Talking about Goa, the scene that sets in the mind is a very relaxing( or in Goan terms ‘susegad’) way of life. People are very loving and passionate in Goa. The scene is not complete without mentioning the state’s official drink, ‘Feni’ also spelt ‘fenny’.
There are two types of this wonderful spirit that is coconut and cashew feni. Both the crops occupy half of Goa’s cultivable land manly grown for their fruits. (feni is one of the by products )
This significance of cashew fenny is so immense that it has been given a GI (geographical indication) tag by the WTO. This tag is given to goods from a particular region where the brand e.g. feni cannot be used for another product.
But what has happened recently is that the government of Jharkhand has planned on cultivating cashew on their land plus having distilling and bottling companies for processing and preparing the liquor.
The cultivation farms in Goa have laborers that are from Jharkhand, they have learnt the skill of brewing the perfect liquor. Though these people had come to Goa to be free from the insurgency and make Goa their home. Although there is a some hesitation whether they might go back and start their own businesses.
On the other hand the state government has initiated the procedures to formulate the Feni policy where the traditional cashew and coconut feni will be declared a state heritage drink. This tag will help sale of feni in other parts of the country.
How is feni prepared though…?
Coconut fenny is produced from the toddy of the palm, cashew feni is produced from the cashew fruit. The juice from the cashew fruit is taken out by the traditional process of crushing and foot pounding similar to the European wine making from grapes!
They both have the same process of distillation, when distilled once, the first run gives ‘urrack’ this is also sold in the bars around the state but is less alcoholic than the original. The second distillation results in the very popular and strong spirit ‘feni’.
Did you know…
The word feni is derived from the Sanskrit word phena which means froth and also the Konkani word feni signifies froth, which is formed during the processing. The froth also occurs while pouring into a glass or if the bottle is shaken.
Goa definitely has the Portuguese to thank for the introduction of cashew into the state furthermore for passing the art and secrets of distilling. Feni therefore is exclusively byn Goa ad is gaining importance worldwide. Hence we have to protect it! When in Goa it is absolutely a must try, So Cheers!