Home of the most unique melange of cuisines in Europe
Such a mix is hard to find anywhere else in the world. It feels like an attempt to combine the living in a mountain cave with the dwelling in a palace, to blend a sun-scorched field and the Alain Ducasse Salon in Monte Carlo. For example, Turks, Greeks or Polish also make cabbage rolls. But only the Romanians add smoked pork in the dish. They roll the meat in cabbage leaves with dill and smetana, leaving them on slow fire for days. Smelling those cabbage rolls, one can say that despite troubled past, there is a single general true fact that applies in all circumstances to Romanians’ history – that Romanians have always enjoyed excellent meals.
Romanian contributions to the world cuisine
Pastrami is one of Romanian’s contributions to world cuisine. The very term ‘pastrami’ comes from the Romanian word ‘pastramă’ (to keep, to conserve). It was introduced into the English language by Jewish immigration from Romania in the second half of the XIX century. The pastrami can be made from beef, lamb, or turkey. In Romania, you will always find pastrami in the autumn, and de rigueur on the same table with must (vinum mustum / young wine) and polenta (mămăligă). This one is another traditional Romanian dish, historically a peasant food, and recently emerging as an upscale serving available in fine dining restaurants.
What can you eat and drink only there
Together with the food, you should also discover some local wines that you can’t find anywhere else. Ask for Iordană (de Târnave), Mustoasă (de Măderat), Cădarcă (de Miniș), Seină, Corb, or the very rare Fetească Albă de Steiniger.
Transylvania is known for its white, dry, expressive wines. Nevertheless, Transylvania is par excellence, the homeland of strong drinks made from fruits, the native soil of double-distilled plum spirit mixed. It is no accident that Romania is the second-biggest producer in the world and the second-biggest consumer of plums.
With a continental climate, Romania can be quite cold in the winter. Therefore, the locals were quick to invent “interior warmers”. Țuică is de rigueur made from plums. It starts at 30% alc. south of the Carpathian Mountains to grow in strength over 50% alc. in Transylvania, even 80% alc.! It bears different names (palincă, horincă, vinars, ginars), has different alcohol concentrations, and is amazingly good in all its avatars.