoholic drink

distillery – n. a place where alcoholic drinks (such as whiskey) are produced

packaging – n. : material used to enclose or contain something

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