Eating and drinking is a particularly enjoyable experience while in Romania, as Romanian cuisine is like a crucible where the preoccupation for flavor and color harmoniously blends with millenary customs and traditions.
From east to west and north to south, tourists will be fascinated by the most varied attractions, discover the wine regions, local customs, and the various culinary specialties that Romanians cook and eat with pleasure during holidays or in everyday life.
However, we have to keep in mind that although not many recipes and dishes can be considered typical Romanian specialties, the various populaces who have passed or even settled here (Germans, Greeks, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Turks, Serbs, Russians, or Tartars) have influenced cooking, and thus specific dishes resulted and were assimilated by Romanian cuisine.
As a whole, the recipes bear the same influences as the rest of the Romanian culture: the Turks are responsible for the meatball soup and the baklava, the Greeks brought the moussaka, from the Bulgarians we have a wide variety of vegetable dishes, and the recipe for schnitzel was inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Therefore, one may say that cultural exchanges have always been a part of Romanian cuisine and have always given them a special, highly appreciated (by consumers) character.
If we decide to talk about Romanian cuisine, we have to go into each region’s kitchen.
The southern cuisine of Romania (Oltenia, Muntenia and Dobrogea) has similarities with those of Bulgaria, Turkey and even Ukraine; in the southwest (Banat), the influences come from Serbia and Hungary; in the western and central parts (Crişana and Transylvania) we find particularities of Austro-Hugarian origin, while up north (in Maramures and Bucovina) and in the eastern part (Moldavia) there are Austrian, Ukrainian and Russian influences.
Overall, Romanian cuisine has always been healthy, nourishing and impressive with its natural quality and the freshness of its products. Variety was and is the word which defines it, with its incredible menu of fish, pork, beef, sheep or poultry, as well as game specialties and, last but not least, a series of cheeses made of raw milk or dishes made of organic vegetables and fruits.
Romanian wines and other traditional beverages
Romania is not only a country with diverse and appetizing dishes or with fascinating traditions and customs, but is also one of Europe's oldest wine regions.
Many of its provinces are well-suited for the cultivation of grapevine, so each of these regions is proud to have its own wine-growing area and its own results in viticulture.
In Dobrogea we have the famous wine region called Murfatlar, Cotnari area is the pride of Moldova, in Transylvania Jidvei area is treasured and in Banat the Recaş area is responsible for some delicious wines. In addition there are many other vineyards whose tasty wines deserve to be mentioned: Dealu Mare, Coteşti, Odobeşti and Panciu in the south-eastern area of the Subcarpathians, Drăgăşani and Segarcea in the south, or Miniş-Maderat in the western part of the country.
A variety as overwhelming as the one of the Romanian cuisine with its various appetizing dishes is the offer of Romanian wines, from the white, dry and elegant to the man's and harsh, red, or even delicate, sweet, dessert or sparkling. Thus, whether we are talking about a light Italian Riesling, a classic Sauvignon, a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a native variety such as Feteasca, Frâncușa, Băbeasca, Zghihara, Busuioaca, Crâmpoșia, Tămâioasa or Galbena de Odobești, satisfaction is guaranteed.
The wine can be your companion during your journey all throughout Romania, as it is part of the landscape.
You can count on finding it close to the medieval cities of the Banat Plain, near the fortified churches of Transylvania, in the vicinity of the unique places of religious worship in Bucovina,when exiting the mysterious caves of the Carpathians, when enjoying the fascinating sunny beaches of the Black Sea,or the nature paradise from the Danube Delta or the vibrant capital city, Bucharest.
Similar to all Romanian regions that take pride in their wines and specific dishes, distilled strong drinks are also remarkable and praiseworthy. Developed through advanced methods passed on from one generation to another, they are part of what distinguishes Romanians as a people. Whether it is brandy, raki, palinka or horinca, no matter what region it comes from, their common feature is their special quality and the exclusive use of all-natural ingredients.
So never forget that here, in Romania, in the heart of Europe, where the original landscape remained almost untouched, where each region boasts with its delicious traditional dishes and tasty drinks, people will always happily toast in the name of friendship.