Indeed, each several liquor corresponded, so he held, in taste with the sound of a particular instrument. Dry curacao, for instance, was like the clarinet with its shrill, velvety note; kummel like the oboe, whose timbre is sonorous and nasal; crême de menthe and anisette like the flute, at one and the same time sweet and poignant, whining and soft. Then, to complete the orchestra, comes kirsch, blowing a wild trumpet blast; gin and whisky, deafening the palate with their harsh outbursts of comets and trombones; liqueur brandy, blaring with the overwhelming crash of the tubas, while the thunder
peals of the cymbals and the big drum, beaten might and main, are reproduced in the mouth by the rakis of Chios and the mastics.
Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature
He was convinced too that the same analogy might be pushed
yet further, that quartettes of stringed instruments might be contrived to play upon the palatal arch, with the violin represented by
old brandy, delicate and heady, biting and clean toned; with the alto,
simulated by rum, more robust, more rumbling, more heavy in
tone; with vespetro, long drawn, pathetic, as sad and tender as a violoncello; with the double bass, full bodied, solid and black as a fine,
old bitter beer. One might even, if anxious to make a quintette, add
yet another instrument,—the harp, mimicked with a sufficiently close
approximation by the keen savor, the silvery note, clear and self-sufficing, of dry cumin.
David’s hand shot out to grab the small confection his best mate was pointing at and shoved it eagerly into his mouth, eyes closing in ecstasy as the chocolate melted on his tongue.
“You gotta put those on the list” he managed to mumble out around the mouth full of cocoa goodness.
Granny’s eyebrow raised in amusement as she watched both men with fascination. She’d worked on a selection of chocolates to provide for the wedding and the ladies had been silly enough to leave the two men to try them out, not realising just how sweet a tooth they both had.
“Granny, love. What is that one called?”
“That’s the pralines one.”
“We’ll take 200 of those.” Killian ordered before grabbing another chocolate to sample.
Granny chuckled to herself as she wrote down the order.
“So that’s 100 of the coffee creams, 200 of the cherry brandy liqueurs, 100 salted caramel, 100 peanut butter blasts, 100 rum truffles-”
“Better make that 200 rum truffles.” David added.
“I knew there was a reason I wanted you with me, mate.” he smiled fondly at his father-in-law before shoving a strawberry blast into his mouth.
“200 rum truffles and 200 pralines. Gotta say, captain. That’s a lot of chocolate.”
“Everyone loves chocolate.” Killian defended with his mouth full.
Granny sighed as she turned. “I do not want to be in that house when they take this order back.” she mumbled to herself, knowing full well they were going to get an earful from the bride to be.
David and Killian continued to sample the chocolate. They left not a single sample on the table and left feeling rather sickly but they were definitely looking forward to the cake testing the next day.
So, to begin with, I have to tell you that the peoples of South-Eastern Europe tended to influence one another quite a lot, including food, so there are a lot of dishes that entered these cuisines hundreds of years ago, and have become so deeply rooted into our cultures,and a lot of recipes deemed “traditional” or “specific” for a country, are, in fact, encountered at our neighbors as well, with more or less changes. Romanian cuisine has been heavily influenced by Turkish, Greek, Russian and German cuisine, so don’t be disappointed if you encounter “sarmale” sold as Romanian traditional dishes, only to find them again in Turkey, because they suffered major changes and they even vary from one Romanian region to another.
The first thing foreigners should try when they come here is Borş. It is a type of soup with different ingredients, soured with either vinegar, or, in Moldavia, where I come from, with a traditional product called… “ borş”, made from fermented wheat bran. We usually add sour cream (don’t let the name fool you, it doesn’t add extra sour, it generally sweetens it up a bit), onion/spring onion or hot peppers. There are many types of borş, and here are my favourites:
borş de vita ( beef borş) with potatoes/homemade noodles:
borş de perişoare ( meatball borş with rice)
borş de fasole cu ciolan ( borş with beans and smoked meat)
In many parts of the country, borş is called “ciorba”, but in Moldova, we differentiate them : borş contains that fermented bran product, while ciorba is soured with vinegar.
The following one is usually the one that foreigners are really skeptic about trying, the tripe ciorba, soured with vinegar, sour cream and garlic
If you are uncomfortable with tripe, as I am, there is the delicious alternative of ciorba radauteana, which is made similarly, only from chicken breast.
After borş, the next thing you should try are Romania’s most beloved Sarmale. They are made from minced meat and rice, wrapped in sauerkraut or vine leaves, usually served with sour cream and mamaliga (polenta)
The same stuffing can be used to make ardei umpluti (stuffed peppers):
or varza a la Cluj (cabbage a la Cluj)
Another popular food is the tochitura. It is made from beef or pork, served with polenta, salty cheese (telemea - similar to the Greek feta), fried eggs and tomato sauce). From my personal experience, this is the dish that most foreigners get to love.
