My memories of palm wine is both crazy and sweet at the same time.
First things first, what is Palm wine? It is pretty much an alcoholic drink created from the sap of different species of the palm tree. It’s also known by different names; depending on the continent/place where it is located. For example, the Cameroonians call it “Tombo.” And most Nigerians call it Palmy or Simply Palm wine.
Recently, I came to understand that there are two types of Palm wine. There is Ngwo and Nkwu Enu; with Nkwu Enu being most popular is gotten from the tall palm tree. I come from Imo State Nigeria and we are known for tapping Nkwu Enu which I still think goes best with Abacha (African Salad). Ngwo which is less popular is gotten from the short palm tree. I still cannot forget the taste of the sweet palm wine with very spicy Abacha. Nostalgia! In fact, do you know that the Orlu women of Imo State are known to be beautiful just like the sweet Nkwu Enu? 🙂
We had palm wine whenever we visited my father’s country home in the East. Usually, there was always palm wine in every meeting held in the village. It was usually paired with Kola nuts and spicy peanut butter paste.
I can never forget when I suffered a case of measles. Daddy would come home from work every evening. He would gaggle with a cup of palm wine and spit it right on my body. I screamed in pain and I honestly at one time, thought I was going to meet my ancestors. I never went to the hospital, daddy just treated me with palm wine and within days, I was healed of the measles.
Here’s what my friends had to say about Palm wine…
“It’s the blood of palm trees, and all who drink it are vegan vampires.” Geoffrey
“Palmwine?! Sap of the gods!!! Ngwo helps in lactation, they say. It seemed to work for me because when I had my daughter, I did not lactate for about 2 weeks so hubby bought like 75cl of ngwo for me which I took and a day after, I was lactating like no man’s business.
The tastes are different to my palate anyway. Fresh Nkwu enu is yeastier in taste than Ngwo to me. My late grand father used to drop nkwu enu into my baby cousin’s mouth when he was a baby. My mum is of the opinion that it is a natural source of yeast so it should be good for baby’s eyesights in controlled quantities. Me? I’d rather have palmwine(ngwo or nkwu enu) to any other kind of alcohol. Nkwu enu seems superior to Ngwo since that is the one usually requested for at occasions in my neck of the woods.” Mma
Palmwine works wonders for measles. Jennifer
“Udi in Enugu State brews d best palm wine. Don’t attempt drinking our palm wine if you are not strong enough. Woe betide u if dare drink d rare type ‘ogwudala’ when u have a sexual infection.” Frances
“in Agbor we call the down wine variant, Ozu.. it is my personal favourite. upwine is cool too but doesnt come close. about 8yrs ago in Benin, a palm tree in our house had grown too tall, my dad ordered that it be uprooted. after it was uprooted, i looked at the tree and realised it was a splendid opportunity to tap some Ozu in Benin. I tapped the tree and every day for the next couple of months, I would wake up to fresh Ozu.. In the first weeks, it tasted like syrup, very sugary atnd little alcohol.. within this period, i developed a habbit of drinking palmwine in litres, till one day i sat on a mango tree drinking palmwine and suddenly dozed off.. I would have fallen if not for the fact that a cousin of mine found me in time.
palmwine is an awesome drink, I miss waking up everyday to fresh unadulterated palmwine. my fav combo is palmwine with rabbit/grass cutter pepper soup.. oh I need to go to the village, city life is too lack lustre.” Ik
Photo used for this post was gotten from Samuel Itodo 🙂