Familjen are a beautiful and happy people living in the far Lappish north. The Mintbergen village is so remote that the sun does not rise in winter and does not set in summer. The proximity to Russia has brought with it a certain taste for vodka. It is worshipped for its many healing properties; it cleans a wound, cures melancholy and warms a broken heart. It used to arrive by the lorry load from Finland; big crates left to cool in the snow. These days, the villagers make it themselves with home grown potatoes and flavorings from the forest.
Hildred of Mintbergen wears flowery skirts at all times varying in lengths and colour, she feels they go well with her old furry coats and unshaven legs. She owns a cherished seashell collection, has a fondness for crude jokes and used to run a microbrewery from a shed in her back yard where she made the most exquisite flavored moonshine schnapps and unusually strong beer (hence the reason of her constant tipsiness and inability to attend funerals sober).
A decade ago when all industry left the far north, two rather nice fellows called Caspian and Selariac, suggested a partnership to turn the Mintbergen economy round and Hildred seized the opportunity. The distillery moved into the empty saw mill, which was equipped with copper kettles and demijohns. 50ml bottles with raspberry and liquorice root liqueur were sold at high prices over the Internet in a very fancy web shop that Roland’s daughter Ester set up. This was aimed at high paying international gourmets. When demand rose the prices went up. The range extended into scented vodkas, elixirs and love potions. Cloudberry infused vodka with elk marrow for good luck went best with the superstitious Chinese. Blueberry honey vodka with whole forest ants to boost the memory went down well with the Americans. Most popular among the oligarchs was the stamina enhancing black magic vodka. Ingredients unknown. This export business keeps the village afloat and maintains the generous spirit of Familjen. As long as you are kind and helpful, no one blames you for being in a same sex relationship, dressing up in women’s clothing or driving around in a rusty Volvo from 1982. Familjen are a people where fat and skinny live alongside each other and big-eared children play with short-legged ones. You are welcome pop over and visit. It is a beautiful, happy place!