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Ana Maria Padurean

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Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal
12/23/2008 7:57:46 AM
Hello Everyone,

I very much hope you all had a wonderful and plenty meal before coming here, otherwise I feel pity for your stomach :-)

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dinner is a rich, multi-course meal. Several types of pork sausages are tabled, and plum brandy, along with home made pickles, are requisite. 'Sarmale' then follows. This dish consists of pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a combination of pork and beef, along with rice, pepper, thyme and other spices. It is boiled slowly for hours and is paired with polenta. That dish is followed by roasted pork and turkey with red wine. The wine is consumed to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The meal ends with cozonaci, which is a cake with nuts and raisins. The entire extended family - children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins - gather around the table to enjoy the feast together.

christmas decorations

Now, let's take

The traditional Christmas meal which unfolds as follows:

First courses

"Racituri" or "piftie", jellied headcheese, consisting of the pig's feet, ears and head in aspic, accompanied by a grated horseradish and beet salad marinated in vinegar, water and sugar.

Fresh pork sausages, either grilled or fried, garnished with "muraturi" (cucumber pickles), as well as hot peppers and green tomato pickles.

Various traditional "pork" products are served: "toba" pork intestine stuffed with meat jelly, liver and rind; "caltabosi", a kind of blood sausage; "babic" and "ghiudem", varieties of sausage, very dry and highly spiced, made from goat, mutton or beef.

Beef salad - steamed or boiled vegetables: carrots, celery, potatoes, peas and pickled vegetables (cucumbers, tomato peppers and green tomatoes), all finely chopped and combined with olives and strips of cooked beef and bound with mayonnaise.

Main dishes

"Ciorba de perisoare"
- a slightly sour vegetable soup made with fermented bran and pork meatballs.

"Sarmale" - Romanians' best-loved traditional dish - sour cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and served with polenta.

Roast pork - garnished with pickled vegetables or mixed salads.


The traditional Christmas dessert is called "cozonac" This rich fruit bread requires a long preparation time that begins early on the morning of Christmas Eve. Usually while the men are outdoors butchering the pig, the women stay in the kitchen to make the cozonac.

Since it takes so long to make, cozonac is made in huge quantities. It has to feed the entire family throughout the week of Christmas. "For 5 kg of flour, 30 eggs are used and 3 kg of white sugar. Kneading the dough lasts at least two hours."

The filling is made up of ground walnuts, egg yolks, raisins, vanilla, rum and no less than 2 kg of sugar! In well-to-do homes, cozonac replaces bread at every meal, served with both savory and sweet dishes. This may seem a very rich diet… but keep in mind that the holidays have been preceded by one to five weeks of fasting. What's more, the temperature in Romania at Christmas can easily dip to -15 degree Celsius, so the extra calories are required! (well, at least it used to be?! ... )

When it comes to sweets, cheesecake is the dessert traditionally associated with religious holidays in Romania. Every region has its own version. Here is one: Fresh Cheese Tart.

In some regions "grau fiert" is served: sweetened boiled wheat garnished with nuts and various flavorings.

christmas decorations

Traditional beverages

Tuica or palinca - very strong eau-de-vie, usually made from plums Wines - mostly reds, depending on the region, and wines.

Well, how do you feel now?
OK, go quickly and eat something as I can hear the
revolution in your stomach! :-D

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I think for now this is my last Christmas post, so I want to THANK YOU ALL
for all the support you gave me and this forum through time and wish you a wonderful and very

Merry Christmas Graphics / Glitters for MySpace/Friendster

With lots of friendship,

Gerri Decher

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Re: Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal
12/23/2008 8:19:16 AM
Thanks AnaMarie, and now I go to bed on a really full tummy.!!!....Gerri
Peter Fogel

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Re: Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal
12/23/2008 2:02:40 PM
Dear AnaMaria,

WOW. After meals like that you forgot to say how long it took to recuperate. :)

Sounds like lots of fun but I can imagine that the preparation time is quite long.

Merry Christmas to you, Nick and the kids.

Meshugeneh smiles & Shalom,


Peter Fogel
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Sam Sunday

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Re: Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal
12/23/2008 2:59:20 PM

Oh my goodness AnaMaria,

You've succeeded in making me salivate with deep hunger even after my evening meal a while ago. Those are deliciuos and sumptuous looking meals. I seem to like the starter; looks more like our African Peper-soup but we prepare ours with goat mean parts and a lot of african vegetables and spices. Quite hot with lots peper which is why it is called peper soup.

Maybe someday, I'll be opportuned to have a taste of Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal. Shouldn't I plan for a xmas holiday in Romania? Wooooo!!

Take care my friend and have a great season!

Myrna Ferguson

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Re: Traditional Romanian Christmas Meal
12/23/2008 4:40:34 PM
Hi AnaMaria,

Wow what a meal.  It must take a long time to prepare for this feast. Beautiful
Makes you want to jump on a plane for Christmas.

Merry Christmas my dear friend.



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