Romanian Christmas meets Matera

What? A Romanian Christmas with meatless sarmale (traditional Romanian dish)? Well yes, but please don`t tell my grandma.

It`s a cliché to say that Christmas is my favorite holiday, but this is how it is. And is not about the presents and parties associated with this period (although there are plenty), for me and my family was always a special holiday. The carols, the snow, the cooking and that energy before Christmas, the lighted city, they all give me goose bumps as I write this.

I used to have a tradition to cook together with my mom, before Christmas, the yummy dishes. And since this demands a lot of time and preparation, we would start 3-4 days ahead, in the kitchen listening to music while baking and cooking and this remained a tradition for many years.
We would also use the 3 days of Christmas to visit the dear ones, to go caroling and to also have guests visiting us. And then, it`s the end of the year, which always brings new hope, new plans and more courage and wisdom.

This year it was different for me, I admit. Christmas in Matera, apart from my family, from my loved places and also from the people I love – was not what I had planned. But I did not lose my spirit, also all the pre-Christmas dinners helped a lot and I felt part of a community with beautiful people that have a lot to share and give – food, laughs and games.

I tried my best to do the same traditional meals as I do at home. Here is the menu:

  • The famous cozonac – Romanian version of the panetone
  • Sarmale – that we usually do with meat, but since we love our vegetarian and vegan friends we did them with mushrooms and soya
  • Boeuf salad – one vegan and one with meat
  • Meatballs with onions and mayonnaise – it tastes better than it sounds 😉
  • Apple cream cake – a sweet&sour combination with a hint of cinnamon

Here`s a video to delight yourself!

Craciun fericit from Romania!

This was Madalina Pircu – volunteer in Matera

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