Natural beauty, the hospitality of local people and the flavours of regional cuisine – all these combine to bring you the true taste of Romania.
Native to Maramures, is bulz, made with fermented cheese in special wooden vessels and best eaten with polenta. As wheat does not have enough months of sunshine to ripen up on the mountain, corn is the most typical crop here, and most dishes are accompanied by polenta rather than bread.
It is an ancient tradition for hosts here to greet their guests on the doorstep, with fresh baked bread, salt and tuica or horinca, alcoholic beverages made from plums and based on traditional recipes which are widely enjoyed in Romania.
No matter which part of the country you choose to visit, for a satisfying end to the day you can get a dish of sarmale, made of pork and veal rolled in cabbage or vine leaves. On fast days, the meat is replaced with rice and mushrooms.
Sarmale are best enjoyed with cream or pepperonis, accompanied by polenta, and surely a good wine.
And if tuica is your aperitif, a generous meal should be followed with a glass of good wine. Romania is proud to be one of the largest wine producers in the world. During the reign of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the first ruler of Romania (1859-1866), wines from Cotnari won the supreme distinction at an international competition in Paris, and have continued to amass awards ever since. You can see the vineyards and taste the most famous Romanian wines in Iasi County’s Cotnari locality, on the eastern ridge of Dealul Mare of Hârlaul. If you wish to visit Cramele Cotnari (the wine cellars), you can take a tour of the wine preparation facility and cellars where you will taste five vintages. After your visit, lunch or dinner is available.
“The central characteristic of the Romanian cuisine is its great variety. It is a cuisine influenced by repeated waves of different cultures: the ancient Greeks, with whom Romanians traded; the Romans, who gave the country its name; the Saxons, who settled in southern Transylvania; the Turks, who for centuries dominated Romania; as well as Slavic and Magyar neighbors. All of these influences gradually blended into the varied and delicious Romanian culinary tradition” (Nicolae Klepper — Taste of Romania)
The main ingredients used by Romanian chefs are meats such as pork, beef and lamb, fish, vegetables, dairy products and fruit. A traditional Romanian meal may include:
All kinds of cheeses, cold cuts and vegetable spreads.
“Ciorba de perisoare” (meatball soup), “ciorba taraneasca ” (vegetable soup, with or without meat), “ciorba de burta ” (tripe soup).
During legally sanctioned fishing seasons, you can even catch your dinner here, best achieved by setting off with a fishermen at the crack of dawn, when the fish are ready to bite. The locals and also the restaurants prepare matchless fish borsch, stuffed pike, saramura, carp barbecued on a spit and many other exquisite dishes.
Dobrogea cuisine’s quirks derive from the influences of Turkish, Tartar and Russian immigrants to the area. In Constanta’s old harbour, you can take an excursion at sea on one of the boats which leave every hour. Fish dishes abound in the beachside restaurants while the kebab shops of Piata Ovidiu offer their own delights.
“Tocanita ” or “tochitura ” (meat stew seasoned with onions and/ or spices), “ghiveci ” (over 20 vegetables cooked in oil), “sarmale” (pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a mix of minced
meats, rice and spices) and “mititei ” (The “Wee Ones” – small skinless grilled sausages) are among the favorites.
Visit during the Christmas holidays, and you will have the opportunity to sample various pork dishes.
Romanians have a recipe for every part of the pig. Sausages, lebar (sausage prepared with pork intestines filled with pork liver, steak and bay leaves), caltabos and toba (pork heart, legs, ears) and other dishes are prepared in almost exactly the same way all over the country.
Easter culinary specialities include lamb steaks and round bread or pasca, which according to tradition is set on the table before going to the church for the Easter sermon.
“Papanasi ” (cottage cheese donuts, topped with sour cream and fruit preserve), “clatite cu brânza ” (crepes filled with cottage cheese, raisins and spices) and “cozonac” (traditional holiday sweet bread filled with walnuts, poppy seeds or cream cheese).