Protected designation of origin is the term of a geographical region recognized by E.U. official rules to produce certain liquors with special characteristics related only to that one location.

In accordance with European Union standards the actual name “pálinka” can only be used by Hungary and 4 Austrian provinces. 

There are variations of the term that are allowed to be used in other countries but the actual spelling and use of the word—in addition to the actual product itself— is limited to Hungary.  

Prior to the 20th century, pálinka was predominately made from apricot and plum varieties.  Other ingredients at the time included distillates made from rye, wheat, corn, buckwheat, potatoes and, less often, even beets, sweet roots or peas. 

The River Danube at Visergad

In the first half of the 20th century, with the rebirth of the spirits industry, pálinka was now mostly made with fruit, pomace, wine or wine lees. Different varieties of pálinka currently manufactured include a broad range of fruits that are grown exclusively in Hungary.  

Applicable law stipulates that pálinka be fermented from fleshy pitted fruits, fruits without pits, or from berries (or the pulp of these), distilled and bottled exclusively in Hungary. 

It’s interesting to note that the vintage is not always indicated on bottles of pálinka.  Distilleries instead make every attempt to keep the standard of taste, color and aroma of each bottle of pálinka the same every year. They also strive to make sure the alcohol content is consistent. 

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