If we are on the subject of meat, these are worth mentioning :
Chiftele/ Parjoale (in Moldova) - deep fried meatballs, that can be served simple or in tomato sauce
Mititei - fried or barbecued minced meat with special spices, served with mustard, this is our own fast food :
And traditional meat products - sausages, smoked meat,
One of my favourite dishes is the ciulama de pui (chicken ciulama) - it’s a meat dish served with sour cream sauce and mushrooms
As for appetizers, three salads are worth mentioning:
Eggplant salad with mayonnaise
Boeuf salad ( sounds French, but it’s totally Romanian) - we usually eat it on holidays, my mom makes the best one I’ve yet to try :D
Romanians also love mamaliga- polenta, and they eat it with sour cream and various types of cheese
As for deserts, these are really tasty :
Cozonac- usually around holidays
Various types of pie (apple, sweet cheese, pumpkin)
Alcoholic beverages- try our wine, it’s worldwide appreciated, the wine making tradition has thousands of years on our lands, also tuica (traditional plum brandy), visinata (cherry liqueur), afinata (blueberry liqueur) and, of course, our beer, which is good and cheap ;)
1 gallon full-bodied dry red-wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 ½ to 2 c orange liqueur
1 ½ c Presidente brandy
2 bunches lemon verbena, washed and stemmed
fresh soft fruits, chopped
club soda, champagne, or sparkling wine
Combine citrus slices and other firm fruits in a large, nonreactive container. Add wine, liqueur, brandy, and lemon verbena. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, put some soft fruits into each wine glass and fill two-thirds full with the sangria. Top off with a splash of club soda.
Although Ms. Lounds did not actually die and only figuratively rose from the ashes, phoenix symbolism suits her. I tried to emulate that here. However, time issues resulted in much more simple sugarglass shapes than I’d intended, and a very simple Freddie figure instead of a phoenix, though I’m not so good at people. The photos don’t all match because I played with props between attempts to get the chocolate to melt in the right way; it’s not perfect but I didn’t have any more chocolate ‘charred bodies’! But I’ve learned how to do it now! Also, poor photography, sorry. (I’m also going to go ahead and tag the lovely tattle-crime here, as I did mention that I was working on a Freddie dessert… and if you’re not following Tattle-Crime, you should be.)
An aromatic vanilla-toffee Freddie Lounds is revealed atop sticky ginger (of course) cake with salted caramel buttercream, as a firey brandy-and-French-ginger-liqueur sauce melts away the chocolate corpse façade.
Little note: A lovely individual requested guides to my desserts, so if you’re interested I’ll be posting recipes and construction-instructions soon! :)
Feelin’ hip with this Priorat (especially after it’s been opened for a few hours). Awesome nose of black cherry, smoke, tobacco, and overall gentleman’s den. Notes of brandy, cherry liqueur chocolates, and almost Pedro Ximénez-like notes? Crushed dried violets, cinnamon stick, dark wood panelling, and fresh leather. Much fresher on the palate with bright acidity and present but restrained tannins. Slightly baked but juicy red cherries, violets, and brown baking spices.
I bring new life to this old blog with a word of warning for the New Year.
Fish House Punch is not only a punch that snuck up on me, but that whispered sweet nothings even after it was pointing the dull point of a rusty knife in the general direction of my soft, fleshy bits. It then gave me instruction on how to empty out my spiritual bank accounts into an untraceable Swiss one. and then framed me for the murder of their spouse AND for whistle-blowing on the NSA while they ran for the border, manically laughing the whole way. I barely escaped with my life.
According to Wikipedia,
“America’s first President, George Washington, was known to be fond of a drink or two, and sometimes more…and it’s said that after he partook of Fish House punch at Philadelphia’s State in Schuylkill, he couldn’t bring himself to make an entry in his diary for the following three days”
This punch bested George ‘GD’ Washington. What was I THINKING?!
Put everything but the champagne in a bowl. For the green tea, I recommend cold brewing it, aka, just let the tea leaves sit in cold water and they will infuse, don’t stress it. Let sit in the fridge for at least a whole day, even two if you can manage. We didn’t do this. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. I mean, I doubt doing so would have saved us, but in the sober light of 2 days later, I like to pretend it would have.
Eat a good dinner. Do not drink anything alcoholic before you start on this. DRINK. WATER. Do NOT sit in the bath. Do not email your boyfriend half way through.
Definitely play Cards Against Humanity, though.
This punch served four people, but played merry hell with two of them.
*this was almost as expensive as the rum, but entirely worth it and now I have a recipe for flaming bananas.