Romanian cuisine

Romanian cuisine is diverse, blending the dishes of the several traditions which it has come into contact with, as well as maintaining its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Balkan cuisine but also includes influences from the cuisines of other neighbours, such as Germans, Serbians, and Hungarians. An exhaustive study of Romanian cuisine is very hard to make, because under the same generic food name are sometimes included products which can hardly belong to the same category. For example, the category ciorba includes foods classified otherwise as iskembe, sour soup, borsh and even some soups. The category tuica is a generic name here, while in other countries every flavour has a different name, and sometimes there are even different names inside the same category. That happened, mainly, because of a lack of research in this field.
Recipes bear the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture: from Roman times there still exists the simple pie called placinta in Romanian and keeping the initial meaning of the Latin word placenta, the Turks have brought meatballs (perisoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is musaca, from the Bulgarians there are a wide variety of vegetable dishes like zacusca, from the Austrians there is the snitel and the list could continue.
One of the most common dishes is mamaliga, a cornmeal mush, long-considered the poor man’s dish (N-are nici o mamaliga pe masa – He hasn’t even a mamaliga on the table), but it has become more appreciated in recent times. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine (Pestele cel mai bun, tot porcul ramane – The best fish will always be the pork or Cea mai buna leguma e carnea de pui si cea mai buna carne de pui e carnea de porc – The best vegetable is the chicken meat and the best chicken meat is the pork), but beef is also consumed, and a good lamb or fish dish is never to be refused. Different recipes are prepared depending on the season or for special events. For Christmas, a pig is traditionally sacrificed by every family and a wide variety of recipes are prepared, including: carnati (or carnati) – a kind of long sausages with meat, caltabosi (or cartabosi) – sausages made with liver and other intestines, piftie – made with difficult to use parts like the feet or the head and ears, suspended in aspic, and also tocatura (a kind of stew) is served along with mamaliga and wine (so that the pork can swim) and of course sweetened with the traditional cozonac (sweet bread with nuts or lokum – rahat in Romanian). At Easter, lamb is served and the main dishes are roast lamb and drob – a cooked mix of intestines, meat and fresh vegetables, mainly green onion, seved with pasca (pie made with cottage cheese) as a sweetener.
Wine is the main drink and has a tradition of over two millennia. Romania is currently the world’s 9th largest wine producer, and recently the export market has started to grow. A wide variety of domestic (Feteasca, Grasa, Tamaioasa) and worldwide (Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel) varieties are produced. Beer is also highly regarded, generally blonde pilsener beer, made with German influences.
Romania is the world’s 2nd largest plum producer and almost the entire plum production becomes the famous tuica (a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps).

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