Hello everybody, here I come again with another post about Christmas. Winter holidays and Chrismas are approaching, so I’m feeling inspired to write about the food we typically eat in my family.
We are great fans of the Christmas holiday, and it’s not because of the Christmas shopping (read my earlier blog about X-mas shopping), but because in Romania there are many beautiful traditions before, during and after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, from carolling (singing Christmas songs), wearing and dancing in traditional costumes and grotesque masks (check some videos below) to cooking traditional Romanian recipes – which will be my topic today (I hope you’ve eaten :))
While in other countries people eat beef, turkey or salmon for Christmas, during the Romanian winter holidays the pig is king! Literally!
In the Romanian countryside, it’s part of our Christmas tradition to sacrifice the pig that we raised on our farm for one year. My grandparents and great-grandparents did that in the past and I vividly remember all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations! People then use up every single piece of the pig for cooking: Romanians make fried or grilled pork meat and sausages, served with pickles, meat or chicken jelly ( my dad’s favourite) eaten with grated horseradish, “toba si caltabos” (typical Romanian cold meats made up with internal organs – they’re delicious, believe me!
Romanians like to make sausages and the rest of the traditional foods themselves, so even if you don’t have a pig, you go and buy the meat and all the necessary ingredients and you make it yourself at home. It’s part of the holiday’s spirit and traditions!
One of the key pieces of a traditional Christmas meal is “sarmale“, a wrap of rice and minced meat in vine or cabbage leaves, served with sour cream. “Sarma” is a dish found in Middle-Eastern, East European and Central-Asian countries like Turkey, Greece, Lebanon etc. You can find the YouTube recipe here.
And let’s not forget about “cozonac“, the Romanian sweet bread, which is usually made with cocoa powder and minced walnuts, but other recipes have poppy seeds and sugar or Turkish delight (my favourite variation of “cozonac”).
Last but not least, a glass of red home-made wine and the home-made grappa and you’re ready to celebrate Romanian-style Christmas!
As Romanian winters can be really cold (down to -25°C), people like to make mulled wine and get warm in front of the TV after a copious dinner, as the hot wine, the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom will heat up your belly and your heart! 🙂
If you want to know more, watch some extraordinary videos of Christmas traditions from Romania here and here (the last video was filmed in my hometown. :)) If you like travelling for Christmas or New Year’s, why don’t you check out The Best Christmas destinations in Romania?
How do you spend Christmas and what are your special recipes for Christmas? Write to me in the comments down below.
Happy Christmas everyone!