(10 Oct 2016) LEAD IN
Since the beginning of last century, a small Ukrainian village near the Hungarian border has become known for one particular product.
The residents of Great Dobron make sweet paprika, the wildly popular spice created from dried chilli peppers.
Everywhere you look in Great Dobron, the chilli peppers adorn houses.
From mid-Autumn the bright red wreaths are threaded and hung.
They’re drying in the breeze and will soon be transformed into a ground power spice.
The skills to make the famous spice have been passed down from generation to generation.
The Capsicum annuum fruit is grown on hundreds of acres in the village and its residents mill hundreds of kilograms of the pepper each year.
All members of the Sani family are involved in the pepper growing business.
Each year they grow peppers which become 200 kilograms of the finished spice.
First peppers are harvested, sorted, put on a thread, then hung on the walls to dry in the sun.
“This goes from generation to generation and like this until the end of life. I hope my grandson will continue doing it,” says Oleksandr Sani, a resident of Great Dobron.
After drying in the sun, the peppers are put in a special room with an iron stove.
On hot days, the temperature in the room can reach 50 degrees Celsius.
The heat is needed to make the pepper crunchy, so it can be ground down into a powder.
Oleksandr Sani inherited the business from his grandfather and hopes to pass it to his grandchild.
But the younger generation is less convinced. The job requires hard graft and gives only a small profit – kilogram of spices costs 80 hryvnia (less than 3 euros).
For the entire season of hard work a family earns 8000 hryvnia (about 300 euros).
“It requires a lot of work, because peppers need work every day. There should be a lot of watering, especially if the weather is dry. You should take good care of it,” says Oleksandr’s daughter-in-law Timea Sani.
It’s hard but necessary work. Dobronskaya paprika is essential to local recipes and a key ingredient of many meals influenced by Hungarian cuisine.
“We are using paprika in almost every meal – in meat, in soups, in everything we use pepper spices,” says market vendor, Elena Shocka.
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