Taste

Romania - The wine country

The beginnings of viticulture in Romania go back at least 4,000 years. Dacia, nowadays Romania, as the Romans called it, had a well-established wine culture. The coins issued by the Romans in the new province Dacia, presented on their obverse a woman to whom two children were offering grapes, a symbol of the region’s wealth.

Although climatically very different, Romania lies on the same latitude as France. The main geographical features, which also temper the continental climate of the country are the Black Sea, the Danube and the heights of the Carpathian Mountains. The continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters, moderated by such local factors, together with the soils, basically stony and well-drained around the Carpathians, but more alluvial and sandy in the coastal area, the exposure to sun light and last but not least the warmth of the Romanian soul are key factors determining the quality of wines.  

Romania‘s climate and soil are hospitable to the production of many different types of wines. The main foreign varieties of grapes of Western European origin, with well-known oenological characteristics, which have been successfully adapted to Romanian vine-growing conditions, are as follows:

  • Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir for the red wines.
  • Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Italian Riesling, Traminer, Aligote and Muscat Ottonel, for the white wines.

There are also several extremely valuable native Romanian varieties like:

  • Băbească and Fetească Neagră for the red wines;
  • Fetească Regală, Francușa, Grasa, Galbena, Busuioacă and Tămâioasă for the white wines.

The wine cellars are waiting for their visitors, at the wine regions spread all over the country:

  1. Transylvania Plateau
  2. Moldova Hills
  3. Muntenia Hills
  4. Oltenia Hills
  5. Banat Hills
  6. Crisana-Maramureș Hills
  7. Dobrogea Hills
  8. The Danube Terraces
  9. The sands and other types of lands from the south

In 2016, Romania holds the 6th place for wine production in Europe after Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Portugal, according to the International Organisation for Vine and Wine.

Source: http://www.wineromania.com.

Gastronomy

Gastronomy studies the relationship between food and culture, the art of preparing and serving food, a style of cooking for certain regions or countries, and is the science of eating well.

Etymologically, the word "gastronomy" comes from ancient Greek and is derived from γαστήρ (gaster) - "stomach" and νόμος (Nomos) - "governing laws". Thus, gastronomy means "the art or the law governing the stomach".

Gastronomy involves discovering, tasting, researching, understanding and writing about cooking and about sensory qualities of human nutrition as a whole. Also it involves studying the nutrition interfaces with the wider culture. Later, the application of biological and chemical knowledge for cooking has become known as molecular gastronomy, but cuisine covers a much wider field, an interdisciplinary one.

Romanian cuisine is the result of synthesizing, in time, the gastronomic tastes and habits of the Romanian people. It is diverse and contains many customs and culinary traditions, traditional food, along with habits that come from the intersection of gastronomic culture with traditions from other nations with which the Romanian people came into contact throughout history. Romanian cuisine includes both everyday dishes and also special holiday dishes.

Furthermore, we must bear in mind that the Romanian people is Christian since the beginning of its formation, which is why Romanian cuisine includes many feast dishes appointed according to the season and the mentioned feast.

The oldest archaeological sources prove that the Dacian grew corn and millet, oversaw apiculture and grape-vine cultivation. Thus, bread or unleavened bread that was made at that time, honey or wine products were not missing from their table. Also meat was at great price, either we talk about the animals raised near the house ot about the hunted ones.

In time, Romanian cuisine became varied, due to interaction with other nations: commerce with the Greeks, followed by the Roman occupation, trade ties with the Slavic nations and the Tartar and Ottoman crossings were not without effect.

We can say without question that the Romanian cuisine has influences from Balkan cuisine, German, Serbian, Italian, Turkish and Hungarian, and more. They are dishes that resemble to those of other cultures, but they had major changes by adding local products specific to the Romanian people.

For example, cabbage rolls have a tartar origin, but they were only stuffed with vegetables. Romanians have taken over, but the main ingredient is pork. One of the dishes considered typical Romanian is polenta. This is a corn flour broth, with salt and additions like whey, butter and cheese, depending on the desired final formulation. From where the habit of doing the Romanian polenta, given that corn arrived in Europe after the discovery of America? Residents of our region before the corn prepared cornmeal mush of mey!

Returning to the diversity of Romanian cuisine, it can’t not be brougt into question the feasts appointed by the Ortodox Church, who have made an outstanding contribution to Romanian culinary culture, bringing a rich range of festive dishes. Specific feasts are dishes such as sausages, black pudding, jelly, cake or stuffed cabbage.

The concept of interculturalism, in the early 2000s, took the place of multiculturalism. The need to highlight the invisible threads between world cultures has led specialists to the most diverse approaches! In 2007, Euro East Alternative Cultural Association initiated the International Championship of outdoor cooking, first platform of expression through food! The concept mentioned above found, thus, the best context to be highlighted.

In 2014 was organized the first Congress of culinary tradition, initiated by Iulia Dragut, attended by representatives from 38 countries, 250 chefs and anthropologists worldwide! This approach was supported by WACS (World Association of Chefs The 'Societies). On the same occasion, in Bucharest, it was held the first Conference of Chefs Without Borders in the world! The nine historical regions of Romania were presented by cuisine, accompanied by scientific papers!

"I think it's time to have a scientific paper, about the anthropology of food. It will be a complex thesis, to dismantle stereotypes fixed in the collective unconscious, of works of pop culture! In this thesis we address the major issues that were not previously considered: the monastic cuisine, the military cuisine, notebooks of the ladies in the big cities, that division between the rural and urban cuisine, religious cuisine, the regional cuisine, the high circles one but also the cuisine of the ordinary people,"says dr. Iulia Dragut, president of the Cultural Association Eastern European Alternatively, the partner of the Romanian National Authority for Tourism for organizing culinary events of international level, where romanian cuisine and traditions are promoted.