Romanian Christmas Meal

For Christmas there are a lot of traditional dishes specific to our country. We are going to tell you how a Romanian Christmas meal looks like.

In rural Romania as in other Eastern European countries it is common that families sacrifice a pig a few weeks before Christmas. It is an old tradition with its own ritual. The good thing about it is that people eat meat from home-grown animals and also prepare the meat products by themselves so they are sure it is of good quality.
So let’s give a few names and then we’ll talk about each of them: sarma, caltaboși, tobă, cozonac, polenta, palinca.
You’ve probably heard of “sarma” already as it is common in many Eastern countries. It is a dish very popular in Mulsim countries as well, cooked differently. In Greek for example it is called dolma while in Russian it is golubci. The basic ingredients are minced meat, rice, tomato sauce and sour cabbage, the mix being rolled in cabbage and then boiled. In Romania it is the main dish for Christmas and it is usually served with sour cream.
,,Caltabosi” and ,,Toba” are other dishes that are part of a Romanian Christmas meal. „Caltaboși” are starters – imagine it as pate in the shape of sausage; it is very good with mustard. . For „toba” (the name actually  means drum) the mixture is made of chopped pieces of meat and fat, which are then boiled; it may sound like sausage but the taste is very different. All these are great with palinca (plum brandy) and especially sarma and fried sausages go well with mămăliga (polenta).
A traditional desert is cozonac. A decent translation for it is sponge cake and this one brings some of the best memories from childhood for me, when grandma was baking and I’d eat it warm. Home-made wine goes great with this one.

The deliciousness of these dishes comes from the way they are cooked: at home from local ingredients – the best our beautiful country can offer at this time of the year.

While this Romania Christmas meal may sound heavy, in small quantities you can enjoy all these dishes. Of course, nowadays fresh salads and fruits are available so you can balance your diet this time of the year. The second or third day after Christmas we usually have a sour vegetable soup just to give the organism some time to breathe before cooking traditional dishes for the New Year.

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