Unique travel experiences – Romanian cuisine tour

Visiting Romania is a decision you will never regret! Romania, a hidden gem in Eastern Europe, not only captivates travelers with its breathtaking landscapes and rich history but also tantalizes taste buds with its diverse and flavorful cuisine. Embarking on a culinary adventure in this country promises a delightful exploration of traditional dishes, unique flavors, and warm hospitality.

In this article, you will find all the iconic flavorful dishes you must try when traveling to this fantastic country and how to enjoy the best!

Traditional Romanian Food

One of the highlights of Romanian culinary experiences is the opportunity to savor the country's traditional dishes. Indulge in the iconic “sarmale,” the delicate cabbage rolls filled with a savorous mixture of ground meat, rice, and spices, lovingly cooked in a tasteful tomato sauce.

The combination of tender cabbage leaves and rich flavors is simply irresistible. Pair it with a dollop of sour cream and be transported into a world of culinary bliss.

No culinary journey in Romania is complete without tasting the beloved “mici.”(the little ones 🙂) These grilled minced meat rolls, seasoned with garlic, herbs, and spices, offer smoky and savory goodness. Enjoyed as a popular street food, “mici” are best savored hot off the grill, paired with mustard and fresh bread, creating an unforgettable taste sensation.

Romania's soups and stews are a true reflection of the country's culinary heritage. “Ciorba,” a traditional sour soup, teases your taste buds with its tangy and comforting flavors.

Whether the meatball-filled “ciorba de perișoare” or the hearty vegetable-based “ciorba țărănească”, these soups are a perfect blend of flavors and textures. “Ciorba” is the closest thing to Romanian-style comfort food and can be found in almost every restaurant. 

Unique Ingredients in Romanian Food

One of the standout ingredients in Romanian cuisine is homemade yogurt. Prepared using traditional methods, Romanian yogurt boasts a creamy texture and tangy flavor that sets it apart.

This wholesome yogurt is made from fresh milk and natural cultures and adds a refreshing element to many dishes. Whether enjoyed on its own, used as a topping, or incorporated into various sauces and desserts, homemade yogurt is a staple in Romanian households.

Cheese lovers will be delighted by the array of artisanal cheeses found in Romania. “Telemea,” a salty white cheese, is a particular favorite. The crumbly texture and distinctive flavor make it a versatile ingredient in both savory and sweet recipes. Other cheese types worth tasting are “burduf” cheese - a special creamy cheese made and kept inside a fir bark and smoked pressed cheese, a true delicacy. 

Romanian wine is another unique culinary delight that deserves recognition. The country's vineyards produce diverse wines, often crafted from indigenous grape varieties. From the aromatic and semi-sweet Muscat Ottonel to the robust and full-bodied Fetească Neagră, Romanian wines offer a delightful exploration of unique flavors and terroirs.

Moreover, Romania's diverse landscape provides an abundance of wild ingredients. Forests offer mushrooms, wild berries, and herbs like nettle, lovage, and wild garlic. These ingredients add depth and earthy flavors to dishes and can be a fantastic souvenir to take back home with you! Just make sure to get the real deal from locals, not big chain stores. 

Popular Desserts in Romanian Cuisine

One of the most iconic Romanian desserts is "cozonac," a sweet bread that takes center stage during holidays and special occasions. Filled with a luscious combination of walnuts, cocoa, raisins, or even Turkish delight, “cozonac” is a true delicacy. Its soft, pillowy texture and rich flavors make it a beloved treat for families and friends to share.

"Placinta" or the Romanian pie, is another pastry that holds a special place in Romanian desserts. This flaky delight comes in various forms, filled with ingredients like cheese, apples, cherries, or pumpkin. Whether enjoyed as a sweet treat or a savory, salty snack, this pie satisfies all cravings with its buttery layers and flavorful fillings.

"Papanași," a traditional Romanian doughnut, is a sweet indulgence that shouldn't be missed. These fluffy and fried doughnuts are often served with a generous dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of sweet jam. It’s a desert you will fall in love with, but be careful: the servings are enormous. 🙂 

Popular dishes on Christmas and Easter

During Christmas in Romania, meat dishes take center stage, adding a hearty and tasty touch to the festive table. 

Piftia,” also known as "răcitură," is a traditional Christmas dish made from boiled pork meat and gelatin. It is prepared by cooking various parts of the pork, such as trotters, ears, and snout until they become tender. It is typically served cold, sliced, and enjoyed as an appetizer.

