On August 7, the second traditional bilberry festival was held at the village of Huklyvyi, Volovets county.
Bilberries have been collected in Zakarpattia for centuries, but it’s only in the recent years that the trade started to enjoy wide publicity due to the increased exports.
The main treat at “Verkhovynska Yafyna” fest was, of course, the fresh bilberries. This year, there weren’t as many ‘berries around because of the late frosts in the spring, but those who came to the festival for the bilberries still could eat as much as they wanted.
In addition to the plain bilberries, you could also taste bilberry dumplings, bilberry pancakes…
…and then wash all those down with a glass of yafynivka, the homemade bilberry liqueur.
There was also some lekvar for sale at the festival, but we’re waiting for the end of August and the lekvar feast at the village of Hecha to enjoy it full scale
The gastronomic treats at “Verkhovynska Yafyna” weren’t limited to bilberries. You could taste delicious fried pork cooked on a spit, have a sip of Zakarpattia homemade wine and try the traditional dishes of the region.
The beauty of the Volovets mountains, Verkhovyna’s fresh air and the performances of the folk music bands were also pretty conductive to appetite.
For the more extreme tourism-minded guests, the festival continued with climbing Play (1330 m above sea level) and Pikuy (1406 m) mountains, the highest ones in Volovets county. The taming of the peaks was celebrated with loud toasts and snacks featuring the famous berry.
Selected photos courtesy by Oleg Grigoryev.