Kvass

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Kvass or kvas (from Old East Slavic квасъ, kvasŭ, meaning "yeast" or "leaven"[1]; today, in Belarusian: квас, kvas, сиривець, siriviets; Lithuanian: gira; Russian: квас, kvas; in Ukrainian: квас, хлібний квас or сирівець, kvas, khlibnyy kvas or syrivets; Polish kwas; meaning "acid" in the 16th century[2]), sometimes called a bread drink in English[3], is a fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread. In the Ukrainian language kvass is associated with either a sourness or a fermentation process depending on a region of Ukraine.

The colour of the bread used contributes to the colour of the resulting drink. It is classified as a non-alcoholic drink by Russian standards, as the alcohol content from fermentation is typically less than 1.2%.[4].

It is popular in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, and other Eastern and Central European countries as well as in all ex-Soviet states, like Uzbekistan, where one can see many kvass vendors in the streets.[5]

The alcohol content is low (0.05% - 1.0%).[6] It is often flavoured with fruits or herbs such as strawberries or mint. Kvass is also used for preparing a cold summertime soup called okroshka.

Contents

History

Kvass has been a common drink in Eastern Europe since ancient times, comparable with other ancient fermented grain beverages including beer brewed from barley by the ancient Egyptians, the pombe or millet beer of Africa, the so-called rice wines of Asia, the chicha made with corn or cassava by the natives of America.[7] Kvass was first mentioned in Old Russian Chronicles in the year 989. In Russia, under Peter the Great, it was the most common non-alcoholic drink in every class of society. Later, in the 19th century, it was reported to be consumed in excess by peasants, low-class citizens, and monks; in fact, it is sometimes said that it was usual for them to drink more kvass than water. It has been both a commercial product and homemade. It used to be consumed widely in most Slavic countries, where in almost every city there are kvass vendors on the street. Today it forms the basis of a multimillion-dollar industry. Kvass was once sold during the summer only, but is now produced, packaged, and sold year-round.[8]

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