Fermented horse milk season on in Kyrgyzstan

Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. in full swing / ɪn fʊl swɪŋ / (idiom) – at a stage where something is at its highest level of activity or is fully operational

    By the time we got there, the party was already in full swing with people dancing and drinking.

  2. connoisseur / ˌkɒn əˈsɜr / (n.) – someone who knows a lot or is highly interested in a subject

    Art connoisseurs can tell if a painting is fake.

  3. nomadic / noʊˈmæd ɪk / (adj.) – having no permanent home or traveling all the time

    My friend turned a bus into a house so that he can travel around and live a nomadic life.

  4. untold / ʌnˈtoʊld / (adj.) – so great or many that the amount can’t be measured

    Our oceans have untold wonders waiting to be discovered.

  5. thaw / θɔ / (n.) – a period of warmer weather that can melt snow, usually between winter and spring

    The rivers rise because the thaw sends down melted ice from the mountains.


Read the text below.

High up in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the season for making the fermented drink known as kumis is in full swing.

Connoisseurs of kumis, an important part of nomadic tribes’ diets for untold centuries, say the Suusamyr valley is home to the best version of the drink.

In winter, the valley, which is 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level, is covered in meters-deep snow. When the thaw comes, the abundance of water feeds dense grass and herbs. By the end of summer, the valley is awash in a thick, emerald carpet of juicy blades of grass that horses eagerly devour.

The grass and herbs lend a particular flavor to the milk that locals draw from the mares in the fields where they graze. The milk then is left to ferment, or sometimes churned to promote fermentation, until it becomes mildly alcoholic.

Cows’ milk can also be used, but it is regarded as inferior. Mares’ milk has a higher sugar content, making it more amenable to fermentation.

Rustam Tukhvatshin, a Kyrgyz medicines professor, says kumis promotes the growth of blood cells and detoxifies the body, among other benefits. He says he never misses coming to Suusamyr when kumis production is at its height.

Tourists and people from other parts of Kyrgyzstan also are taking notice of the region’s kumis. Large wood-framed tents known as yurts have been set up along the road with tables where kumis is sold. With time to spare, a buyer can relax in the yurts while drinking the highly regarded beverage.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Kumis is fermented horse milk that’s mildly alcoholic. Would you like to try it? Do you think you’re adventurous when it comes to trying new food or beverages? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The Kyrgyz medicines professor says that he never misses coming to Suusamyr when kumis production is at its height. What’s an event you’ll never miss coming to (ex. a business expo, a certain festival)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Suusamyr valley is the home of the best version of kumis. What’s a drink or delicacy in your country that people always buy? Where do you think the best version of this drink or delicacy can be found? Discuss.
  • Kumis has been an important part of nomadic tribes’ diets for untold centuries. Is there a food or beverage like this in your country? Do you think this food or beverage will ever be removed from people’s diets? Discuss.
Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment