Now that the wonderful 2019 European Region of Gastronomy year has begun in Sibiu, let me explain some words that we frequently use in our relationship with food. I will firstly answer the following questions: What exactly does gastronomy mean? What does Slow Food stand for? Why should we eat locally? On the other hand, what is the New Transylvanian Cuisine? Let us take it gradually and see how all of these matters provide value to us here in Sibiu, in 2019 the Year of the European Gastronomic Region.
As winter in Romania is not very friendly and having outdoor events is a bit out of the question, main cities of the country were conquered, during the weekends from October to February (2018 and 2019), by a series of events aiming to help the locals discover and taste what their area has to offer in terms of gastronomy and not only. It happened in cities like Bucharest, Brașov, Cluj Napoca, Iași or Târgu Mureș. With dinner, brunch and a gastro tour in search of local producers, old and forgotten recipes and hidden places, but strongly related to the city’s community. Here’s how these weekends were organized and the story behind them.
Since I wrote about our 2018 travels outside of Romania, it seemed legit to offer Romania its 15 minutes of fame and have a summary of the places we checked out in the country last year. We’re mostly traveling around the country during the weekend, except for a more extended seaside trip and a 4 – 5 days hiking trip.
At a first sight, Roșia Montană is just another typical Transylvanian village. Set at a base of the Apuseni Mountains, with picturesque views and beautiful architecture (but with houses that do suffer from degradation), with a mixture of different nationalities living in it, with traditions and a feeling of time standing still.
Mid September – still summer temperatures and sunny in Sibiu, still plenty of tourists taking photos of our medieval old town, still the main squares of the city bustling with concerts, outdoor events and a big crowd. And somewhere on the Mitropoliei Street, right next to the Big Square (Piata Mare), at Jules Bistro, in their summer garden, a handful of well known Romanian chefs from all over the country get together for 3 full days to bring gastronomy to a next level.
At the beginning of September we took over the Suru Chalet in the Făgăraș Mountains and turned it into the headquarters of one of the coolest events we have been to this year. The 3 days spent there evolved around a old shepherd’s recipe that takes a lot of time to prepare and a lot of team work to get to the final result.