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Nice to meet you, meat!


Romanians have a cult for meat.
Pork, veal, mutton or chicken. In all its forms.


Slaughtering the pig made history in Romania. I know, I know! It sounds very cruel, and it sure is. But during communist times when meat was scarce at the butcher’s (especially in the city), basically every Romanian household would slaughter a pig before Christmas to make sure it provided the necessary amount of meat to get the family through cold times, until the land indulged them fresh crops.

Romanians are people who always find a reason to celebrate, thus pomana porcului or honoring the pig is an event where parts of the freshly-slaughtered pig are fried in a deep pan and served immediately to all who participated at the happening, together with a shot of tuica (strong plum brandy).

Pigs have been the main source of meat and fats used to prepare food throughout the year. A part of the pork was smoked and brined, while the smaller parts were minced and served for the sausages (cârnați).

Caltaboșul was made from the liver; the head, heart, and kidneys served for tobă, while the blood was the raw material for the sângerete (sânge – blood; black pudding). All of these are traditional dishes for the main Christmas meal.

Winter gastronomy isn’t complete without răcituri/piftie, another plate based on pork or beef which shakes like a jello.


Slănină, a slab of pork fatback, is one of the most authentic dishes you could possibly eat! It contains in fact a lot of fat, little or no flesh and has been dry-salted. After, it gets covered with a paste of garlic and sprinkled with paprika. Best eaten in little chunks, slănină is best accompanied with fresh vegetables and red onions with bread.

I have always felt this Romanian delicacy as deeply rooted in our traditions, the ancestor of the Romanian picnic, as it represents the food of the people who work the field.

Although you can find it sometimes in supermarkets, slănină tastes best if you stab a chunk of it and roast it over a fire (as you do with marshmallows) and then let your bread permeate by the drops of fat. Accompanied by red onion and a shot of tuica, of course!

Fat was used as a key element to prepare several dishes. In Saxon villages from Transylvania, fat was kept in a special tower in the churches or fortresses, called the Lard Tower. Due to their structure, these towers served not only as refrigerators, but as safe haven from the invasions.

Today’s descendant of no fridge meat is carne la garnita, nothing else than meat in a jar. Typical dish of students, this steak can be kept in rooms without a refrigerator, as the jar contains meat immersed in fat, that gives the former tenderness.

Another genuine Transylvanian recipe, but classier, charcuterie type, salam de Sibiu, is made in accordance with a recipe almost 150 years old. It is a kind of cured, smoked pork sausage produced in the Romanian province of Sibiu which offers perfect climate conditions. Besides the carefully selected pork meat and bacon, it is flavoured with a traditional selection of spices, including salt, pepper, and garlic.

As all good things require time, Sibiu salami needs a 90 days maturation period to get the desired flavour and the white mold.

Bon appetit!

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