PALM WINE TASTING
August 19, 2003
Trip report: Rev Father John Sheehan (U.S.A)
The evening of August 19 was breezy, overcast and more than a little rain threatening. The organizers worried, “What do we do if it rains?” But the weather held and the only real concern was having enough chairs for the participants and enough wine for tasting.
43 people showed up at 29 Ikoyi Crescent to sample palm wine from different parts of Nigeria, collected by different methods. There was fresh wine(i.e., tapped that morning) from Benin City, from Oshogbo, from Epe, from Ijebu-Ode and from Idimu. There was wine tapped from the top of the tree, tapped from the bottom, tapped from a tree that had been cut down, and wine from differetn kinds of palm trees.
Romeo Barbouropolis (sp?) shared with the group a video he had made around ten years ago, when he went into a swamp with a tapper filming how the tapper climbed and tapped the trees. He had also footage of how the palm wine is distilled into ogogoro, a native gin, and explained the presence of one child in the video, a dada child, and the special place he held in this local society. Several Nigerian members present also contributed to a deeper understanding of this unusual relationship.
A tapper had been expected who would be able to both explain and demonstrate some of the skills necessary in obtaining the palm wine. Unfortunately he did not arrive until 9pm when many of the guests had left. However, he also brought with him two more jugs of wine which extended the party by several more minutes.
It was mentioned that a day trip into the swamps to see the tappers in action might be a possible future trip and people seemed interested in the prospect.
All in all, an interesting and a fun night – what of it I can remember!