Roast pork, or "friptură de porc," is a festive centerpiece that graces many Romanian tables during Christmas. A whole pig is often roasted over an open fire or in the oven until the skin becomes crispy and the meat tender and flavorful. 

While pork is the most common meat during Christmas, roast lamb is also a popular choice, especially in some areas of Romania. A whole lamb is seasoned with herbs and spices and slowly roasted until the meat is tender and juicy. 

When it comes to Easter, a highlight of the Romanian table is "drob de miel." The dish typically includes lamb organs, finely minced and mixed with herbs, onions, and spices. Baked until golden and firm, the “drob” looks similar to a meat roll. It is sliced and served cold as an appetizer, symbolizing the resurrection and new beginnings.

Pasca” - a sweet cheese bread, is another Easter specialty. It features a soft, sweet dough filled with a creamy cheese mixture, often enriched with eggs, vanilla, and raisins. Pasca is baked until golden, resulting in a delightful dessert that is enjoyed by families after the traditional Easter midnight service.

Bucharest’s Oldest Brewery

Want to enjoy a beer made from a unique, original recipe since 1879? Caru cu Bere in Bucharest holds a special place in the country's beer culture and history. Caru cu Bere is famous for its traditional Romanian cuisine, and a variety of flavorful beers brewed on-site. Their flagship beer, aptly named "Caru cu Bere," is a Vienna-style lager known for its balanced and smooth taste. 

Caru cu Bere (photo credits Caru cu Bere)

Located in the heart of Romania's capital city, Bucharest, Caru cu Bere is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to taste the country's brewing legacy. Whether you're a beer enthusiast or a lover of history and culture, Caru cu Bere promises an immersive experience that will leave you fulfilled and enchanted by Romania's unique traditions.

Restaurant Recommendations in Bucharest

When it comes to dining out in Bucharest, Romania's vibrant capital city, several noteworthy restaurants offer exceptional culinary experiences. 

NOUA restaurant

NOUA delivers a culinary journey that combines innovation with traditional flavors. The menu showcases a fusion of Romanian and international cuisines, featuring creative dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. As a bonus, its interior is sleek and modern with a touch of chic.

photo credits: Noua Restaurant

Grai restaurant

Grai is a hidden gem, fine dining restaurant that embraces the essence of traditional Romanian cuisine. Situated in a charming and cozy setting, Grai takes pride in preserving the country's culinary heritage. The menu showcases a range of authentic dishes, including hearty soups, succulent grilled meats, and delicious homemade pastries.

Kane restaurant

Kane is a restaurant that caters to those seeking a taste of contemporary Romanian cuisine with a twist. The menu features a creative blend of Romanian ingredients and modern cooking techniques, resulting in dishes that are both visually stunning and incredibly flavorful.

Vineyards to see in Romania

With its unique terroir and favorable climate, Romania is home to several exceptional vineyards that offer unforgettable wine-tasting experiences. Here are four vineyards in Romania that are worth a visit:

Crama Recaș

With its vast vineyards and state-of-the-art facilities, Crama Recaș produces a wide range of high-quality wines. Visitors can take guided tours of the vineyards and winery, learning about the winemaking process and sampling a variety of wines, from crisp whites to full-bodied reds.

Villa Vinèa

Situated near Târgu Mureș, right on the Târnava Mică river, Villa Vinèa was founded by two friends that always dreamed of having a winery. Nowadays, Villa Vinèa winery cultivates 70 hectares of vines, planted with 12 local and international varieties, including Feteasca Regală, Feteasca Albă, Gewürztraminer or Kerner. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings in the winery's rustic cellar and explore the vineyards surrounded by breathtaking scenery. 

Villa Vinèa

Crama Liliac

Nestled in the heart of Transylvania, near the village of Batoș, Crama Liliac is a modern winery that combines traditional winemaking techniques with innovative approaches. The Lechința vineyard benefits from the region's mild climate and the expertise of passionate winemakers.

Visitors can enjoy guided tours, explore the vineyards, have a complete culinary experience, and taste a variety of wines, including their award-winning Fetească Neagră.

Book a tour with Balkan Trails!

Romanian cuisine is a true reflection of the country's cultural heritage and traditions. Exploring the local food scene is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Romanian culture during your travels.

If you want to enjoy these culinary experiences to the max and not worry about your itinerary, leave it to Balkan Trails! We have numerous tour add-ons that can make your travel personalized and make sure that you have the perfect Balkan journey. 

Find them all here!

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